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JW and Jerry Maguire


Saxman717
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So I copied some of this from the football theme thread, since I really want to hear your thoughts on this, and I fleshed it out a little further....

JW's new Sunday Night Football theme reminded a number of us of some Star Wars prequel moments. It also was apparent to some of us that JW really didn't spend much time/energy on it. Put those two together, and you get the frustration of the declining quality of JW's work on REAL projects, such as scores for a series that made him famous.

I believe the talent is still there. I just believe that he's taken then "quick and easy path" as of late............too many projects, too little time, too uninspired.

He needs to watch Jerry Maguire and read Tom Cruise's midnight memo after eating bad pizza.

Summary of the memo............

Fewer "clients"

More personal attention

Musical translation: LESS projects, and more INSPIRED / time-invested attention to really fleshing out well-developed themes, motifs, supporting lines.

That is the only way that we could have another Empire Strikes Back score. And call me selfish, but I want one, even if it means only having 1 JW score every 2-3 years.

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The only thing,i think,is that if Williams didn't have to score Chamber of Secrets and War of the Worlds,then we'd have slightly better and more complete scores to Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith respectively.

K.M.

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Well I disagree. It sounds better than many things he composed in the 80's and the fact that it reminded you of prequel marches doesn't say anything about the quality except that you personally don't like them.

You have no idea how much thought went into this. Some simple sounding things actually took longer because the goal was that after a few Sunday night viewings, you'd have it burned into your subconscious. Also, it is written to accompany an announcer and football sound effects. It cuts through the mix very well I am sure.

I think this serves that purpose, and I think he respected the sound of the old 70's FOotball films. There was a whole article on those football films and football TV music in a FSM, and the music they reviewed was a precursor. Williams is not one to blindside the masses when they have certain expectations, so please don't make so much of the fact that it is his only composition lately.

Look at his last 5 scores. Are they at all lacking in originalty or inspiration? If you think so, just stop hoping for Williams to rewrite his early scores or look forward to releases of another composer whose modern output you can truly admire, whether in film or in the classical realm.

Williams' Empire Strikes Back was only so good because the stars aligned, not because he was younger or better or faster. I'll repeat what I said before. Williams' Tanglewood concert was more interesting during the 2000's music and got less interesting during the Star Wars OT concert arrangements.

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Also, the too-busy theory doesn't seem to fit for the NFL piece. What else has he been doing this year? He's about as unbusy as he's been in a long time from what we know. Its also worth noting that there was continuity in sound in his earlier periods as well. Whether its Star Wars to The Fury or even Monsignor and ET have points of similarity. People are often anxious to declare JW's downfall but meanwhile he keeps writing music that lots of people appreciate and enjoy and that many musicians admire. And he seems to be making the people that hire him happy. He's not going to please everybody but, then, he never did so that's nothing new either.

-Adam

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What's too busy is Williams's writing for action sequences. More and more, it's become jittery, shambling, and fragmented -- just a lot of notes that in the final analysis don't add up to particularly much. It's not just me; I think a number of folks around here have been wondering where the melodic through-lines have gone. I don't know that it's enough to blame choppy editing.

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I agree that Williams have been lately borrowing more elements from his previous score than he used to before. The most evident examples were "RotS" and "WotW". Nevertheless "Munich" and "MoaG" were kind of fresh, very thoughtfully-conceived scores. The latter I find on of John's best ever.

In 2004 he had only two scores to do and both of them were of very good quality. So maybe this is the optimal number of works that he can do per year without decreasing their quality.

Concerning NBC football theme - I believe he put it down in a quarter or two :music: , without making too much effort.

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What's too busy is Williams's writing for action sequences.  More and more, it's become jittery, shambling, and fragmented -- just a lot of notes that in the final analysis don't add up to particularly much.  It's not just me; I think a number of folks around here have been wondering where the melodic through-lines have gone.  I don't know that it's enough to blame choppy editing.

