Score Spotlight: Spider-Man (2002)

love movie scores, often more so than their soundtracks. I’ve purchased several favorites throughout the years, and one of them that recently came up in my shuffle mode was Danny Elfman’s brilliant score for the first Spider-Man film that came out in 2002.

One of the more interesting facts about the score is that Danny Elfman, who is usually known as a big part of the tag-team of Burton and Elfman for their collaboration in film and scores, had actually already worked with Sam Raimi on a couple of his films prior to Spider-Man, including Darkman (1990) and Army of Darkness (1993).

Elfman’s score for the first Spider-Man film was critically successful, winning numerous awards in 2002, including a BMI Film Music Award, a Golden Trailer Award, a Saturn Award, and a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television, or Other Visual Media.

There are several notable tracks on the score, but I think its Main Title is one the strongest themes created for a superhero franchise, with the scores for the remakes often making it onto the cons lists when comparing the old and newer films. One of the things I disliked most about the Spider-Man remakes was the score. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) at least offered some better work from Hans Zimmer along with The Magnificent 6, but for me both scores pale in comparison to this genius work of Danny Elfman in the first Spider-Man film.

 

One of my other favorite tracks on the album is City Montage:

 

Although with enough time passed and more remakes in the works, I think Elfman’s score will stand the test of time, even if the film itself doesn’t.

It’s your turn now. What is your favorite Danny Elfman score? Which score do you prefer of all five Spider-Man films? Please join the conversation below, because I would love to know your thoughts.

Music by Movie Association

I’ve been wanting to write a post like this for a while, so I’m happy to finally be getting to it. I didn’t realize how much of the music I actually listen to today is from film. It’s not just my ever growing collection of film scores that invade my iPod. I’ve been listening to some sweet tunes I never would have considered if it weren’t for certain films. Do you ever hear a song and you’re immediately thinking of a movie you heard it in? It happens to me all the time. Different songs and scenes are memorable to everyone for different reasons. This is a smattering of songs I either immediately associate with certain movies when I hear them, or just had to buy when I heard them in a movie.

“The Sound of Fear” by Eels in Yes Man

This scene is just hilarious. Oh Jim Carrey.

“Yes Man” by Munchausen by Proxy (Zooey Deschanel & Von Iva) in Yes Man

OK, I believe this is an original song made for the film, so I haven’t actually heard this anywhere. But it is another awesome song from Yes Man. Basically, I LOVE the soundtrack from that film. It’s just hilarious and awesome and totally different. Check it out! And this video is the actual performance, uncut.

“Tonight (Best You Ever Had)” by John Legend in Think Like a Man

This song doesn’t fall into my typical taste of music, but I really, really like this song. It’s just really good.

“Pennies from Heaven” by Rose Murphy in The Artist

“Pennies from Heaven” is the only song in The Artist that has words. And aside from one or two words in the film, it serves as the only “dialogue” to take place in the film.

“(I Just) Died in Your Arms” by Cutting Crew in Never Been Kissed  (and everything else)

This song is basically in a ton of movies. It’s a great movie song, and it was very fitting for the scene in Never Been Kissed. What other movies have you heard this song in?

“She’s So High” by Tal Bachman in She’s Out of My League

Every time I hear this song, I associate it with the movie. I think the song works in a literal way with the plot, which makes it memorable. Also, this music video is really weird.

“Linger” by The Cranberries in Click

Such a bizarre movie to think of The Cranberries, but I do.

“You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates in (500) Days of Summer

Seriously, who doesn’t think of (500) Days of Summer when this song plays? One of the coolest scenes from the film.

“O Children” by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

I had heard of Nick Cave before I saw the movie, but this Harry Potter movie was the first I had heard “O Children.” The scene is nowhere to be found in the book from what I hear, but it’s an interesting scene with a great song to accompany it, nonetheless.

What songs do you guys associate with movies? Do you have any favorites?

Week of Favorites: Composers

In the past few years, I’ve really taken to collecting film scores when I can afford it. It’s amazing to think that I had an even MORE difficult time compiling a favorites list of film composers than I did for actors or actresses. When it comes down to it–and I hope if you haven’t read anything else I’ve written, that you read this–that picking favorite film composers for the average movie lover is something that really comes down to the thought, what do you like to listen to? For someone who grew up playing many instruments and being involved in music frequently, I still lack that intuitive knowledge that would say, This is a good soundtrack because of X reason. At the end of the day, these composers are on this list because I really favor one or multiple scores of theirs.

