We at ReelGood are above all, lovers of cinema. And maybe awesome people second. We’ve been releasing these articles called ‘Overrated’ recently, and would like to balance out the hate with a bit of love. Here’s UNDERRATED, the Special Composers Edition, and we’re more than happy to suggest some scores you should go and check out right now.
John Ottman’s The Usual Suspects Score
John Ottman is a bit of a rarity in the film industry in the sense that he’s known for his work as both a composer and an editor. It’s fair to say that while Ottman’s work is generally adequate in both fields, it also isn’t particularly outstanding. A notable exception is his fantastic score to Bryan Singer’s The Usual Suspects (1995). A regular collaborator of Singer’s (he’s working as editor and composer on Singer’s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past), Ottman’s music work has never rivalled his The Usual Suspects score, which was his second ever feature as composer. The score is a nice example of how music can elevate a decent film into a something much more.
Don Davis’ The Matrix Score
I wonder what Don Davis is up to nowadays. After his tremendous work on The Matrix (and much poorer work on the lacklustre sequels), Davis was offered the job as composer on Jurassic Park 3. I’m not 100% certain about this, but I’m pretty sure Davis is the only man in cinema history to completely butcher a classic (previously thought unbutcherable) John Williams theme. Anyway, this is meant to be a positive column, and Davis’ work on The Matrix is not only fantastic, but unique and innovative. So integral is Davis’ music to the original film that when The Matrix Reloaded begins and those trumpets blare, I get pretty pumped – until the opening credits finish and the film begins. The Matrix trumpets have some sort of Pavlov’s Dog effect on me, in the sense that I’ll always feel something awesome is about to happen when I hear them. I have a similar rection to the 20th Century Fox fanfare, and always expect the Star Wars theme to follow, no matter what film I’m watching.
Carter Burwell’s Pretty much everything he’s written
I could probably write an entire Underrated article dedicated to Carter Burwell‘s amazing body of work – and still might. Proof again that the Academy Awards are completely out of touch with reality, Burwell has never received an Oscar nomination. Until recently, Burwell was more known for works on smaller productions, having written the score for nearly every Coen Bros. film (his first score was for the Coen Bros.’ Blood Simple). Burwell is one of the most versatile composers working in the the film industry today and has always shown a keen sense for what is scene appropriate. He is working on the upcoming Thor sequel, his biggest film to date – a Burwell/lightening hammer combination sounds pretty awesome to me.
Jed Kurzel’s Snowtown Score
Underrated might not be the right word for Kurzel, considering his only feature film credits to date are Snowtown (known in the US as The Snowtown Murders) as well as the upcoming The Babadook. It’s hard to be underrated before you have an opportunity to be rated in the first place. But Kurzel’s work on Snowtown (directed by his brother Justin) is so outstanding it merits inclusion in this column. The Snowtown score is one of the finest scores written for an Australian film, ever.
Alan Menkin’s skills at life
Considering Menkin has won something like eight Academy Awards, you might be forgiven for questioning his eligibility for this column. But then maybe ask yourself if you even know who Alan Menkin is. Remember that amazing era from the late 80s to mid 90s when every Disney film was pure gold? Menkin wrote the music for nearly every single one of them (a significant exception being The Lion King). Part of Your World? Menkin. A Whole New World? Menkin. Fucking Beauty and the Beast? Menkin. The next time you think you’re good at something, just remember Alan Menkin is better.