Friday, August 30, 2013


I want to start a new feature on this blog that is akin to the You Tube Film Music Cue of the Day, in that it deals, once again, with one of the great passions of my life:  FILM MUSIC.

I have a huge document called My Top Scores List in which I have picked the Top 5 Film Scores for each year since 1980 along with some commentary on my choices.
You can imagine that by now the list is fairly long and contains a lot of info that I think is blog-worthy so I'm going to start publishing excerpts from the list right here on my blog.

without further ado
Here is Film Music Musings

So now that the best of the 90s have been posted, its time to highlight the best individual year of the 90s:  1993.

The Best Year of the Decade - 1993

1993 was indeed a great year for film music. No question about it. 1993 was the year that saw a great score with each new movie regardless of how bad the movie was. But the music was definitely there to stand out ahead of the movie. And in some cases, the music has outlived the movie itself.
In this year, James Horner scored no less than 10 movies ranging from live action to animation with the films:
Once Upon A Forest, The Pelican Brief, House of Cards, Jack the Bear, Searching for Bobby Fischer, My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys, Bopha, We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story, and A Far Off Place.
Jerry Godsmith, fresh off an Oscar nomination for Basic Instinct the previous year, was plenty busy himself scoring films like: Dennis the Menace, 6 Degrees of Separation, The Vanishing, Malice, and Rudy (unfortunately snubbed by the Academy).
And John Williams played with the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park and scored the ironic true tale of Schindler's List (the Oscar winner and some say the the best score of the decade).
It also saw the emergence and return of a few Hollywood standouts.
James Newton Howard scored as many films as Goldsmith, scoring the hit films Falling Down, Dave, and Alive, a small but somewhat memorable drama in The Saint of Fort Washington and of course, the megahit, The Fugitive, garnering his first Oscar nomination.
Then there's the legendary Elmer Bernstein, who was practically type-cast in the late 80s and early 90s scoring comedies such as Oscar but he was approached by Martin Scorsese to adapt the music of Bernard Herrmann for the remake of Cape Fear and then tapped to provide the score for Scorsese's critically acclaimed Age of Innocence during this year, which contained some of his most memorable music in the 90s and an Oscar nomination.
After making a splash with his 1989 score to Henry V, along with 1991's Dead Again, Patrick Doyle came to the forefront with some great music of his own with Kenneth Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, Brian DePalma's gangster opus Carlito's Way and the truly creepy music for Needful Things, which proved that he could not only write memorable melodic themes, but great climatic action music as well.
For the star-studded Tombstone, director George Cosmatos was in desperate need of a composer who had or came close to the chops of a Jerry Goldsmith, after he had to bow out due to scheduling conflicts. After a high recomendation by Goldsmith, the scoring duties went to the much underrated Bruce Broughton. And with the power of the Sinfonia of London on the forefront, Broughton went onto provide the film with the score it needed and even more than that.
Dave Grusin provided another quality score for the overblown and really overlong Tom Cruise thriller, The Firm. A strange one because it was all performed on a single piano and another strange occurance, it garnered an Oscar nomination.
1993 also produced little scores that hardly anyone talks about like:
Trevor Jones' wonderful and rousing score for Cliffhanger
Elliot Goldenthal's Demolition Man which would later evolve into his Batman scores
Marc Shaiman's wonderful integration of Hugo Friedhofer's score from An Affair to Remember for the Tom Hanks-Meg Rayn romance Sleepless in Seattle
Michael Kamen's swashbuckling follow-up to Robin Hood with Disney's The Three Muskateers which proved to be a hit without being overly violent
Zbigniew Preisner's score to The Secret Garden flying in the face of the musical version
Graeme Revell had an interesting year scoring two controversial films in Boxing Helena and Body of Evidence producing mock Goldsmith textures to both films.
And then there are other scores like Alan Silvestri's Judgement Night, Ennio Morricone's In the Line of Fire, Basil Poledouris' Hot Shots! Part Deux, David Newman's The Sandlot, Howard Shore's M. Butterfly, and Thomas Newman's Scent of a Woman.
Other composers had landmark years such as Randy Edelman, who wrote two really memorable scores to the Turner produced Gettysberg and the now-trailer music staple, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
Danny Elfman also composed two scores: Sommersby and The Nightmare Before X-Mas, the former a wonderful break of style with beautiful, sweeping melodies, and the second a definitive Elfman score.
I should also mention the Oscar-nominated score for The Piano by Michael Nyman, a case of the Academy being fooled by a musical subject and feeling obligated to give it a nomination (much like The Red Violin).
Truly an amazing year for film music. The best of the decade.

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