John Williams

I’m not ranking John Williams on this (even though it is just a FAVORITES LIST) because I don’t think he ought to be ranked. He’s composed some of the greatest scores of our time and is a household name today. He’s absolutely brilliant when it comes to taking a few notes and creating a memorable melody that is remixed decades later for film remakes. On Williams’s 80th birthday, I posted about him in more detail. You can check out that post here.

6. Daft Punk

Since it’s nearly impossible to find a normal picture of Daft Punk, please enjoy this light-up dance routine to one of the tracks from TRON: Legacy.

Again, I struggled having only five composers on my list. It’s ironic that Daft Punk even makes this list considering that they have scored the soundtrack for only one film. The clincher for me is that it is one of my favorite scores I have listened to on repeat constantly, and I can’t find any other scores even comparable: TRON: Legacy. For two years, the duo that makes up Daft Punk–Frenchman Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter–collaborated with Joseph Trapanese, an arranger and composer who lives in LA. The score is performed by an 85-piece orchestra that combines both electronic and orchestral sounds. Daft Punk has released other types of albums, yet I hope that more film scores are in their future.

5. Henry Jackman

Henry Jackman is really a darkhorse pick even in terms of favorite composers of mine, because I haven’t heard a whole lot by him. After learning that he’s actually partially composed several scores, such as being the music programmer for The Da Vinci Code, the music arranger for The Dark Knight, and contributing to the second and third Pirates of the Caribbean films, I consider Jackman to be more of an up and comer in the film composition industry. Jackman has worked under the strong direction of Hans Zimmer, who’s been referred to as Jackman’s mentor in the past. Jackman’s also helped write the score for Zimmer’s The Holiday, as well as the scores for the films Vantage Point and Monsters vs. Aliens. He’s recently started to head his own projects, the most memorable being his rich, intense score for last year’s X-Men: First Class. It was one of my favorite soundtrack scores of last year; you can read more about it in this previous post.

4. Nancy Wilson

To many, Nancy Wilson may be considered an odd choice given that she’s known more as a rock musician. According to her IMDB profile, Wilson has performed or written tracks for over 20 films. In terms of film composing, however, her number is quite a bit smaller: four films. Previously married to filmmaker Cameron Crowe, Wilson lended her film composing skills to several of his films, including Jerry Maguire, Almost FamousVanilla Sky, and Elizabethtown. I’m still convinced that Crowe went directly with Jonsi only for the score of We Bought a Zoo because he no longer has Wilson to collaborate with, but that’s just me speculating. Despite only composing for four films (some of which have only one or two tracks), Wilson still makes my favorites list because I’m a big fan of each of her tracks on each album. She mainly works with only acoustic guitar, and there’s a very earthy, deep feel to the sound. My recommendation is to check out her Elizabethtown score. I talk about it a little more in this post. It’s my favorite!

3. Hans Zimmer

This list would be incomplete without the addition of Hans Zimmer. He reminds me of the Peter Jackson of the film composition world because he’s so open and communicative with his fans. Zimmer has collaborated with other brilliant film composers, such as Klaus Badelt on some of the Pirates of the Caribbean scores as well as James Newton Howard (one who barely missed this list!) on Christopher Nolan’s batman films. Zimmer has won multiple awards, although he’s won only one Academy Award in his time (crazy or what?!) for The Lion King in 1994. His award-winning (and nominated) film scores tend to be his most well-known, such as GladiatorThe Last Samurai, and Inception. His colleagues at DreamWorks, who Zimmer happens to be head of the music division there, include both legendary film composers John Powell and Harry Gregson-Williams, who composed the memorable, uplifting score for The Chronicles of Narnia films. Zimmer is also known for his collaboration with director Christopher Nolan, having joint-composed (if that can be a term) for Batman BeginsThe Dark Knight, and the upcoming The Dark Knight Rises with Newton Howard and composing for the critically-acclaimed film, Inception. My current favorite film scores of Zimmer’s are for Guy Ritchie’s first Sherlock Holmes (2009) and Inception.

2. Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman has a giant resume of film scores that I’ve never listened to, yet he makes it so high on this list because I’ve very much enjoyed the ones I have heard. He’s clearly at the top of his game right now composing for multiple films almost every year since 1980! Elfman is known for his collaboration with director Tim Burton, having composed for almost every one of Burton’s films. One of the most epic film score themes that earned Elfman a Grammy was the theme for Burton’s Batman in 1989. Elfman has been nominated four times for an Academy Award and has yet to win one. Because of his previous time spent in a rock band, Elfman has suffered hearing loss, which reminds me a little of Beethoven (that is, it’s interesting that great people in music needlessly work in the industry in spite of having poor hearing! crazy!). My favorite scores of his are for Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series.

1. Alan Silvestri

The biggest reason Alan Silvestri is in my number one slot is that he composed my favorite score tracks I have heard. It seems that some of the biggest directors and film composers have tag-teamed in their collaborations to make films. Robert Zemeckis is the director who has acted as Silvestri’s main collaborater, Silvestri having scored for twelve of Zemeckis’s films. Silvestri has won two Grammys, one for the song “Believe” in The Polar Express, and one for the theme song to Cast Away in the Best Instrumental Composition category. Silvestri’s been nominated only twice for an Academy Award, once for Best Score for Forrest Gump and once for Best Original Song in The Polar Express. I think it’s a wonder that he can so strongly compose and write for two incredibly different segments of music, be it instrumental scores or writing an original song. You can look forward to hearing the score for the upcoming Avengers film coming out in May of this year. I can narrow down my favorites of Silvestri’s film scores to the Back to the Future series, Cast Away theme song, Forrest Gump, and Captain America: The First Avenger.

OK, who’s your favorite film composer(s)? What do you think of my choices? And most importantly, what tracks/albums/composer recommendations do you have for me? 🙂

Love Week: Singing Bits I Love in Film

With only a few hours left in the day, I’m struggling to get a second post out during my “Love Week” here at All Eyes on Screen. Multiple things have kept me MIA from AEOS lately, so I’m going with the thought, better late than never, right?

So yesterday, I posted about my 10 favorite romantic movies. Tonight I’ll be including a few singing bits I love in various films, which happen to be all over the place. The list isn’t conclusive, but a few favorites I really enjoy.

“Johnny B. Goode” in Back to the Future (1985), sung by Michael J. Fox

When I was thinking about writing this post, Fox’s performance of “Johnny B. Goode” was the first one to pop in my head. Back to the Future is one of my favorite movie trilogies, and this is one of the most memorable scenes. He starts off by announcing that “this song is an oldie . . . um, from where I come from,” suddenly realizing that it’s not considered old in 1955. He kills it on the guitar, and it’s completely entertaining in both the first film and when it’s revisited in the second film.

“I Put a Spell on You” in Hocus Pocus (1993), sung by Bette Midler

Every year around Halloween, I make it a priority to get a viewing of Hocus Pocus in, because it’s a holiday classic. It might be the only film I can handle Sarah Jessica Parker in too (exception: Sex in the City [only the first one!]). This part is exceptionally hilarious, because while the kids are trying to convince their parents that these three witches are, in fact, real witches, Bette Midler decides to work with the line “Put a spell on you,” and turns it into a performance at a Halloween party.

“Grow Old with You” in The Wedding Singer (1998), sung by Adam Sandler

I did include this scene in my last post. However, I had the most difficult time selecting a song I love most from The Wedding Singer. Adam Sandler sings several times throughout the film, but I think “Grow Old with You” is his most heartfelt performance. Other hilarious songs include his rendition of “Love Stinks” after he’s been left at the altar, and “You Spin Me Round” at the opening credits of the film. The ’80s Adam Sandler knows how to sing, and what better way to woo a girl than to start singing to her.

“Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” in 10 Things I Hate about You (1999), sung by Heath Ledger

Speaking of singing for women’s affections, Heath Ledger is fantastic in the little stunt he pulls to win back Julia Stiles in 10 Things I Hate about You. He pays off the marching band to accompany him while he half dances, half runs away from the cops trying to hustle him down. This is a favorite of my favorite singing bits in a movie, partly because Ledger is so charming singing “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You.”

