They’ve all composed soundtracks. Yes, Phil and Bryan did dip into the soundtrack scene at one point of their musical careers. (Sidenote: how’d you like the title? I could work on my click-bait writing skills a little more)
Do you know what makes a good movie great? The actors. Yes, first and foremost, great acting equals a great movie (assuming the screenplay is well written, directed well, and so on and so on).
I watched The Founder this weekend and found myself admiring the movie more so because of the soundtrack. Carter Burwell’s score fit perfectly with Ray Kroc’s persistence and determination. Michael Keaton played the bold, greedy, and heartless Ray Kroc wonderfully, but I really found that the music catapulted the film to the next level.
The soundtrack embodied the feeling of grand entrepreneurial horizons of riches, success, and promise. It also does help when you have Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” thrown in.
It won’t be heralded as one of the greatest soundtracks, but it stood out, and that’s telling of one doing its crucial job: to immerse the viewer in the story.
Believe it or not, soundtracks came before spoken dialogue in films (spoken dialogue only was introduced in the ’30s). During the silent-film era (1894-1929), live orchestras or pianists played in-house to fill the silence, give the audience a sense of reality (or a way to connect with what they saw on the screen), and of course cover up the noisy projector.
Here’s a fun fact that may help you in your yearly Trivial Pursuit gathering: Joseph Carl Breil’s three-hour score for The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first original score produced for a film.
When I think of composers, I think of the famous ones: John Williams (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, etc.), Hans Zimmer (The Last Samurai, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Pacific, etc.), and Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, etc.).
But what is Winnipeg’s connection to composing soundtracks? My digging online has found that Mychael Danna, a Winnipeg-born composer and Oscar winner, has had a hand in some big films. He won Best Original Score for Life of Pi but has also produced original scores for Moneyball, Capote, and Little Miss Sunshine. Not a bad haul.
Nowadays, you can find all your favourite soundtracks on digital music services. So the next time you find yourself humming along in the theatre to a compelling soundtrack, remember, you have access to it instantly on the car ride home.
I don’t have time to get into video-game soundtracks, but it is a subgenre that continues to massively grow in today’s day and age.
Two favourite movie soundtracks of mine that come to mind are Phil Collins’s Tarzan and Bryan Adams/Han Zimmer’s Spirit. For video-game soundtracks, I’d say The Last of Us and the Uncharted series. What are some of yours?