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Jerry Goldsmith: Unpopular Opinions

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What does everyone love but you just can't get into?

 

What do you love but everyone else can't get into?

 

In my case, there are many examples of unpopular opinions. But one of the most important is that I am a huge fan of Warlock. I think the expansion is really a gift from Intrada. It's a really ambitious score with excellent string writing. The reason why many people don't like it is probably because the partly intrusive synths overshadow the orchestra a bit.

 

Just listen to the eerie part from 2:26 to 3:00!

 

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Not sure how unpopular this will be, but it always irked me that in 1997, L.A. Confidential got an isolated score on its DVD, while Air Force One and (particularly) The Edge didn't. Yes, I know they're unrelated and it would be the studio/DVD producer who did it, but what I've heard of L.A. was pretty unremarkable (although the finale cue is good). Was it seen as an 'intellectual' score? If so, f**k that.

 

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28 minutes ago, Richard Penna said:

Probably to do with the films. I've never seen either, but their stories are probably those that critics go nuts over.

Rudy is supposed to be a great film indeed.

 

L.A. Confidential is the best film of the 90s. It's like a big reward for Jerry, after putting so much effort into thousands of shitty flicks. "You wanna compose 40 minutes of easy noir-styled music and thus get a credit in a film that's better than everything Johnny has ever scored?" It's nice to see Jerry being part of a cineastic masterpiece like that.

 

But I agree that the scores are no outstanding works in Jerry's career.

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2 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

...what I've heard of L.A. was pretty unremarkable (although the finale cue is good).

 

(The film mix of) "Bloody Christmas" is pretty great. I haven't seen the whole film, nor heard the whole score, but I can tell it's going to be one of my favorite tracks

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I am pretty lukewarm on Total Recall...there are other Goldsmith fans out there like me, but we are in a distinct minority. But it has a lame main theme (and no compelling secondary themes asides maybe The Mutant) and just puts me to sleep usually.

 

I actively dislike most of King Solomon’s Mines, much of Supergirl, and the “Flying Dreams” part of The Secret of NIMH (still adore the rest of that score). I think Wild Rovers is Jerry’s most overrated western score and I usually love his western scores...I do need to see the film to properly assess it (doing so with The Ballad of Cable Hogue made me appreciate that one a lot more).

 

Many more obscure Goldsmith scores like High Velocity or Breakout or Inchon (often put down) or The Salamander are ones I can always enjoy, and I rank them much higher on my list than many scores which are much more revered. I have to be in the right mood for Warlock but I think it’s brilliant and I would choose it over Total Recall any day.

 

I’m not wild about the love theme in The Wind and the Lion though I love the rest of the score. Another love theme I find similarly too syrupy (but even moreso) is the main love theme in The Sand Pebbles. It just grates on me. The “Chinese Love Theme” in that score (extended with a new bridge but based on a theme for the Perry Mason “The Case of the Blushing Pearls” score) is soooo much better, which is why I’m sure Jerry originally selected it for the Overture rather than the other theme.

 

Yavar

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1. Most of his stuff, like with most composers and artists, isn't good enough to make me want to listen to again (the thing can be said about Williams too). This doesn't mean it is bad - much of it isn't bad, it is just that it isn't good enough for me to want to listen to again, simple as that. Despite this I consider myself a pretty big Goldsmith fan - he will always be in my top 10 film composers of all time.

 

2. There aren't that many Goldsmith scores I care for as a whole aside from Chinatown. Chinatown I find unquestionably his best and one of the top 25 film scores of all time. It may in fact be the only Goldsmith score I kept as a whole. Even with one of his better scores like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I only find myself returning to a few cues like The Cloud etc.

 

3. I prefer The Mummy over First Knight which doesn't do much for me at all. The Mummy is in fact one of the best scores of the 90s.

 

4. I don't think that highly of his 90s and early 00s work - Mulan, The Mummy and The Edge were the top 3 Goldsmiths of the 90s and the few exceptions.

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-The Final Conflict is even better than The Omen

 

-Apparently, space opera adventure isn't an environment to my film score interest, as I could never get into Star Trek music (or Wars). I do love Last Starfighter, but that's a peculiar exception.

 

-Alien doesn't engage me as a listening experience as Horner and Goldenthal's works do. It's a "third best score in the series" for me.

 

-Him and Joe Dante were a way more awesome duo than Spielberg x Williams. :P

 

 

 

 

 

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Them Omen is brilliant, but also incredibly stark and sparse. A whole 50+ minute work based on a few basic indeas.

 

The Final Conflict feels more expensive. Its truly epic.

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4 hours ago, Lewya said:

1. Most of his stuff, like with most composers and artists, isn't good enough to make me want to listen to again (the thing can be said about Williams too). This doesn't mean it is bad - much of it isn't bad, it is just that it isn't good enough for me to want to listen to again, simple as that. Despite this I consider myself a pretty big Goldsmith fan - he will always be in my top 10 film composers of all time.

 

2. There aren't that many Goldsmith scores I care for as a whole aside from Chinatown. Chinatown I find unquestionably his best and one of the top 25 film scores of all time. It may in fact be the only Goldsmith score I kept as a whole. Even with one of his better scores like Star Trek: The Motion Picture, I only find myself returning to a few cues like The Cloud etc.

 

3. I prefer The Mummy over First Knight which doesn't do much for me at all. The Mummy is in fact one of the best scores of the 90s.

 

4. I don't think that highly of his 90s and early 00s work - Mulan, The Mummy and The Edge were the top 3 Goldsmiths of the 90s and the few exceptions.

 

Definitely agree that The Mummy is one of the best scores of the 90s. That Goldsmith hated the film yet still produced what he did is astonishing.