Well it does seem to have a lot to do with the scene and editing though I agree what you're talking about is less pleasing on the ears. Battle of the Heroes is an action piece that was in the film and certainly has melodic through-lines. And it does seem the scene asked for it in away that some of the other action didn't - where there are lots of quick cuts and there's absolutely no focus on character, just a lot of busy action. WotW is not melodic in its action but its very cohesive for the most part (and not busily edited). That seeeed like the correct approach.

That's not to say he hasn't written the jittery, fragmented stuff as well recently. In fact, RotJ has some of that and that was in 1983. But the point is, these don't seem like random choices he's making, especially if measured against the kind of scenes in question. I don't want to say its the only factor but it seems like the major one.

- Adam

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Well I disagree. It sounds better than many things he composed in the 80's and the fact that it reminded you of prequel marches doesn't say anything about the quality except that you personally don't like them.

You have no idea how much thought went into this. Some simple sounding things actually took longer because the goal was that after a few Sunday night viewings, you'd have it burned into your subconscious. Also, it is written to accompany an announcer and football sound effects. It cuts through the mix very well I am sure.

I think this serves that purpose, and I think he respected the sound of the old 70's FOotball films. There was a whole article on those football films and football TV music in a FSM, and the music they reviewed was a precursor. Williams is not one to blindside the masses when they have certain expectations, so please don't make so much of the fact that it is his only composition lately.

Look at his last 5 scores. Are they at all lacking in originalty or inspiration? If you think so, just stop hoping for Williams to rewrite his early scores or look forward to releases of another composer whose modern output you can truly admire, whether in film or in the classical realm.

Williams' Empire Strikes Back was only so good because the stars aligned, not because he was younger or better or faster. I'll repeat what I said before. Williams' Tanglewood concert was more interesting during the 2000's music and got less interesting during the Star Wars OT concert arrangements.

Nicely said. I couldn't agree more. :music:

Ted

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Williams is going on 75 and nearing the end of his career. While he could probably compose for many years to come and most likely will I would imagine that the creativity is probbaly not what it once was.

All composers lose some of their spark and originality as their careers winds down.

I'm just thankful that he's still around to compose and give us his music.

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The only thing,i think,is that if Williams didn't have to score Chamber of Secrets and War of the Worlds,then we'd have slightly better and more complete scores to Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith respectively.

K.M.

I'm glad that didn't happen - I think WotW is a far, far better score than RotS.

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I think he is becoming more creative and better at composing as he ages.

Ted

If so, how do virutally none of his recent works stand up to his "prime" works? Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, Return of the Jedi etc. Even Hook, Jurassic Park etc. There might be 2 or 3 scores out of the 10-15 that he's written in the 2000s that might stand up to these old masterpieces. Back then, it was hit after hit, with him taking the time to really flesh out thematic, catchy action cues. Lately, as someone mentioned earlier, there have been more incidental, busier, dare I say "sloppier" action cues. This football ditty fits in with that --- what's up with that background line? Sloppy, sloppy......

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Whether something is a hit or not doesn't reflect a thing about it's quality. His composing style has changed in many ways, and to fan who likes Williams for his thematic, catchy action cues, his current style is viewed as nowhere near his old style. I think his style now is terrific, and that his music is more fresh and creative than ever. He is taking chances and exploring new territory, and he is doing so exquisitely.

Ted

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Don't you guys get tired of listening to Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones? It's been over 20 years for some of the them.

I rarely listen to any of those scores anymore, save for the Love Theme from Superman. My playlists has selections from Munich, Memoirs, Terminal, Catch Me, Minority Report, Stepmom, Clones, Stanley and Iris, and of course, Home Alone 2.

I think he's been more creative recently. It takes more skill and creativity to write beautiful scores like the ones above. Even though ET, SW, Indiana and Jaws are excellent, I think Williams spends more time on the other elements of the score rather than writing a catchy tune.