“Only Hope” in A Walk to Remember (2002), sung by Mandy Moore

I used to wonder if Mandy Moore was recruited for A Walk to Remember just to deliver her song “Only Hope” in the film. This is her shining moment in the film, when she surprises everyone, especially Shane West, by stepping out and singing beautifully. She lends her voice to the film’s soundtrack as well.

“The Edge of Night” in The Return of the King (2003), sung by Billy Boyd

I’ve been reading The Fellowship of the Ring, and I noticed something familiar as I was reading a poem in the third chapter titled “A Walking Song”–the lyrics from the song “The Edge of Night” that Billy Boyd sings in The Return of the King matched parts of the last stanza in the poem. Another cool thing I learned from reading about it on its Wikipedia page is that Billy Boyd actually composed the beautiful melody for the song.

“Teacher’s Pet” in School of Rock (2003), sung by Jack Black

After reading this post, I learned that my film friend, Castor of Anomalous Material highly dislikes Jack Black, even in School of Rock. I, however, can’t get enough of Mr. Black, especially in School of Rock. It’s one of my favorite comedies, and I love this end scene where the students rally with Jack Black and perform “Teacher’s Pet” at the Battle of the Bands. The lyrics are well-written and pretty funny, and who better to lead a band of elementary school kids than Jack Black?

“Run and Tell That” in Hairspray (2007), sung by Elijah Kelley

There are multiple songs I would pull from this remake of Hairspray to claim as favorites, but I decided to go with “Run and Tell That” because the choreography is great and the lead singer, Elijah Kelley, is relatively unknown, especially in a film that included so many big names. Kelley’s voice is exposed multiple times on the soundtrack and throughout the film, but his solo “Run and Tell That” really reveals what an incredible voice the singer-actor has. I much prefer to listen to Kelley over Michelle Pfeiffer or Christopher Walken.

“Pop Goes My Heart” in Music and Lyrics (2007), sung by Hugh Grant

Although Music and Lyrics was certainly no hit, it did include some entertaining songs from a fictional 80s band with lead vocalist Hugh Grant. Although Grant certainly doesn’t possess booming pipes, he really pulls off the facade and sound of an 80s leading man fairly well. I had to include “Pop Goes My Heart” over “Way Back into Love” because the music video is hysterical, but well-made.

“Stu’s Song” in The Hangover (2009), sung by Ed Helms

And of course, I couldn’t forget “Stu’s Song” from The Hangover. The great part about the song is that it fit in so well with the rest of the film. The random uncertainty and spontaneity of the movie was its ticket to success, and Ed Helms delivers on all funny levels necessary, especially for a light break from the “drama” of the movie. The neat thing about this song is that the musically-talented actor actually just sat down and starting singing and playing the song, coming up with it on the spur of the moment. The director liked it so much that he put it into the movie.

What songs do you guys love in movies? Do you like any of the same as me? 

Happy 80th Birthday, John Williams!

Today marks John Williams’s 80th birthday. And what better way to celebrate it, than with two Oscar nominations for War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin.

No one needs to point out that John Williams is a legend. Say his name, and everyone around you–most likely, even the younger generations–are going to have at least heard his name, much less be aware of some of the famous compositions he’s created throughout his lifetime.

Right around the Oscar nominations announcement, many recognized and acknowledged that Williams, now with 47 nominations, is the second most nominated person following Walt Disney. Disney had 59 nominations in the bag and would be 110 years old today. I’m not sure whether Williams is aiming to top Disney’s number, but I would agree that with two nominations this year, that he’s well on his way if he continues to compose.

To break it down, Williams has won 5 Academy awards, 4 Golden Globes, 7 BAFTAs, and 21 Grammy awards. His Wikipedia and IMDB pages are deliciously long, making mention of each score he composed and/or conducted, received nominations for, and many of which he went on to win multiple awards for.

John Williams brought Superman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and E.T. to life, to name a few. “John Williams” is one of those names that will go down not only in film history, but also in U.S. history as a prestigious creative mind of sorts.

