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What Has Happened To Howard Shore??


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Apologies if this has been posted before but one of the biggest composing disappointments, maybe “disappointment” is the wrong word, ok “mysteries”,  is the post LOTR career of Howard Shore. I mean, the man writes 3 of the greatest scores EVER back to friggin back and A) He isn’t immediately hired on every major project and B) The industry stays the “Hans Zimmer FOR EVERYONE” course. What? How? Everyone else heard the music in those movies, right? They have ears? 
 

Now of course he’s had some great scores post Rings. But how many Superhero movies have we had in the last 20 years? Not 1, not a single god darn 1, has had a Howard Shore score? He scored a Twilight movie for Christ sakes! I want my Howard Shore superhero theme damn it!

 

So whats the deal? Is it his preference to just work on whatever project strikes his fancy? Is his composer fee astronomically high? Is he a pompous ass that people don’t like to work with?(he seems nice enough. He’s Canadian for Christ sakes!). I don’t think there’s been another example of a composer writing huge, massive blockbuster hits like LOTR and The Hobbit and then working on small indie projects, the odd Martin Scorsese project, a Twilight movie and a partridge in a David Cronenberg. 
 

I’m a selfish ass. I want big, massive Howard Shore blockbuster scores! Enough of these small indie projects. Marvel! DC! Umm...Pixar! Hire this man! Please! 
 

Howard Shore. The world needs you. It needs your thematic beauty and intelligence. And Douglas Adams needs another book project(probably?). 

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Lol your post is very passionate, I like it.

 

My guess is that he doesn't need the work, and thus he only occasionally takes a scoring job. Also, the LotR scores are "old school" sounding, and it's obviously the right feel for that material, but a lot of modern projects don't demand that sound. In your superhero example, I don't imagine too many people want a LotR type sound when making a film like that.

 

So probably Shore gets offered a good number of projects when someone actually wants the LotR type sound, and he probably only selects one here and there when the mood strikes him, kind of like John Williams working only with people he likes, franchises he's known for, and random pet projects like Book Thief.

 

I'm surprised he isn't offered, and accepts, more scoring projects for art films, a la Desplat. Not sure why that is. I feel like his association with stuff like Silence of the Lambs or The Fly would make auteur filmmakers think of him.

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If LOTR was released these days, it would be scored by people like Lorne Balfe, Junkie XL or Brian Tyler. The (4 hour) score album would be impossible to listen to, thanks to the "loudness = epicness" philosophy being applied to every track.

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Shore has said somwhere that he takes projects he is interested in, not for a lack of offers. Besides, hasn't all of film scoring real estate gone to a thousand Zimmerites anyway?

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Christ I keep hearing the same "Hollywood doesn't make that anymore" line recycled again and again, and I'm wondering "does Hollywood make anything anymore?"

 

What does it make?

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With the exception of anything by Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve, and some lucky stragglers, not really. At least nothing above $100 million.

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How the hell did this happen? I remember not too long ago Paramount was producing everything from fun sci-fi flicks and corny slasher movies to intimate dramas that often topped the box office and won Best Picture.

 

How does anyone put up with this new conveyor belt of rubbish?

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1 hour ago, KK said:

My guess is it's a combination of things. His regular collaborators (directors) became increasingly arthouse-centric, and made smaller and smaller films. King Kong could have perhaps reinforced a place for him in mainstream blockbuster cinema, but that didn't pan out. Both his writing process and aesthetic also don't seem to line up with how big movies are made these days. He belongs to the older generation of composers a la Williams, who just aren't as compatible with industry practices anymore. Williams could probably get away with doing it his way because of his industry clout, but no other producer is going to put up with that level of patience.

 

This, plus I always thought, already back when he was first announced as the composer, that LOTR was a very atypical project for Shore. Big/heroic (or I guess even melodic most of the time) thematic scores weren't really his thing before, and rarely after. And with LOTR, he drew massively from Tolkien's own world to come up with his themes - something you can't normally do on a "big epic score project". Shore's core genre has always been the dark, rumbling aesthetics of Cronenberg and (back then) Fincher.

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Exactly. Shore was never a big blockbuster guy to begin with.

 

2 hours ago, The Big Man said:

How the hell did this happen? I remember not too long ago Paramount was producing everything from fun sci-fi flicks and corny slasher movies to intimate dramas that often topped the box office and won Best Picture.

 

How does anyone put up with this new conveyor belt of rubbish?


The public appetite is easily whetted with mediocrity.

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Hollywood came to the conclusion that you can earn more money with super-heroes, remakes of animated classics and PG13 fantasy than you can get with adult dramas and thrillers. 

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But I want more Godfathers, Conversations, Rain Men, French Connections, Untouchables, Marathon Men, Chinatowns, Taxi Drivers (no not that fucken Joker shit), Barry Lyndons, Full Metal Jackets, Deer Hunters, Bananas, Annie Halls, Manhattans and Interiors!

