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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Bad movies, good scores? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Bad movies, good scores?
Speed
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I haven't seen any music threads around here recently, so I thought I'd bring the noize. Here's the question of the day:

I have quite a few film scores in my music collection, but it occurs to me that most of my favorite soundtracks are for movies that I really like. Seems like that would be an unlikely coincidence, if I were only judging by the music.

For example, I really dig Howard Shore's Lord of the Rings soundtracks. But how much of that is because the music is really good, and how much is because it reminds me of movies that I enjoy watching?

So here's the question, for those cine-musi-philes among us: What's your favorite score from a movie that you didn't like? Or alternately, what's your favorite score from a movie that you've never seen? Soundtracks to TV shows or video games also apply.

This might be too specific a topic to get much of a response, but hopefully there are still enough opinionated know-it-alls around here to make for an interesting discussion. [Smile]

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advice for robots
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The original Star Wars movies. I think the music is 90% of why I was so enthralled with them as a kid. Still love the Star Wars score, even if I've kind of gotten past the movies.
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Speed
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Good call. I even have a lot of fond feelings for the Episode I score, and that movie was beyond silly.
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Aros
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Trent Reznor did an amazing job with The Social Network. The movie, while well made, is pretty flat.
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Aros
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Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
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Aros
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Though two of my favorite scores, Jurassic Park and Braveheart, are outstanding regardless of how great the movies were.
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Taalcon
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Love the scores for Spitfire Grille (James Horner) and Black Beauty (Danny Elfman). Never seen the films.
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Jhai
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I think Tron: Legacy only makes sense if you view the whole thing as one big music video for Daft Punk's soundtrack.
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The New Moon soundtrack is one of my all-time favorites.
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kmbboots
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Love the song "More". Mondo Cane is not my kind of film.
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Bella Bee
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'The Village' by M. Night Whatever. The film is pretty awful. The score is absolutely beautiful.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The score was as flat as a pancake. 4 movies in, John Williams' studio phoned in a bombastic, pointless piece of cheese... sort of like they've been doing for 20 years. That's what you get when you hire a bunch of 23 year old USC film scoring students who just want to go along to get along.

That's just my theory, I don't even know who actually worked on it.

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
quote:
Originally posted by Aros:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

The score was as flat as a pancake. 4 movies in, John Williams' studio phoned in a bombastic, pointless piece of cheese... sort of like they've been doing for 20 years. That's what you get when you hire a bunch of 23 year old USC film scoring students who just want to go along to get along.

That's just my theory, I don't even know who actually worked on it.

Jeez, you're right. I just figured that if Williams wrote it . . . it had to be better than the movie. And though it does have the Raiders theme (which IS awesome, though cheesy), the rest is almost as bad as the flick.
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Orincoro
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Well, Williams hasn't written much in a couple of decades. I won't say he's a scam artist. But he's participating in something that looks to me, as a composer, like a scam.
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Jhai:
I think Tron: Legacy only makes sense if you view the whole thing as one big music video for Daft Punk's soundtrack.

And how many other film scores can you name which have also warranted a remix album?
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Sean Monahan
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The thread is about movies, but I'll mention a television show here. I like the scoring for ABC's Once Upon A Time. But I don't like the show.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
Well, Williams hasn't written much in a couple of decades. I won't say he's a scam artist. But he's participating in something that looks to me, as a composer, like a scam.

I've noticed his scores just don't hook like they used to. I think the last time I saw a movie where the theme stuck with me afterwards was Inception.
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Aros
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Kingdom of the Crystal Skull did win a Grammy. But Williams hasn't really rocked it since Episode I.
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Stone_Wolf_
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Seconded for Inception...I heard the soundtrack before I saw the movie, on the radio, and was blown away by it...and the movie was okay.
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Lyrhawn
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I liked almost all of the music in August Rush, but didn't really care for the movie at all. It wasn't really a soundtrack per se, since it had a lot of non-original music, but I liked the original songs, and I think the Kaki King numbers were original too, written for the film.

Most of my favorite scores are for movies and shows I also really, really like. Gladiator, How to Train Your Dragon, Gettysburg, Glory, Les Choristes, Avatar TLA, Battlestar Galactica, Pirates of the Caribbean (in bits and pieces...some of it sucked), Inception.