MySpace Film Music Group:

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If so, how do virutally none of his recent works stand up to his "prime" works?

Stand up in who's eyes?

Back then, it was hit after hit, with him taking the time to really flesh out thematic, catchy action cues.

Okay, so he's already done that then. What would you suggest to do next?

Lately, as someone mentioned earlier, there have been more incidental,  busier, dare I say "sloppier" action cues.

I think the expression you're groping for is "less obvious"?

This football ditty fits in with that --- what's up with that background line?  Sloppy, sloppy......

So those 30 seconds is what this is all about.

Don't you guys get tired of listening to Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones?  It's been over 20 years for some of the them.

I rarely listen to any of those scores anymore, save for the Love Theme from Superman.  My playlists has selections from Munich, Memoirs, Terminal, Catch Me, Minority Report, Stepmom, Clones, Stanley and Iris, and of course, Home Alone 2.

Finally, the voice of reason.

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Don't you guys get tired of listening to Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, Close Encounters, Indiana Jones?  It's been over 20 years for some of the them.

I rarely listen to any of those scores anymore, save for the Love Theme from Superman.  My playlists has selections from Munich, Memoirs, Terminal, Catch Me, Minority Report, Stepmom, Clones, Stanley and Iris, and of course, Home Alone 2.  

I think he's been more creative recently.  It takes more skill and creativity to write beautiful scores like the ones above.  Even though ET, SW, Indiana and Jaws are excellent, I think Williams spends more time on the other elements of the score rather than writing a catchy tune.

It seems to be the mentality that everything that is older than 1990 is not worth listening to anymore.

I will never tire of JW's past work. It made him who he is today. It was his peak period when he was one of the top if not the top composer in his field. They are some of the best film scores written for the screen.

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I think he is becoming more creative and better at composing as he ages.

Ted

If so, how do virutally none of his recent works stand up to his "prime" works? Star Wars, Indiana Jones, ET, Empire Strikes Back, Jaws, Return of the Jedi etc. Even Hook, Jurassic Park etc.

Aren't you basically asking why JW doesn't write as many big epic adventure scores?

Well, probably, because he is now choosing different projects. No problem with that. He's the one who has to work on those films, you know.

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I really can't understand why many people on this board just don't seem to like Williams anymore. I think its rediculous to dismiss all of Williams post-1990 scores, just because they weren't written in the time of Star Wars or E.T.

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It seems to be the mentality that everything that is older than 1990 is not worth listening to anymore.

Even if that were true (which it certainly isn't), that mentality would not be much worse than "everything that is younger than 1996 is not worth listening to anymore."

I will never tire of JW's past work. It made him who he is today. It was his peak period when he was one of the top if not the top composer in his field. They are some of the best film scores written for the screen.

Well, one might say he was the top composer that day because the themes he wrote were popularly acclaimed. And while it would be foolish to deny the immense quality of Raiders, Superman, ESB and Star Wars, these scores are good for basically the same reason: their bold bombast, their attractive themes and its apparent (but deceiving) simplicity. Also, because they relate very well to wonderful films you don't want to shake out of your head. But the context now is very different. It's been 25+ years since those scores were written, and it's virtually impossible for any work of art to remain fresh like new after 25+ years of repeated listens. It's also virtually impossible for any self-respecting artist to keep producing the same kind of output for 25+ years.

This means, even if I had the capacity of never getting tired of the classic scores, I wouldn't wish that. I like to absorb them, enjoy them and cherish them for the masterpieces they are. But I just can't deny that a different approach and a different sound is of equal quality. I like Jurassic Park as much as I like War of the Worlds. I like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban almost as much as I like Hook. I don't see why both have to be incompatible. And I certainly don't see how one style lessens the other because of its advanced musical techniques. If anything, they are two great samples of very different syles.

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I think Harry Potter proved that Williams can write scores rich with numerous themes if he so desires to; a return to form, just like Hook was a reminder during the early nineties.

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