Perhaps Williams’s great collaboration in the film biz is his connection and friendship with Steven Spielberg. Williams has composed for all of Spielberg’s major feature films with the exceptions of The Color Purple (1985) and Duel (1971).

Everyone has their favorite John Williams’s soundtrack(s), be it one of his well-known or more obscure ones, not that many of his scores have hit the point of obscurity. My favorites are Superman and Star Wars. They both scream epicness in their ability to communicate themes that have been used and remixed throughout the years to give us parody videos and hilarious commercials and remakes (well, for Superman . . . definitely not Star Wars!)

Also, make sure to check out Ruth from Flixchatter’s excellent post commemorating John Williams on his birthday as well, offering a brief history of Williams and then including her top 10 Williams’s film scores.

Below are some videos of my favorite themes from the celebrated composer:

John Williams conducts the Superman theme:

London Symphony Orchestra performs the Star Wars theme:

What’s your favorite John Williams score?

Backstage Spotlight: Dan in Real Life Bonus Features (2007)

Bonus features, special features, extras–whatever you want to call them–are usually on most movies you end up renting or owning. I find them particularly fun to watch, if I have the time. What’s crazy is that I’ve seen Dan in Real Life a handful of times over the past 4 years, yet I never took the time to check out the bonus features until last night.

Let’s break it down.

Behind the Scenes

Writer-director Peter Hedges’s ultimate goal, it seems, is to make films that are different. That’s one of his big points in the “behind the scenes” featurette on the DVD. Dan in Real Life  supports his idea of being different by really being its own movie. Hedge has written a few films across the board throughout his career, from What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) to About a Boy (2002). Hedge acts as director and co-writer for Dan, bringing to life Pierce Gardner’s writing. That cast had only great things to say about Hedges (of course!), but many of them noted that he was much different than the typical director in that he was very down to earth and was always bringing something different to the table.

One really interesting thing I caught from the featurette was that the entire cast, spare Steve Carell, came onto set a week before shooting to rehearse and hang out in the house where the majority of the movie was filmed. As much as I’ve seen the movie, I really felt like the cast was a family. It’s now only evident that the week they spent getting to know one another paid off in the end product.

About the Score: Sondre Lerche

This segment of the Bonus Features was my favorite. Typically, there isn’t anything expressed in detail regarding the score of a film listed within the special features, especially with someone considered less known, like Sondre Lerche. Dan in Real Life introduced me to this impressive, one-of-a-kind singer-songwriter-composer. No doubt there are a million other Sondre Lerche singer-songwriters floating around, but Lerche separates himself from the rest with his added talent of film composition. Before Hedge contacted Lerche, he had never heard of him, much less could pronounce his name. Hedge’s goal was to bring the film and soundtrack together by finding music that represented the title character, Carell’s Dan. In a nutshell, Lerche fulfilled that goal for Hedge, and a fantastic collaboration was born.

The rest of Lerche’s band flew in from Norway to sing and play in the background of the end scene in the film. Sondre Lerche might not be everyone’s cup of tea (such as Roger Ebert, who specifically called the film out on it!), but in my opinion, his music fit Dan in Real Life nicely, and didn’t come across too literal.

Deleted Scenes

Dan in Real Life might hold the record for the largest number of deleted scenes. Perhaps I’m exaggerating, but viewing 11 new or extended versions of scenes got exhausting and boring fast. There was only one deleted scene I might have even appreciated in the film, and it wasn’t even memorable. Each of these scenes–and probably a few more from the final cut–deserved to be on the cutting board.

Do you ever watch the Bonus Features on your favorite films? What did you think of Sondre Lerche’s score? Did you notice that Office alum Amy Ryan costarred in the film with Steve Carell?

AEOS Review: Cameron Crowe and his Elizabethtown (2005)

This post, I’m focusing on director Cameron Crowe, and in particular, his film Elizabethtown, the mediocre-reviewed film considered a flop on the director’s resume.

Similar to the reviews Elizabethtown received, the movie reflects the low points a person must go through in order to learn about a little thing called life. To start this post off, here’s a quote from Crowe himself, published only 3 weeks ago in Vulture magazine regarding the critics’ poor reaction to the film Elizabethtown:

To me, only if something comes from an inauthentic place should you feel vulnerable to the things that anybody might say.

