Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Marco Beltrami

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to musical composer Marco Beltrami, who's work will next be seen in this weekend's "The Sessions" (opening in limited release). This will be the third film released this year featuring Beltrami's music, accompanying "Trouble With the Curve" and "The Woman in Black". His full slate next year includes films such as "The Wolverine", "World War Z", "Mad Max: Fury Road", "Carrie", and "A Good Day to Die Hard". Odds are if you like movies, you'll probably be checking most of those out.


Beltrami, who attended Brown University for his undergraduate degree and then Yale School of Music for his graduate degree, studied with famed composer Jerry Goldsmith early on (Goldsmith has been nominated for 18 Academy Awards and won in 1977 for "The Omen; he's worked on such films as "L.A. Confidential" (97), "Poltergeist" (82), "Patton (70), and "Planet of the Apes" (68)), who was an early inspiration for Beltrami to eventually transition into film composition. After only a few years working in the business, he landed a job on Wes Craven's slasher hit, "Scream", which gave him notoriety in the film & music world, especially in horror/thriller faction. He's worked on more than 75 feature films since 1994, and continues to rack up notable titles still today, maybe currently at the strongest he's ever been in his career.

He has been nominated for two Academy Awards - "3:10 to Yuma" in 2007 and "The Hurt Locker" in 2008 - and was nominated by the Film Music Critics Association (FMCA) for Composer of the Year in 2004 (works that year included "Hellboy", "Flight of the Phoenix", and "I, Robot").

Hit the jump for some of our favorite titles, all of which contain the musical scores from Marco Beltrami.

Alex Schopp -
I was actually able to base this list much more on Beltrami's scores than I expected. The list is still weighed heavily by watchability, but strong consideration was placed on films with memorable and powerful scores.

     1. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

Great score and also a great movie.
     2. The Hurt Locker (2008)
This might deserve top billing, but I still hold a petty hefty grudge against the film for beating out "Avatar" for Best Picture. Unless you're consciously composing a list that it's a part of, which film do we still remember more today, "The Hurt Locker" or "Avatar"? That film was an experience.
     3. Flight of the Phoenix (2004)
Yes, there are aspects that you wish were better with this one, but there are a lot of components that are actually quite good. The acting is solid by all parties, and the cinematography and musical score are both much better than they should be. I really remember being impressed with the music in the film.
     4. Hellboy (2004)
Solid flick. Really solid score.
     5. Repo Men (2010)
Again, there are aspects of this film that are very standard, but the score really was a memorable aspect. I enjoyed this area. Plus there's plenty of neat futuristic imagery.

Ben Foutch -

     1. Hellboy (2004)

     2. Blade II (2002)

     3. Scream (1996)

     4. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

     5. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)



Derek Clem -
My #1 slot focuses solely on the master score at work in the film. The rest however are ranked on watchability.

     1. The Hurt Locker (2008)

     2. Blade
II (2002)

     3. Hellboy (2004)

     4. Resident Evil (2002)

     5. Soul Surfer (2011)



Nathan Hinds -
My top selection is the only film that I really remember the music from.

     1. The Hurt Locker (2008)

     2. 3:10 To Yuma (2007)

     3. Blade
II (2002)

     4. I, Robot (2004)

     5. Joy Ride (2001)



Andy Schopp -

     1. Blade
II (2002)

     2. Hellboy (2004)

     3. Joy Ride (2001)

     4. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

     5. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)



So there we have it, folks. Kind of a different spin on these normal lists, but something fun to think about and focus on for a change. The lists were very eclectic since no one was sure whether to focus more on Beltrami's actual score in the film or the overall watchability of the films in which he composed a score for. Ultimately, many found some sort of middle ground with the dilemma, but it still left for quite the array of titles. Still though, three different films actually appeared on four different list - "Blade II", "Hellboy", and "3:10 to Yuma". All solid titles with memorable scores. No surprise that some of the films with the best combinations of watchability and musical composition were the ones most represented.

Outside of those three titles though, only two other films managed multiple selections: "The Hurt Locker" (the only film with more than one #1 selection) with three and "Joy Ride" with two. Again, two notable titles, with "The Hurt Locker" earning Beltrami his second ever Academy Award nomination. All of these titles present you with something a bit different and if nothing else, it might be fun to go back and re-watch some of these films, focusing more so on the score than you might have in the past.

So, kind of a different take this week, but we still hope that each of these selections helps you to expand your knowledge of some films featuring the music from composer Marco Beltrami, and leads to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!