One of the things that I love about movies is hearing the soundtrack to a film. There have been iconic film soundtracks from Dirty Dancing and Goodfellas that capture the feel of their respective eras, to Pulp Fiction and Grosse Pointe Blank and their retro-cool feel. In fact, one of my favorite discoveries of music was from Zack and Miri Make a Porno, where Kevin Smith used an unreleased song by the band Live during a pivotal scene in the film. Instead of the song being warm and tender, which would have been the safe choice, Smith picked an up-tempo rock song, and I was hooked. I can’t remember hearing a rock song like that during a love scene, and I immediately went on a quest to find the song. Here’s the song “Hold Me Up”:
While I love discovering new songs, I’m a bigger fan of scores to movies. There have been many iconic scores over the years, and it help establishes a film. Whenever you hear the theme to Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, The Godfather or Lawrence of Arabia, you almost instantly want to see the film again. What I’m also a fan of many lesser known scores. So to help share some of these hidden gems, here are some scores worth listening too:
How To Train Your Dragon – When I saw this film, the moment that Hiccup gets to fly Toothless, the music came on and complimented the scene so well, that I immediately went home and downloaded the entire soundtrack. I know it sounds dumb, but I wish I had a dragon and could fly it after watching that scene. The visuals are amazing as well, and the idea to have the dragon be able to switch gears was genious! Here’s “Test Drive” by John Powell, which was used for that scene:
True Grit – I didn’t see this film until it was released on DVD this year and man, was I upset. This was a film that was easily in the top five films of the year and I wish I heard this score in theatres. The music by Carter Burwell just encapsulates the old west so well. It gives the film character and a great feel. Here’s a piece from early in the film called “River Crossing”.
Kick-Ass – Readers of Biff Bam Pop! know how highly I think of this film, and one of the big surprises to me in the film was how good the score is. Like How to Train Your Dragon, I got hooked on the music of the film because of a scene that involved flying. Here’s “Flying Home” by Marius Vries:
Deep Blue Sea – This was a film that I didn’t catch on to right away. I was a fan when I saw it, but the score didn’t stand out to me. I became interested when I saw a trailer for the film A Beautiful Mind and to my surprise, the music that was in the trailer turned out to be the theme to Deep Blue Sea. What’s interesting about this piece of music is that it definitely does not feel like it belongs in adventure film, as it would probably work better in a drama, but I like this piece of music a lot. Here’s “Aftermath” from Trevor Rabin:
The Island – Here’s another film that I saw and the score didn’t stand out to me right away. It was only when I heard the music used in the trailer for Avatar did I take notice. The Island is an underrated film in my opinion, and even if you don’t like Michael Bay, I think it is worth checking out. Anyways, here is the song “My Name Is Lincoln” from Steve Jablonsky:
The DaVinci Code – This music made the movie for me. The ending sequence where Tom Hanks is walking through the streets of Paris is set to the song “Chevaliers De Sangreal” by Hans Zimmer and it just builds and builds until we hit “The A-Ha Moment” at the end. It was a perfect piece of music to close out the film on. Here’s “Chevaliers De Sangreal”:
There are tons more great scores and great composers out there, but I wanted to share some underappreciated scores from films for you (I know I’m focusing more on just one piece of music for the film, but hopefully you like them enough that you give the rest of the score a try). If you have any suggestions of scores to check out, post them in the comments section and I’m always happy to take a listen.
I’ll end on this note, I find that soundtracks are not as popular as they once were, but they should be. If done right, they can definitely enhance a film. My recommendation for soundtrack of the year is Sucker Punch and I’ll talk about why that is next time.