He defends the film insomuch without actually coming across as defensive, a feeling that would have been understandable considering the rough reviews it received.

I’ve read several negative reviews/comments regarding Cameron Crowe and his films since few believe any of his movies have lived up to his most well-known films, Almost Famous (2000) and Say Anything (1989). I have to applaud Crowe for the way in which he has handled the criticism, because as a filmmaker and an artist, he gets it. He goes on in Vulture:

I stand behind it [Elizabethtown] and didn’t feel savaged. It was a little brutal. But I get that people want to express themselves. I express myself, too.

Crowe is one of those filmmakers who makes movies that resonate, even if they don’t connect with a wide audience. Crowe is an autobiographical filmmaker. There aren’t many of those out there–filmmakers who live, write, and then direct a movie that mirrors one’s own life. In a sit-down, unscripted interview with Orlando Bloom, the film’s star, both filmmaker and actor answer questions written in by viewers, and questions each have compiled for one another. Bloom asks Crowe what is the one thing he looks for in an actor, and without hesitation, Crowe replies, “Authenticity.” He goes on to say how he looks for authenticity in a person’s eyes, and that’s how an actor can connect with an audience, because the performance given is not just a performance, but something true and honest that viewers can find relatable.

After watching the film a few times, I started to wonder. . . how the heck did Crowe get Orlando Bloom to sign on to this movie? It’s nothing like Bloom has ever done before, and despite criticism on the Brit’s American accent (which really wasn’t bad!), Bloom sold it. But before he joined, could you imagine Ashton Kutcher filling the role? Well, he was hired until Crowe decided to call up Bloom. It’s amazing to think that James Franco and Chris Evans auditioned for the role too.

When it comes to writing, the old cliche goes, “you should write what you know.” That is what Crowe does, and Elizabethtown is example of that. At the end of the day, Crowe doesn’t care that many people–namely, critics–didn’t like Elizabethtown. And as a big fan of the movie, I don’t care that they didn’t get it either. Yes, there were some cheesy parts, or lines that were a little far out, but guess what I got out of it? A lot of heart, something Cameron Crowe films are filled with.

If you read or watch any interview with Crowe back from 2005, you’ll learn that the movie was a tribute to his late father. The movie, made over a decade after his father passed, was meant to bring to light those moments where you get to know your parents better after they passed because you failed (or in this movie’s case, Drew Baylor failed) to spend that vital time with family before they were gone.

I’ve seen Elizabethtown maybe a dozen or more so times. I always try to put several months between each viewing, because there’s nothing like noticing things you didn’t see the first, second, or eighth viewing, and this time around, it was no different.

Most of my friends that I beg to sit down and watch Elizabethtown with don’t take away what I’ve taken from it. What makes the Elizabethtown stand out to me? Well, the soundtrack, for one. Before Crowe and Nancy Wilson divorced, Wilson collaborated with Crowe on the soundtracks for many of his films. She composed a fitting score for Elizabethtown, combining a lot of string instruments, namely guitar and banjo, to blend with the rich soundtrack including a laundry list of classic artists, from Patty Griffin to Tom Petty to I Nine to Elton John to My Morning Jacket, who posed as the fictional band “Ruckus” in the film. Perhaps my favorite score song of all time is on the score soundtrack, titled “River Road,” by Nancy Wilson. I love how it captures the feeling of the movie and the characters without being boring or just adding sound to the background.

Another aspect I really appreciated was the tone of the movie. There’s a scene where Drew (Orlando Bloom) walks in and is literally bombarded with all these crazy, random southerners who know all about him and his success with his job, while he returns hugs and looks to people he’s meeting for the first time. It’s one of the best movie representations of southern charm and family and the way they express themselves, and Bloom easily portrays a fish out of water in the setting.

I could go on about several different moments that I especially enjoyed from the movie, but I guess the point I’m trying to get across is that Elizabethtown isn’t for everyone. And for those who have already seen the film and disliked it, I’m not going to convince, no matter how great I believe the movie is, or how heartwarming I express Crowe as a filmmaker and writer to be. But for me, Elizabethtown is one of those movies I will watch again and again, because the movie captures little moments in life that I’ve experienced, and it’s a great reminder about what’s important in life–not success, but time spent with the people who matter. About taking life a step future and contemplating who and what is significant to be spending time with.