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11 minutes ago, The Big Man said:

But I want more Godfathers, Conversations, Rain Men, French Connections, Untouchables, Marathon Men, Chinatowns, Taxi Drivers (no not that fucken Joker shit), Barry Lyndons, Full Metal Jackets, Deer Hunters, Bananas, Annie Halls, Manhattans and Interiors!

 

So you want more opportunities for Atticus/Ross, Guðnadóttir, Levi, Zimmer, Newman, Desplat, Britell, Burwell? Nice.

 

But too bad about Shore, wonder when he is going to come back to the spotlight...  

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4 hours ago, The Big Man said:

Christ I keep hearing the same "Hollywood doesn't make that anymore" line recycled again and again, and I'm wondering "does Hollywood make anything anymore?"

 

What does it make?

 

Propaganda. 

 

 

 

You're welcome. 

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It's not like Shore ever left the spotlight, or that it was his to take; the Lord of the Rings films and scores were truly exceptional for their time. Shore also comments here in this interview that it's his preference of projects over not being offered them anymore. I have to imagine he was offered scores after LotR that called for that epic choral orchestral sound: 

Quote

Jason: Were you offered every fantasy or action blockbuster under the sun right after this period?

Howard Shore: Well, it was an interesting period. Because even though I had been working on films for many years, probably 20 by the time of Fellowship of the Ring, there really wasn’t interest in things that I had done before that and suddenly there was a lot of interest in my work, before Lord of the Rings, and going forward there was a lot of interest to work with different filmmakers and I was very happy for that.

Jason: Do you think you might one day take a musical plunge into the Marvel cinematic universe?

Howard Shore: I would look at it if it was somebody who is interested in working with me, I would be open to it. Absolutely.

Jason: The title Pieces of a Woman puts me in mind of pieces or minor events in a person’s life, such as Martha’s. I understand you started out writing music for short pieces documenting parks and nature for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Would you do that type of thing again if it came your way?

Howard Shore: If it was of interest, musically. One of my reasons for going into film and working in film was to work with the technology and to work with different orchestras and in Chamber Orchestra. So I’m interested in music. If something comes to me, that’s of interest, musically, something I haven’t done before, or sparks a certain emotion in me or something I just have to do. Because I love what they created, then I’ll do it.

 

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53 minutes ago, Arpy said:

It's not like Shore ever left the spotlight, or that it was his to take; the Lord of the Rings films and scores were truly exceptional for their time. Shore also comments here in this interview that it's his preference of projects over not being offered them anymore. I have to imagine he was offered scores after LotR that called for that epic choral orchestral sound: 

 


That’s interesting but I don’t really buy it. I mean...he’s scored movies like “The Last Mimzy”? Or the 3rd Twilight movie? Those projects interested him? Those filmmakers interested him? Bob Shaye? Come on.

 

I was really looking forward to his “Pete’s Dragon” score. What happened there? He was attached forever and I maybe heard somewhere he had started work on it. But he’s replaced?

 

I’d still love to hear his King Kong score or what was written/recorded anyways. I remember Doug Adams saying it was some of his best work. 
 

Sometimes you wonder about the working relationships filmmakers have. Take David Fincher & Martin Scorsese. They both use Howard Shore multiple times. Fincher moves on to Alexander Desplat for Benjamin Button and then Reznor/Ross for Social Network & everything after. 
 

Then Marty makes 3-4 films in a row with Shore, the last being one of the best and we’ve had squat since. I was hoping we’d see them reunite on the Irishman but...

 

Film music has become such a sorry state. I was watching “The Mask of Zorro” the other day and man James Horner knocked that one out of the park. But you don’t hear scores like that anymore. When was the last time you left the theatre humming the score on your way out?

Now everything is all percussion & synth smaple strings & anvil pounding and bwaaaahhhhhssss.

 

Remember when Michael Giacchino represented the hope that things were maybe changing? Man. Now it seems he scores on auto pilot like Elfman does. 
 

I didn’t cry when my father past away but when John Williams goes? Oh my. I’ll be a wreck. I dread it sometimes, I do. Thinking that there will be no new notes ever composed by that musical god in flesh form. Man...

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1 hour ago, Mr. Gitz said:

I didn’t cry when my father past away but when John Williams goes? Oh my. I’ll be a wreck. I dread it sometimes, I do. Thinking that there will be no new notes ever composed by that musical god in flesh form. Man...

Ummm... ok.

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I simply don't get why Howard Shore should write a score for a superhero movie. The Last decade has proven that this is not a genre for scores of high musical quality. To me even Patrick Doyle's efforts for Thor were terribly uninteresting. 

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Had this current spat of superhero flicks sported something resembling a full bodied heroistic Shore sound, then who knows, I may have shown more interest in 'em. The Marvel soundtracks all sound like sonic wallpaper to me, there's nothing distinct about any of it. Frankly, the the themes are absolutely shit, especially the "big'" overarching Silvestri one. Nothing stands out.

 

You can say what you like about Shore, but you can't say his broader material doesn't stand out. Unless you're a loony. 

