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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a trained composer. I recognize that I don't fit the norm.


But quite often, a pretty good movie is completely ruined (for me) by the music score. Either it is too florid, with banal melodies and unison strings overaccenting the already ripe emotional content, or it is misconceived electronic mishmash where traditional orchestration would serve better.


Two examples:


Witness, directed by Peter Weir, has an impossible music score (Vangelis? Moroder? I don't even care) that destroys every scene it is in.


Dr. Zhivago, with that famous Lara's Theme, has so little invention, that the theme is heard over and over and over, ad nauseum. There's a scene, then a symphony, then a scene, then a symphony (the same one). Exhausting.


I'd be interested in seeing some classic films with the music entirely removed, to see if they play better.
 

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I agree that a bad score can ruin a film. Here are the ones that pop into my head.


Ladyhawke - the 70s synth music is out of place in the middle ages.


Flash Gordon - has the bombastic, hideously repetitive music from Queen. Not only out of place, just plain bad.


Crimes of Passion - The Ken Russell film uses a score by Rick Wakeman where he endlessly repeats Dvorak's New World Sym. theme. Just plain bad.


In general I think that if a score calls attention to itself repeatedly then it detracts from the film.


John
 

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i may get flamed for this but the queen songs in highlander always annoyed me to no end! the other included music was tolerable at least, but still not that great!
 

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I know this is a cult classic to a lot of the Gen Xers, but Transformers...nothing like bad hair metal to ruin an otherwise entertaining (nostalgically) movie
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
A movie like Gone with the Wind, with music by that old hack, Max Steiner, is far superior as a film score to much of what passes today. The music in GWTW is endless (and I think today's tastes wouldn't like it), but that endless music is endlessly inventive, always coming up with something different. The great theme, which is memorable even today, is really only heard about 4 times in a 4 hour movie. The rest of the music is seamless, like a great opera.
 

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I don't thing the movie "A Knights Tale" can be topped for bad scoring.


Having songs like Low Rider and Boys are Back In Town the Middle Ages was the lamest thing I ever heard. The capper was the peasants singing "We Will Rock You" during a joust.


It was a rare case of the score actually taking a movie that was merely forgettable and turning it into one of the worst movies ever made.
 

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I know the first time I saw The Treasure of the Sierra Madre as a teen at a local college film screening, the author of the handout- and he was a good film critic, too- trashed Max Steiner's score. It made it difficult for me to properly enjoy the movie as I endlessly noticed the film score. As the years went by, memories of the review receeded, and I was able to enjoy Steiner's score as I watched the picture.


But he was right. The score is bombastic and appears everywhere, whether it is needed or not. It seemed a last ditch attempt to make a smallish, psychological film into an adventure epic (which failed, as the film seemed to be a flop at the box office. Great picture, incidentally.)
 

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I second the vote for MIssion to Mars. Ugggh!

There are a lot of bad examples of some rock and roll song being stuck in without regard to its application, such as the Guns and Roses music in a Dirty Harry movie, but I thought A Knights Tale was about the music. Surely no one in their right mind would have thought it fit into medieval setting, but to use it as the setting I thought was original and it sure sounds great on my system.
 

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Quote:
i may get flamed for this but the queen songs in highlander always annoyed me to no end! the other included music was tolerable at least, but still not that great!
Consider yourself toasted. :p I love all of the music in that film. Now the sequels... That's another story. :(


THE FIRM has a terribly annoying all piano score. Ugh.


NEVER SAY NEVER AGAIN has one of the worst scores I have ever heard. It's so bad it completely kills what could have been a good movie.


GOLDENEYE's score is also horrid. Good movie + Bad score = hard to watch.


MISSION TO MARS actually has some very good music in it here and there. The rest is crud.


I was watching the first 5 minutes of JASON X on HD-PPV (didn't pay for it. First 5 minutes are free) and it had the worst low budget sounding synthesizer job I have heard in years! Just terrible. Painful. What was New Line thinking?!


TRUE LIES has a very uneven score. Sometimes it's good and sometimes it's cheesy and sounds cheap (ala Jason X).