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adenam
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My sister really likes the music from Troy and plays it a lot where I can here it so now I like it too. Watching the actual movie was pretty awful though.
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Orincoro
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Ack, I hated that score. James Horner is, in my opinion, the supreme hack of symphonic film music. Forget Williams, forget everyone.
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Scott R
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Orincoro, what movie scores do you like?
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Scott R
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Shrek 1 and 2 include good music, but I'm not sure I'd call it scored.
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Orincoro
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott R:
Orincoro, what movie scores do you like?

Lots. It happens a couple of my most hated were mentioned.

Some personal favorites are There WIll be Blood, by Johnny Greenwood, Nick Cave's The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Christopher Young's Rounders (parts of it- others are too kitschy), I like a lot of the work of Tomas Newman and Hans Zimmer, though not all of it by any stretch (for instance, loved American Beauty, hated Cinderella Man). I like some work by Eliot Goldenthal, such as Public Enemies, which has in my opinion one or two of the all time best passages of film score ever conceived.

Rarely though do I associate the greatest film scoring with the biggest budget films. It also has a great deal to do with the director and the editor- a score can be fantastic on paper, and a film can ruin it, or elevate it. For instance, the editing of James Horner's "score" for Avatar turned the gripping brass passages into stupefyingly dull drones by jump-cutting back to the same motif over and over, and over again. I say "score," only because it's unclear to me how much new material that score actually contained- the primary motifs had already appeared in previous films.

Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas, both Williams' collaborators, are both very conservative when it comes to mixing, even though both are typically exceptional at sound. I find this often suits William's scores, which are, if anything, incapable of any degree of intimacy or real tension.

But as I said, a film can elevate a score as well. Spike Lee turns a workmanlike score by Terence Blanchard (which otherwise sounds like a very self-conscious reflection on Carter Burwell's Fargo) into one of my all time favorites.

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Stone_Wolf_
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quote:
Originally posted by Orincoro:
James Horner is, in my opinion, the supreme hack of symphonic film music.

I actually own the soundtrack for Glory on tape from when the movie first came out.
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rollainm
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Independence Day, David Arnold. Love it. The movie is laughably bad, but it's still a guilty pleasure.

Stargate is a great one, too. Can't remember the composer at the moment.

I love overtures, in general, now that I think about it. They make me happy.

(edit: Hah! Just remembered Arnold did Stargate, too. That's probably why it came to mind.)

[ January 06, 2012, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: rollainm ]

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Speed
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I wasn't thinking of this at first, but this thread reminded me of one of my favorite soundtracks, which is Peter Gabriel's score for The Rabbit-Proof Fence.

I found it in a bargain bin many years ago and bought it on a whim. It took a while to grow on me, but it eventually became one of my favorite albums. It's more than the collection of cues that many soundtracks are. He re-worked it for the CD, and the structure of the album make the already excellent music a totally immersive experience.

I didn't really know much about the movie aside from what I could infer from the liner notes and the track titles. But over several years of listening to it, I built up an impossibly grand imaginary film in my head to accompany the music.

Eventually Netflix came along, and one day I decided to finally watch The Rabbit-Proof Fence. It was a pretty good movie. But it fell so dramatically short of the movie I'd imagined it to be that I was crushingly disappointed when it ended.

It's still one of my favorite soundtracks. But there's a certain irony in a movie being ruined by the score being too good. I probably would have liked the film better if James Horner had done the music. Never thought I'd say that.

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Annie
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I like the score for Monsoon Wedding. The movie is not too shabby either, but the music outshines it.
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Graeme
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I love Basil Poledouris' score for Conan The Barbarian; I think the movie is great, too, but the score by itself is a cinematic experience.
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Taalcon
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quote:
Ack, I hated that score. James Horner is, in my opinion, the supreme hack of symphonic film music. Forget Williams, forget everyone.
While that may be true of some of his material, he has done some genuinely great stuff. Spitfire Grille, as I mentioned above, as well as Willow, Legends of the Fall, Apollo 13, and Land Before Time. Each of those, IMHO, are fantastic stand alone listens.
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Sa'eed
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Not from a bad movie but rather from a forgotten (though excellent) movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6MIb5QR8R0

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Destineer
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Another great Horner soundtrack (from a bad movie): KRULL.

