Sunday, April 10, 2011

Annie Waits

I figured something out the other day concerning films and soundtracks and myself.  If a movie does not have a decent soundtrack, I won't like it.  End of discussion.  But those movies that have awesome soundtracks become my favorite friends.

I didn't realize this before, oddly enough.  I would come out of a theatre with this curious sort of buzzing sparkly excited sensation, and the unshakable desire to watch the feature again.  The other day I finally noticed the relationship between that and the sensation I get from a superior musical performance*.  I've compiled (and discussed, somewhat) four of my exceptional favorites in no particular order.  There will be more later.  Enjoy!

Pride & Prejudice (2003)
Composer: Dario Marianelli
Watching this film the first time was not a wonderful experience.  I was talked at the entire time, added to the fact I was in a room of young teenage girls who would not shut up**.  I could barely understand the plot line, but I knew as soon as it was over I needed to see it again.  Why?  A very tasteful combination of piano and orchestral timbres, that's why.  Mr. Marianelli's piano pieces are fresh, with undertones of some of the romantic period's best sounds.  Those parts not including a piano are still strong(I really love the dance piece Meryton Townhall, because it demands a reaction).  An album with a particularly classical/romantic feel.

Quigley Down Under (1990)
Composer: Basil Poledouris
I grew up on this movie.  John Wayne might have been the first cowboy, but I believe Tom Selleck was a better one, even though the background music probably helped this bias***.  This soundtrack is built on a swaggering-feel orchestra, a sleepy-sounding clarinet, and the twang and jig of a traditional banjo.  And the bassline is to die for.  It sounds and feels similar to typical country, old-time Western music without making a full commitment to the stereotype of old-time country.

Star Trek (2009)
Composer: Michael Giacchino
Of the tracks that make this list, this is possibly my least favorite because it leans very heavily intense, anxious-feeling conflicted tones and my neurons start firing ::Get rid of the stress, and NOW  or I will make you cry:: in fairly short order.  Don't get me wrong--there is a delightful variety in the tonal content.  The overall emotion is conflict, though, and I am (for the most part) something of a spineless wimp who cannot handle conflict.  Excepting a few rock-n'-roll songs not included on the track, this orchestral album has strong classical themes with modern overtones incorporated gracefully into the original Star Trek theme.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)
Composer: Hans Zimmer
Tee hee.  This soundtrack is composed for a cousin twice removed from an orchestra.  The typical instruments all put in an appearance--but the star of the show is a hammered dulcimer for crying out loud.  Not to mention they hauled in a shitty piano and some electric guitars.  These combinations do a brilliant job showing the convoluted rabbit trail that is Holme's brain.  They also sound amazing and adventurous.  This track has recollections of old-time music coupled with forcefully modern twists, and the combination makes it quite enjoyable.

This was entirely enjoyable for me, interestingly enough.  I hope it was for anyone who read it, either.  I think I shall make a habit of watching films for their soundtracks now, though.

Good night!

*They're the same.  Go figure.

**I've always had a hard time finding friends as easily spellbound by book and film as I.  This was probably a great cause of conflict.

***Still.  Quigley would have made John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn cry like a baby.  A hungry, angry baby.


  1. Haha, I'm exactly the same way! And Star Trek and Sherlock Holmes are two of my favorite movies ever, so. I was definitely cheering as I read this. :) I haven't seen Quigley Down Under though; I may have to go and watch it now.

    P.S.: You now have one more easily spellbound friend. :)

  2. I'm glad you liked this! :D
    Quigley Down Under is a credit to the western genre. There aren't enough good things to say about it (as far as westerns go) so I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance! ;)

    P.S.: :D :D :D