 

First Knight has its moments, but overall it's a bit too bombastic for me.

 

Chinatown - probably has to go with Schindler's List as a score which I just don't get but everyone else seems to take really seriously.

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7 hours ago, Margo Channing said:

"Flying Dreams"? Seriously? I always found that a gooey bundle of warmth.

 

Exactly, “gooey” is appropriate: It’s too syrupy and cloying for me. Similar to the main love theme in Sand Pebbles.

 

Give me brittle Goldsmith love themes any day, like Seconds or The Blue Max or Breakout. I guess there are a lot of more sweeping ones I enjoy too like The Mummy or First Knight, But they still feel different somehow.

 

Yavar

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2 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

 

Exactly, “gooey” is appropriate: It’s too syrupy and cloying for me. Similar to the main love theme in Sand Pebbles.

 

Aww it melts the heart. Exactly what I want to hear for a mother rat caring for her vermin.

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This cue is an absolute powerhouse, demonstrating Jerry Goldsmith's immense ability to find a heart for a project and truly make it speak for an audience. This music says that the movie's not just a "slasher in space", as a lot of people like to say in regards to it, but an exploration on the dangers and beauties of seeking the unknown.

 

 

It's one of the best cues ever written for a motion picture. That's an unpopular opinion, yeah?

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Contrary to his own popular opinion, Goldsmith wasn't that suited to romantic or small-scale films. That's why every male-bonding Papillon- or similar male-bonding movie towers far above the innocuous love themes  from 'Sand Pebbles' or 'Sleeping with the Enemy'.

 

Joeys 'Nemesis' opinion is still muck.

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13 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

Another love theme I find similarly too syrupy (but even moreso) is the main love theme in The Sand Pebbles. It just grates on me. The “Chinese Love Theme” in that score (extended with a new bridge but based on a theme for the Perry Mason “The Case of the Blushing Pearls” score) is soooo much better, which is why I’m sure Jerry originally selected it for the Overture rather than the other theme.

So true.

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8 hours ago, Richard Penna said:

I'm a big fan of First Contact and Insurrection. I never cared for the original.

I'm a big fan of Insurrection and Nemesis, but I never really cared for First Contact.

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Considering the day and age they were written in, i agree. 'Nemesis' is eternally underrated (much more exciting from a compositional pov than the more slapdash earlier entries, though less digestible due to its rather murky and tortured content, plus the routine synth work).

 

I will say that i really dig two cues from 'Insurrection' called 'Children's Story' and 'New Sight'. 

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That's nonsense, he reached his full potential even at the time of 'The Blue Max' and from the early 60's to early 80's rarely had any misses, even writing at full speed.

 

I think what you refer to is the changing landscape in commercial movies from the 80's onwards when 'reaching potential' was not on Goldsmith's agenda anymore. He wanted steady work and that automatically meant to lower standards and take a step back in regards to complexity etc. Many have raised their eyebrows at assignments like 'Mom and Dad Save the World' or 'Link' but i'm not sure we would have gained anything with only the 'Basic Instinct's or 'Russia House's on the menu, though it probably would have elevated Goldsmith's stature.

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11 hours ago, publicist said:

Contrary to his own popular opinion, Goldsmith wasn't that suited to romantic or small-scale films. That's why every male-bonding Papillon- or similar male-bonding movie towers far above the innocuous love themes  from 'Sand Pebbles' or 'Sleeping with the Enemy'.

 

...buuuut The Sand Pebbles does also have a GREAT love theme for Frenchy and Maily. And you're ignoring the many great romantic themes Jerry did pen: the sweeping love themes from The Mummy, First Knight, The Shadow, Medicine Man? How about The Russia House? Lionheart, Legend, The Salamander?? Man, I'm not even through the 80s yet, going back!

 

 

Hell, Star Trek: Insurrection has at least TWO great melodies that one might musically qualify as love themes. (Over time I've come to regard it as the best of Jerry's TNG scores...First Contact and Nemesis have perhaps the greatest highlights but they've also got more boring music and benefit more from pruning.)

 

No...Jerry occasionally did write something mawkish, but it was the exception rather than the rule IMO.

 

Yavar

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2 hours ago, Yavar Moradi said:

...buuuut The Sand Pebbles does also have a GREAT love theme for Frenchy and Maily. And you're ignoring the many great romantic themes Jerry did pen: the sweeping love themes from The Mummy, First Knight, The Shadow, Medicine Man? How about The Russia House? Lionheart, Legend, The Salamander?? Man, I'm not even through the 80s yet, going back!

 

Hell, Star Trek: Insurrection has at least TWO great melodies that one might musically qualify as love themes.

 

It is for a good reason that you lump together lots of stuff that doesn't really belong to *that* side of his musical personality - you find that less in medieval or fairy tale settings (and 'Legend' is mightily sweet, too) where temp tracks or classical role models played a bigger role than in the many lame contemporary melodies, 'Angie' style (and i really don't count side themes like 'The Shadow', which are OK but hardly great themes).

 

Generally Goldsmith had only limited flair for 'chick flicks' or women parts in general, and his music became superficial and overly sweet on many such occasions - compare that to all the home runs in male-oriented pictures, be it action or existentialist stuff (Rambo, Papillon, The Edge, or even Extreme Prejudice). He could deliver convincing romantic music if it was linked to a) a generally dramatic picture with an ethnic background (Under Fire) or openly 'aped' other's successes (Medicine Man = John Barry, as is the love theme from 'First Knight') and i enjoy these, too, but if i had the choice, i would trade a lot of Jerry's innocuous stuff for pictures of, say, John Huston or similar in an instant.

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