The Correct Order To Watch The Pitch Perfect Movies 

You haven't seen the "Pitch Perfect" movies? A-ca-scuse me? That's a reference you'll get when you finally sit down to watch the 2012 comedy set in the world of competitive college a cappella. For the uninitiated, that means making music without the assistance of instruments. It all comes from their mouths! 

Oscar nominee Anna Kendrick ("Up in the Air") stars in "Pitch Perfect" as Beca Mitchell, an aspiring DJ who has reluctantly enrolled at Barden University, where her father works as a professor and desperately pushes her to venture out of her comfort zone and actually have what he considers a meaningful college experience. If she still hates it, then he'll let her go to California to follow her DJ dreams. 

While at Barden, Beca ends up being recruited by the Barden Bellas, the university's all-female a cappella group led by Aubrey Posen (Anna Camp) and Chloe Beale (Brittany Snow), which is fresh off a humiliating loss to Barden's all-male a cappella group, the Barden Treblemakers, led by the cocky Bumper Allen (Adam DeVine). To make matters worse, the Barden Bellas lost because Aubrey projectile vomited during her big solo. The stage is set for a juicy rivalry, fueled by catchy a cappella renditions of popular songs and a clever script that is infinitely funnier than you might have anticipated. The sequels set up even more a cappella rivalries and competitions with the world of the film getting bigger and more absurd.

With just three movies (and a spin-off streaming series) in the "Pitch Perfect" franchise, sorting out where to begin isn't very difficult. However, we still have some more specific guidance for what might be the most satisfying a-ca-experience for those diving into the film series. 

It's time to get pitch-slapped so hard
Universal Pictures
All right, in case the simple numbering system for these sequels without a subtitle wasn't clear enough, here's the correct order to watch the "Pitch Perfect" movies:

"Pitch Perfect" (2012)
"Pitch Perfect 2" (2015)
"Pitch Perfect 3" (2017)
"Pitch Perfect" follows Beca as she comes to bond with the Barden Bellas, especially Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson), a sarcastic Australian with a feisty attitude and sharp wit. There's also some romance to be found with another a cappella boy on campus, the cinephile Jesse Swanson, who takes a liking to Beca, despite her rough edges and resistance to anyone trying to get close to her. 

"Pitch Perfect 2" (seen above) finds the Barden Bellas banned from the International Championships of Collegiate A Cappella after an unfortunate incident involving Fat Amy accidentally exposing herself to President Barack Obama. Still able to compete elsewhere, Beca strikes a deal for the Bellas, which now includes Hailee Steinfeld on the roster, to be reinstated if they win the A Cappella World Championship. But there, they must face Das Sound Machine (DSM), a German powerhouse group (with Flula Borg counted among them) who really brings the beats.

Finally, "Pitch Perfect 3" gives the graduated Bellas, who seem dissatisfied with life in the professional world, a reunion opportunity when Aubrey convinces them to join a USO tour headlined by chart-topper DJ Khaled. Beca, Fat Amy, and the graduated Bellas are also joined by Emily Junk (Steinfeld), despite still being in school at Barden. While they love being back together, they can't help but feel overshadowed by musical groups with instruments. They also get caught up in a deadly situation thanks to Fat Amy's estranged, international crime lord father (John Lithgow), who seems to be trying to reconnect with his daughter but has ulterior motives, creating quite the contrived plot of nonsense and forced action.

And that's where our advice for watching the "Pitch Perfect" franchise comes into play. 

Just watch the first Pitch Perfect and stop

Let me be blunt: "Pitch Perfect" is the only good movie in the entire franchise, and it should have ended there. Director Jason Moore and writer Kay Cannon already overcame the odds by delivering a hilarious a cappella centric film that was leaps and bounds better than "Glee," the successful FOX musical comedy series that many felt it was trying to capitalize on at the time. It's genuinely funny and comes with a superb soundtrack. Frankly, it's better than it had any right to be, and the sequels prove that it was aca-lightning in a bottle that couldn't be captured twice. 

While some of the competitive a cappella sequences are entertaining to hear and see, especially when it comes to the "Pitch Perfect 2" rivals Das Sound Machine, the first sequel always feels like it's unsuccessfully trying to recreate the magic of great scenes from the original. A secret riff-off led by David Cross and involving the Green Bay Packers for some inexplicable reason simply can't shake a stick at the original college riff-off from the first movie. Furthermore, the Barden Bellas don't even deserve to win the World Championship in the end, as they're outshined in every way by Das Sound Machine. I mean, just look at this:

Don't let that cool clip trick you into watching the sequels. If you feel compelled, just watch the a cappella scenes from the sequels on their own. Because by the time we get to "Pitch Perfect 3," we've lost any of the appeal that might have lingered from the first movie, and it completely wastes the addition of Hailee Steinfeld. The a cappella sequences feel totally contrived, and the soundtrack doesn't even make up for the movie's massive missteps. It turns into an exaggerated action comedy that might have been envisioned as a charming revival of 1980s movies that once utilized similar formulas to great success, but the script is a mess and doesn't come with any of the cleverness that made the original so funny. Kudos to Kay Cannon for trying (and Mike White for helping out with the second sequel) something different, but neither of these follow-ups are worth watching. 

Bumper in Berlin

After you're done with the first movie, you may want to check out "Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin," a spin-off streaming series on Peacock that was released in 2022. Focused on Adam DeVine's character Bumper, the series follows the once-thriving a cappella sensation as he gets an opportunity to become a pop star in Germany. It's a step up from the increasingly disappointing sequels that forget what made the original 2012 film clever and instead try to bite off way more than they can chew with unnecessarily escalated plots. Our review from Barry Levitt notes:

"Despite its issues, there's still something to root for thanks to some lovely performances and fun music. You may have seen it all before, and the show often feels like an exercise to see how many "Pitch Perfect" fans Peacock can attract. Still, at six half-hour episodes, "Bumper in Berlin" is easy, breezy, and has enough charm to make it a decent enough addition to the franchise."

Flula Borg reprises his role from "Pitch Perfect 2," but you honestly don't need to know anything about either of the sequels in order to enjoy the series. You can watch the original "Pitch Perfect" and then move onto "Bumper in Berlin" and the series will lay out everything you need to know. 

The "Pitch Perfect" movies are available to buy and rent from various digital and physical media retailers, and their streaming rights jump around the various subscription services. "Pitch Perfect: Bumper in Berlin" is available to watch on Peacock now.

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