I love Legend, but objectively it's not a great movie. Anyway, great soundtrack.

But yeah, Tron Legacy would have to be the most dramatic case of (soundtrack)>>(movie).

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Destineer
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All Dario Argento movies (even the not-so-great ones) have awesome soundtracks provided by GOBLIN.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
Another great Horner soundtrack (from a bad movie): KRULL.

I love Legend, but objectively it's not a great movie. Anyway, great soundtrack.

But yeah, Tron Legacy would have to be the most dramatic case of (soundtrack)>>(movie).

I loved Krull.
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SteveRogers
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
But yeah, Tron Legacy would have to be the most dramatic case of (soundtrack)>>(movie).

I admit to owning and listening to the Tron: Legacy score by Daft Punk in my car just because I think the music is pretty great (despite the obvious dramatic flair presumably contributed by Hans Zimmer's involvement in the music).
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Hobbes
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The Hours
Candyman
The Da Vinci Code
The Village

There's also another column for movies that were only good because of the music.

Hobbes [Smile]

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Destineer
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There's a sense in which I love Krull, too.
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Destineer
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I certainly love saying the word 'Krull' over and over. In fact, I'm doing it now.
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Destineer
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quote:
There's also another column for movies that were only good because of the music.
I waffle about whether Passion of the Christ belongs in that category, or in the category of bad movies with good soundtracks.
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Emreecheek
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A couple people have mentioned it already, but, the Villiage was a phenominal soundtrack.

Mediocre movie. Though, I do enjoy it because the trees are pretty.

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Architraz Warden
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Most of the soundtracks I'd mention are already here, so I'll cover some sure to be less popular choices (woo Zimmer on most of them I guess).

Waterworld - Amazing percussion on the tracks, and somewhat unusual instruments (IE not the typical orchestra types).
Crimson Tide - Go brass!
The Peacemaker - Also go brass!

Also I recall Beyond Rangoon very enjoyable (very low-key for Zimmer). Gladiator was about the turning point my opinion of Zimmer's scores. As mentioned above, it was very inconsistent, more bleh than good. And if you really want to play in some love-it or hate-it soundtracks, I immensely enjoy the soundtrack to Blackhawk Down.

Oh, and by no means a bad movie (very good one actually), but [i]The Incredibles]/i] score is really fun.

Edited: Repeatedly.

[ January 10, 2012, 10:36 PM: Message edited by: Architraz Warden ]

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Aros
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quote:
Originally posted by Taalcon:
quote:
Ack, I hated that score. James Horner is, in my opinion, the supreme hack of symphonic film music. Forget Williams, forget everyone.
While that may be true of some of his material, he has done some genuinely great stuff. Spitfire Grille, as I mentioned above, as well as Willow, Legends of the Fall, Apollo 13, and Land Before Time. Each of those, IMHO, are fantastic stand alone listens.
Again, I reference Braveheart.
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Vadon
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The recent remake of 3:10 to Yuma was pretty good and kept my attention throughout, but it would have been pretty forgettable if not for an amazing sequence at the end. I won't provide spoilers, but this song mixed with the context of the scene made for one of the most memorable movie moments I've had.
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Emreecheek
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Also, I forgot to mention. Cowboy Bebop has a friggin' awesome soundtrack. My favorite moment, I think, is the le feau (sp?) episode, and the sequence where it's showing his flashback. The seatbelts played a cover of "On the Run" there, and it was awesome.
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Destineer
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The Mission was not a great film (although not bad). But it had an amazing Ennio Morricone score.
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BlackBlade
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I like The Mission quite a bit, but I agree it's not going to push everybody's buttons. But the score is incredible.

Love Affair is a dumpy movie, but the soundtrack is really good.

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Sala
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Ahh, The Mission. I'd forgotten about that movie. I LOVED the score but somewhere in the passage of time the CD got pushed to the back of the pile. I'll have to pull it out again.
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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Destineer:
The Mission was not a great film (although not bad). But it had an amazing Ennio Morricone score.

I love the opening scene of that movie. Good movie, amazing score. [Big Grin]
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Emreecheek
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Also, I totally forgot that this was about bad things, and bad movies in particular. As I don't think Cowboy BeBop is bad, I am a silly poster.
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