And this just in . . . 

I tweeted Cameron Crowe about Elizabethtown and got a reply from him! Check it:

Recast Edition: Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog (2008)

Eventually I’ll get around to reviewing Dr. Horrible, but until then, I wanted to do a special “recast edition” post on the web movie. “Recast Edition” is a type of post where I think of various actors that could potentially fill lead roles in a movie.

Penny

Penny is played by the pitch-perfect Felicia Day, who still might be the most-suited person to ever fill that role (point for you, Joss Whedon!). While she’s played a variety of guest roles on TV,  she’s primarily known for her web series that she created and stars in, The Guild.

My sister, Jenn, and I talked about the idea of recasting these roles, and one actress we both agreed on to play Penny was Zooey Deschanel. I think she is able to fill the shoes of an innocent, caring girl caught between a guy at the laundromat and local hero who just saved her life. Deschanel also has that quirkiness factor that Day has, and on top of that, Deschanel can sing pretty well, making her a nice fit for a supporting role in a web musical.

Captain Hammer

Nathan Fillion does an excellent job of bringing on the cheesiness while being hilarious at the same time. Basically, he plays the perfect douche. Jenn and I battled over this role more so because there are quite a few actors out there who are capable of this. But the big question was, can any of them sing? So after we rifled through various douche-like actors, I came to the conclusion that Jason Sudeikis would make an on-par Captain Hammer. The guy proved he could sing through his long-time running on SNL, and not many actors are capable of evoking a great amount of cheesiness such as Mr. Sudeikis.

Another interesting option to consider is Jon Hamm. Between his hilariously douchey portrayal of Kristen Wiig’s friend with benefits on Bridesmaids to his nice work on his hosting gig for SNL, Jon Hamm has a douche character down. But can he sing? Sudeikis is still my first pick, but I think Hamm would make an excellent back-up plan.

Dr. Horrible

I labored over this role more than the others. It’s nearly impossible to consider seeing anyone else pulling off this role quite like Neil Patrick Harris did. His excellent enunciation, his subtle humor, his clear dedication to taking over the world–is there really anyone else out there who could ever play Dr. Horrible? While I struggle to maintain only a single choice for this role, a few actors who came to mind include Ben Feldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Matthew Morrison, Bill Hader,  and Dominic Cooper.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

Thirty-one year old actor Ben Feldman isn’t known for much more than his most recent and successful role playing Fred on the Lifetime series Drop Dead Diva. Why would he make a good Dr. Horrible? He looks young and vulnerable, yet capable of showing a dark side. And the dude can sing . . . well. After hearing him sing on DDD, I thought he should be in more musical productions.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Right, right, I know–he and Deschanel starred in that little, awesome movie called (500) Days of Summer. But why would he be a good fit for Dr. Horrible? First off, he has a certain look that’s similar to NPH, having a slimmer frame. Second, he’s into more grassroots projects, such as his own company he started called “HitRECord,” so the idea of being in a web movie would be appropriate for him. And third, he’s proven he can sing in movies as well as at some of the HitRECord meetings.

Glee’s Matthew Morrison has hit it big since he joined the ever growing-in-popularity FOX show. And many congrats to him for that. The guy came from Broadway like NPH and has a fantastic voice. He even looks the part. My beef with this choice, however, is the question of whether he can act the part. Personally, I regard the guy as a little arrogant from various stories/interviews, but then again, how can we know what a person is really like?

Another SNL guy, Bill Hader easily looks the most different of the group, and that is why I thought of him as an option. He’s great at playing all different types of  characters on SNL, and Dr. Horrible is definitely some kind of character. I’m curious as to whether he can sing or not, but I’m convinced he could play a silly villain easier than the rest of the bunch.

Probably the least known of this group is Dominic Cooper, who was in the film version of Mamma Mia as the character Sky, who played opposite Amanda Seyfried. Why this guy? Well, we’re assured he definitely has the vocal chops. Cooper also has a different look to him. He’s English, but he would probably be fine using a convincing American accent.

