Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Film Scores: Bland and Samey?

As if the supposed decline of popular music wasn't depressing enough, I was just reading an article about how most film scores are really lame. And after spending about two seconds thinking about it, I have to agree. When was the last time you heard a really great film score? I mean not just a score that was pleasant and functional, I mean a score that caught on in the popular consciousness and could instantly be hummed by any number of people? Yeah, it's been a while. Where's our Third Man Theme? Our Midnight Cowboy waltz? Our Godfather dirge? Now that I think about it, almost all of my favorite movies have memorable music. Only a few have scores I don't much care for, such as Roman Holiday, Spartacus, and The Wild Bunch, to name merely three. I wouldn't say that a bad score can ruin a film, but I definitely do notice it, especially since I tend to watch my favorite movies many times over, the way I listen to my favorite albums many times over. Great music simply makes the images go down smoother. Kubrick once said film's closest artistic cousin was music. Think about that.

Besides, there's plenty of obscure pop music to go around, isn't there? Who needs an orchestral score when you've got Nuggets Volume II, right, Wes Anderson? Actually he does feature some fairly enjoyable original music from Mark Mothersbaugh in his movies, so I guess creative original film music is still out there. The score for American Beauty was pretty good. I mean, at least it wasn't trying to be so conventionally "orchestral" or what have you. And I couldn't hum you Johnny Greenwood's score from There Will Be Blood if I tried but at least he was going for something different. Honestly, though, I think films should worry about having good plots before they worry about having good original scores. One element at a time, folks.


herr zrbo said...

I'm not sure what to say about scores, but just last night I finally got around to watching 'Evita'. I generally love musicals, and I love Madonna. This movie had both. I couldn't stand it for 10 minutes.

First off, the singing. Geezus, this was the WORST lip synching I've ever seen! The opening scene when Antonio Banderas started singing, I started laughing. Obviously his horrible lip synching, combined with the fact that the voice didn't sound at all believable, must be some sort of joke right? Outside of Madonna, nearly every single other character just did not look like they were singing, nor did it look like it was even their voice that we were hearing.

Second, I couldn't stand the music. I just don't think it's what I expected the movie to sound like after hearing 'Don't cry...' a thousand times. It had electric guitar and all in all just did not sound like it fit in with the time period or what was going on in the film. Here's 1930s Argentina and we're hearing music that at times sounded like bad 80's power rock. Ugh. I also felt that I needed a bit more talking and a bit less singing. In fact, I don't think there were more than 3 lines in the whole film that weren't sung. Sometimes I just need a break, please!

The only thing I did enjoy was Madonna. She's the only one who looked like she was singing, and the only one who looked like it was actually her own voice we were hearing. Really, it's just a long music video, so I should expect she'd do well.

All in all, I wouldn't say I hated this movie, it's more that it confused the hell out of me. The music didn't fit, the voices didn't match with the characters, and Antonio Banderas's part as the narrator was just weird. Did the director watch the film before he released it? I'm not sure. End of review.

Little Earl said...

Never seen it. But if Yoggoth keeps slacking I think we're going to just give you full posting rights Zrbo.

herr zrbo said...

Bring it on.

See you this weekend LE? Need any new music?

Little Earl said...

What about the "Electronica that LE would like" mix? Or how about "Zrbo's three favorite VNV Nation songs"? I don't think I could handle more than three.

If you want access to the blog you need to spruce up your user profile so we can give you permission.