Thursday, April 5, 2012


I'm sure I've done a similar blog but I'm out of ideas so you get to read about film scores again. There are a number of great films out there but I still think a film is only as good as its score. I love film scores so much that I listen to them often. As with everything I like I'm very picky. While an entire score can get me through the day I always hit repeat on the main theme. Some people can listen to a commercial jingle and enjoy profound emotions but I'm not one of those people. I think more than anything, I'm drawn to the large orchestral works. When they serve as an overture that you can pop up all over the place. Here are my favorites. If you plan on listening to them I'd recommend a good set of speakers or headphones.

This Is Gallifrey - Murray Gold
It's not a film score but it should be. This tune is almost fifty years old and it's never been replaced. It's gone from a simple, space age, monster theme to an instrument laden adventure. The fact that music like this is used in a weekly serial is a real treat.

Patton - Jerry Goldsmith
There are certain songs and musical styles that define a generation of film. Most people know the Patton theme and immediately think of a military epic but they don't know where it comes from. The careful orchestration at the beginning lends itself to George C. Scott's accurate, portrayal of General Patton. The first few notes give me chills.

Back To The Future - Alan Silvestri
At first you wouldn't think this would belong among this group but all the ingredients are there. It says 1985 without even a hint of shame. Like most of the music I'm posting it puts images in your head. Try not to think of Deloreans and science. Go ahead. Try.

The Shawshank Redemption - Thomas Newman
Like the Back To The Future theme this one doesn't quite mix with this list but it captures to essence of the film perfectly. You can almost feel the pain, loneliness, and desperation. Like Andy and his hammer, it picks away carefully but confidently. I feel like an ass describing it that way but that's what it does.

Gone With The Wind - Max Steiner
One of, if not THE greatest theme ever. I've only seen the first half but I celebrate Steiner's perfect orchestration. It's delicate yet strong. There I go again. I love this and I don't care what anybody thinks.

Batman - Danny Elfman
There have been numerous Batman songs. One of them has lyrics consisting of "Batman" over and over. You could attach this to any modern Batman and have it fit perfectly. Subltle use of Gong and xylophone invoke images of movement within Gotham City. Rad.

The Magnificent Seven - Elmer Bernstein
Like the Patton theme is synonymous with military films this one is the foundation for westerns. Flowing strings accented by horns is invokes cowboys and prairies. Iconic.

Superman - John Williams
It's like I'm five years old again, wearing a cape and my Superman t-shirt and running around with arms out in front of me. I was happy to hear the original, John Williams theme at the beginning of Superman Returns in 2006. Williams has plenty of iconic scores (Star Wars comes to mind) but I think this one speaks to my youth a little more. Is it possible for a song to be heroic?

The Rocketeer - James Horner
Yes, it is possible for a song to be heroic and this one proves it. The Rocketeer was hot shit when it came out but it fizzled away pretty quick. Perhaps it was a little too grand for its own good. I don't really care. This is easily the best use of trombones and trumpets ever. Yes, even better than the Star Wars theme. It used to be my favorite but something better came along.

Star Trek XI - Michael Giacchino
Disney/Pixar fans are no stranger to Giacchino though they probably didn't take notice of his name in the "Up" credits. When it comes to a musical build up he's a master. I challenge anybody to watch the montage at the beginning of "Up" with his moving accompaniment without getting a lump in your throat. Enough about "Up." I think the JJ Abrams reboot of Star Trek was helped along by an incredible score. The Patton and Magnificent Seven themes are to the military the wild west as this song is to the vastness of space and the technological achievements of man. I may be the only one but this one is my favorite.

I don't get many comments but feel free to share any favorites. I can't guarantee I won't dump all over what you love but I'll try. Not really.