So, who to choose from the list? This is the order I would choose them in:

1) Joseph Gordon-Levitt

2) Ben Feldman

3) Bill Hader

4) Dominic Cooper

5) Matthew Morrison

What do you think? Am I way off in my choices? Who would you cast as the leads if you were casting director?

New Dr. Horrible Dream Team?

Backstage Spotlight: 2011 Film Scores

To my own surprise, I didn’t find Oscar winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo score as interesting as their award-winning score that accompanied 2010’s The Social Network. I felt let down by the second installment of Sherlock Holmes in part due to Hans Zimmer’s lacking, all-over-the-place score. I was especially underwhelmed with Cameron Crowe’s decision to feature only Jonsi on the We Bought a Zoo soundtrack.

With those disappointments in mind, I still found three scores surprisingly well-fit for the movies they served.

  • Michael Giacchino’s score for Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

While director Brad Bird was a newbie to live-action film directing until the latest installment in the Mission Impossible franchise, he took with him music composer and collaborator Michael Giacchino, who is known more for his stellar work on animated films such as his Oscar-winning score Up, or Cars 2. Giacchino isn’t a stranger to composing for live-action film, however. His work extends not only to film, but also to the popular show Lost. One of my favorite Giacchino’s scores is the latest Star Trek reboot.

Giacchino did a nice job of subtly blending the well-known Mission Impossible theme while creating new themes for the locations the IMF team traveled, such as the track titled “A man, a plan, a code, Dubai.” The fast-paced, entertaining soundtrack well complemented the adrenaline-pumping film.

  • Alexandre Desplat’s score for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2

You don’t need to be a fan of Harry Potter to be a fan of this exciting, beautifully composed score. Well-set theme tracks for certain characters to a gorgeous, sweeping end theme accompanying the epilogue, The King’s Speech composer Desplat pulled out all the stops to deliver one of the better scores for the Harry Potter franchise. With the likes of John Williams (composed for the first 2 films), Patrick Doyle, and Nicholas Hooper to follow, Desplat was given probably an easier opportunity to compose when he was writing for the epic finale in the series. Nonetheless, I applaud him for making one of the more listenable soundtracks that entertains in its entirety, unlike some of its predecessors.

If you buy the soundtrack, you’ll also get a Behind the Scenes music video featurette of Desplat conducting the final song on the soundtrack, “A New Beginning.”

  • Henry Jackman’s score for X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class introduced me to Henry Jackman, who I had never heard of before seeing the film. While I was seeing the film, I couldn’t help but wonder who had composed it, because it was unlike anything I had ever heard before. Suitably entertaining, powerful, and emotional, Jackman’s score lends the needed feeling to both the action scenes and the more emotionally-focused moments. He retains a similar theme throughout the entire soundtrack, making it memorable in viewer’s heads. This was easily my favorite score from 2011.

Even one of the trailers for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy featured the track “Frankenstein’s Monster,” from the score:

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Patrick Doyle’s score for Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Patrick Doyle’s score for Thor

Ludovic Bource’s score for The Artist

What film scores from 2011 were you a fan of? Did you like any of the ones I didn’t?

I Would Like to Thank the Trailer Makers

. . . for the awesome music that they put in trailers.

As of late, I’ve made some new introductions with bands, thanks to some great music selections put in trailers.

“Everything in Its Right Place” by Radiohead in the Anonymous trailer

Radiohead is clearly capable of making some great music, and the movie trailer business had benefited greatly from their talent. The first Radiohead song I was really blown away by in a movie trailer was “Creep,” performed by The Vega Choir in The Social Network trailer. To this day, I think it is one of the best trailers, thanks in part to that song.

“Infinite Legends” by Two Steps from Hell in the Breaking Dawn Pt. 1 trailer

Although I’m not a Twilight fan, I was really curious to find out who performed the song in the trailer. Two Steps from Hell has made quite a few creative songs in both their albums, Invisible and Archangel.

“Unstoppable” by E. S. Posthumus in the Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows trailer

E. S. Posthumus is considered an electronic music group. I really loved the use of this song, especially in the second trailer that came out for A Game of Shadows. Their interesting use of different instruments really brings the trailer to life.