FAMILY BUSINESS: The score will drive you to suicide.
 

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Gotta agree with John on the Ladyhawke score, that movie had a lot of charm, but the score brings it down. Matthew Broderick is fun and entertaining, and Michelle Pfeifer is enchanting. The idea of "modern" music in old settings is usually a formula for disaster. Only, Moulin Rouge seems to have pulled it off, and even that took some getting used to. I enjoyed Highlander very much. The landscape scenes from the Highlands, and the blond babe are great to look at, but excepting the flash forward to modern times, Queen's music never did feel perfectly suited to the film. Don't get me wrong, I like and respect Queen as musicians, but that soundtrack was a bit obnoxious in the context of the movie in my opinion.
 

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I all too often find the orchestral scores to classic files, Lawrence of Arabia coming immediately to mind, to be overwrought and sometimes unbelievably heavy handed ("Feel bad here, This is bad, Don't open that door", etc..) To me, something like American Beauty is a great example of use of both popular music and ambient music to create a wonderful audio vibe for a film.
 

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One word- Willow!!

The main title theme is absolute annoying, saccharine would-be heroic tripe. It further wrecks an otherwise merely passable film. BTW, I also hate the Ladyhawke score. As for classic movies... I know I'll get blasted for this but I always thought the famous Gone With The Wind theme was essentially trite dreck.


Oh, and speaking of Queen, Ladyhawke and the like- rock bands (no matter how good they are) should not score films!! Highlander is nothing compared to the hideous abomination that is Queen's Flash Gordon score. And Toto's soundtrack for Dune. Or Keith Emerson's Nighthawks score (though he tried at least).


And while we're at it, Danny Elfman is a one-trick pony that has done about five good pieces of work out of a hundred. OK, that's all out of my system now :D


Fred
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I have to agree about Lawrence of Arabia. Like Dr. Zhivago, I find the theme repeated so often that its original merit is lost.


But I disagree about Gone with the Wind. I don't care for Steiner's "illustrative" style, topping schmaltzy moments with even schmaltzier music. But this seems to work well for GWTW, which is a faux-historical soap opera, anyway. Steiner basically invented the film score, and for that, he must have credit.
 

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I know this isn't scoring per se but:


Practically any movie made in the 70s where synthesizers are used. I can get past the wing collars, muttonchops, and AMC cars. But the bad VCO sounds coming from probably top-of-the-line Moogs of the day just kill it for me. Also if Barbara Streisand is singing that kills it for me too.


M
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by DFletcher


Dr. Zhivago, with that famous Lara's Theme, has so little invention, that the theme is heard over and over and over, ad nauseum. There's a scene, then a symphony, then a scene, then a symphony (the same one). Exhausting.


When I saw this thread title (Bad Music Scores), I thought immediately: just about anything composed by Maurice Jarre. For my tastes, Jarre is typically too jarring:), i. e., his film music tends to be overbearing, and usually employs themes that are unappealing. DR. ZHIVAGO was the foremost example that entered my mind---I agree with DFletcher (quoted above) about that particular score. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA is a similar case, with the exception of its main title theme, which I like. In my opinion, LAWRENCE is an outstanding film and ZHIVAGO is only so-so, but the music didn't ruin either film---they are what they are for many other reasons.
 

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The World is not Enough!! I HATE that horribly cheesy techno score, it's overkill.

It's a bad movie to. Stupid dialog!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by FredProgGH
One word- Willow!!

... And Toto's soundtrack for Dune. Or Keith Emerson's Nighthawks score (though he tried at least).



Fred
Two more good examples Fred.


However, I would argue with you about rock musicians doing soundtracks. I always liked the 'Local Hero' soundtrack by Mark Knolphler and John Cale's soundtrack work is excellent. I just watched a film last night called 'Dead Man' which is a Jim Jarmash film with Johnny Depp. Strange film with a strange soundtrack by Neil Young. The soundtrack fit perfectly with the mood of the flim. Nice job by Mr. Young.


John
 
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