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12 hours ago, The Big Man said:

But I want more Godfathers, Conversations, Rain Men, French Connections, Untouchables, Marathon Men, Chinatowns, Taxi Drivers (no not that fucken Joker shit), Barry Lyndons, Full Metal Jackets, Deer Hunters, Bananas, Annie Halls, Manhattans and Interiors!

 

My hope is that big studio conglomerates will crash again, and the little guys will crawl back up (ex. 60s/90s). The cycle has got to repeat itself right?

 

6 hours ago, mrbellamy said:

 

Fran Leibowitz had an interesting perspective on this

 

 

 

That is an interesting theory. I'm not sure how much credence to give it, but regardless, the tastemakers have certainly changed over the years.

 

5 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Shore always was a picky composer.

 

That basically explains it.

 

I don't know how "picky" he was when he was doing Twilight and that Chinese video game.

 

To be fair, the latter probably paid him big bucks.

 

I'd imagine some part of him wanted a big Hollywood career post-LOTR, but it more or less just didn't work out. Now, he probably prefers smaller, low-labour movies that keeps his name out there while he works on other things outside of film.

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19 minutes ago, KK said:

 

My hope is that big studio conglomerates will crash again, and the little guys will crawl back up (ex. 60s/90s). The cycle has got to repeat itself right?

 

 

Thing is though the Golden Age studio era made a wide variety of good movies too. Sure they were products of their time but there's a lot of respectable cinema from the 1930s, 40s and 50s that's endured. I'd rather maintain a healthy diet of those sorts of films than the bloated juvenile shit Hollyweird steadily streams out now.

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41 minutes ago, KK said:

I don't know how "picky" he was when he was doing Twilight and that Chinese video game.

 

To be fair, the latter probably paid him big bucks.

 

He might also have been interested in the challenge of composing for an interactive medium.

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6 hours ago, KK said:

My hope is that big studio conglomerates will crash again, and the little guys will crawl back up (ex. 60s/90s). The cycle has got to repeat itself right?

 

Seems kinda mean to me to wish for the livelihood of many people to go to toilet.

 

Also, some of us rather like scale, spectacle and action in our movies and for that you do need studio money and resources. You can't do that on indie resources a-la "New American Wave" filmmaking of the early 1970s.

 

I have no issue with big-budgeted extraveganzas. Its just the trend towards jovial, wink-at-the-audience tone that I disapprove of.

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Just wanted to say Carter Burwell and Alexandre Desplat scored the other Twilight films and are no lightweights in their own right. 

 

I don't think Shore's composing methodologies and work ethic is what keeps him out of work either, he's more versatile and able to adapt to technology where JW isn't. 

 

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22 minutes ago, Arpy said:

he's more versatile and able to adapt to technology where JW isn't. 

 

That's also true.

 

I really think it comes down to him being picky.

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I'm not sure he's really that picky with his projects. I mean, he scored a Twilight movie and a Chinese mobile game (?) or something. 

 

I think if Marvel or DC actually wanted him, he would have no problem in accepting the job. But what super-hero actually fits his style? Maybe Justice League Dark?

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5 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

Seems kinda mean to me to wish for the livelihood of many people to go to toilet.

 

Also, some of us rather like scale, spectacle and action in our movies and for that you do need studio money and resources. You can't do that on indie resources a-la "New American Wave" filmmaking of the early 1970s.

 

I have no issue with big-budgeted extraveganzas. Its just the trend towards jovial, wink-at-the-audience tone that I disapprove of.

 

But don't you think they make too many expensive spectacle event movies? It seems they release so many of them per year, they're cannibalising each other's revenue, and the ones that are declared a success only just barely turned in a profit. How is that sustainable in the long term?

 

And these sorts of flicks all seem to have the same plot, only they're dressed up differently. Don't you reckon they're getting monotonous?

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As others have alluded to, nothing "has happened" to Howard Shore. He takes on projects he finds interesting. Which I can only applaud. A few fine Shore scores for smaller projects in the post-LOTR period, like MAPS TO THE STARS, ROSEWATER or THE SONG OF NAMES. I don't understand why this place is so obsessed with mainstream Hollywood blockbusters all the time.

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39 minutes ago, Thor said:

As others have alluded to, nothing "has happened" to Howard Shore. He takes on projects he finds interesting. Which I can only applaud. A few fine Shore scores for smaller projects in the post-LOTR period, like MAPS TO THE STARS, ROSEWATER or THE SONG OF NAMES. I don't understand why this place is so obsessed with mainstream Hollywood blockbusters all the time.

 Because in the past they have given us some of the greatest scores of all time. Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Elfman’s Batman, Jaws, Star Trek The Motion Picture. Those are the scores that resonate. They are a listening experience in and of themselves. 
 

I mean come on. Do I want 30-45 minutes of minimalist orchestration or do I want a full on sweeping score full of memorable motifs & the odd March?(whatever happened to “the march” why did that go out of style?).

 

No one is saying Shore turned into a hack. Merely that it is surprising he hasn’t landed more larger gigs considering some of the projects he’s chosen(Twilight). 

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45 minutes ago, Thor said:

I don't understand why this place is so obsessed with mainstream Hollywood blockbusters all the time.


That’s what people like.

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