Sunday, April 8, 2012

Settling the Score, Part 1

There comes a time in every man's life when he has to bite the bullet and create a Top 10 list about something. I am not every man.

Whenever I mention that I have an entertainment blog where I chat about TV shows, videogames, and movies, I get a lot of people telling me, "Oh, then you should totally do an article about your Top 10 Favourite TV shows, videogames, and movies of all time!" Which normally might sound like a fun idea, but seeing as how I'm not some kind of Internet celebrity or anything, the majority of people who end up reading these posts already know me well enough to be 100% certain of what my #1 favourite TV show, videogame, and movie will be. For those of you who don't know the answer to those questions, I'll clear that up now: A) LOST, B) Assassin's Creed II, and C) A tie between Back to the Future and Star Wars. There. All done!

Still, I was intrigued by the idea of making a Top Something list, and after some moments of humming and hawing I finally came up with something that I think everyone can enjoy. Not only have I never seen this particular list done before, but it's also something that people who know me very well probably would never be able to guess.

So, submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, please find enclosed my first Top Something list on TQM: my Top 16 Favourite Movie Theme Songs.

I believe a movie is only as good as its music. Imagine some of your favourite films without a score as accompaniment: be pretty boring, wouldn't they? So as a tribute to this fading art, I humbly present to you the first part of the list, with the latter half coming next week. Provided are YouTube links as well, so you can listen to your hearts' content. Now let's not waste any more time faffing about.


Composed by: Brad Fiedel

This sad, unsettling little ditty is usually stuck in anyone's head for a few days after they watch a Terminator movie, and with good reason. The simple techno-beat gives it that unnatural, synthetic feeling that one gets when they look upon the Terminators (or Schwarzenegger himself, for that matter). It's the same theme from the first movie, just kicked up another notch with some more epic instrumentation and frightening glimpses of humanity's forthcoming annihilation. Also, I dare you to listen to this without sticking your thumb up into the air and slowly lowering it.


Composed by: Christopher Tyng

Generally, when a beloved TV show gets made into a movie (even if it's just a direct-to-DVD movie like this one) its a cause for celebration for the fans. And this song does nothing if not celebrate the show's glorious return. Taking the classic theme and extending it with a few rump-shaking, foot-tapping new chords, Tyng expresses the happiness of both the fans and the characters themselves. The show everyone liked has just been renewed, it's returning bigger and better than ever with an HD movie, all is right with the Futurama world. This was the perfect way to kick off this movie.


Composed by: Hans Zimmer

Get used to seeing Hans Zimmer's name on this countdown: that guy can make doing taxes sound epic. While the scores for Chris Nolan's bat-flicks are somewhat simpler than those in the movies that came before, they still maintain that quality standard of awesomeness that Bat-fans have come to expect. Listening to this piece, it's easy to imagine Batman grappling across rooftops under a full Gotham moon, beating the shit out of Joker goons. The strings alone are enough to give you goosebumps. Hell, they pretty much copy-pasted this music for the Arkham Asylum videogames.


Composed by: John Williams

This actually would have been a bit lower on the list, but it's just so gosh-darned fun I had to put it above The Dark Knight. There isn't really anything I could say to do this song credit, so let me just put it this way: play this song at a party one day when a small group of friends are around. About eight seconds into it, count how many of your friends have starting cracking invisible whips or somersaulting across your living room floor whilst pretending to evade a giant boulder that only they can see. You know when you're on a plane and the little screens in the seats show you how far the plane is progressing across its flight path? Yeah, they TOTALLY need to have this playing when that happens.


Composed by: John Williams

Star Wars is just one of those movies that is literally defined by its music. George Lucas himself has said on numerous occasions that it's essentially a dialogue-free film with score serving as the main storytelling device. With a talented composer like John Williams at his beck and call, Lucas has every right to make that claim. You need only hear the first few notes of any piece of Star Wars music and its immediately identifiable, even to non-fans. The Force is strong with William's conductor baton, you've got to give him that.


Composed by: Charlie Clouser

This may seem like a weird choice at first, but I really dig this song. It caps off the end of pretty much every Saw movie, and it fits every time. It's just the right kind of music to accompany the big reveal of Jigsaw's latest crazy game. Every time those strings rise to that creep-as-hell crescendo, you sit there thinking, "Oh, shit, the whole time that was happening?!" It's a also a nice little callback to a time when all horror movies had iconic themes: Halloween, Friday the 13th, etc. This is a great little piece of music, and such a kick-ass way to end these movies.


Composed by: Danny Elfman

All I can say here is: what a great way to musically introduce the movie-going world to the Caped Crusader. I remember every kid on the playground raising their fists with glee and leaping around humming this tune, thanks to the fact that it was adopted as the main theme of the Batman Animated Series later on. When someone says the word "Batman" to me, I don't think of a guy in black armor with a cape: I think of this ear-tickling sucker. If every movie opened with a piece of music as bitchin' as this, the terrorists would have less reasons to hate us.


Composed by: Bill Conti

Fuck "We Are the Champions": if you want to make a lazy person less lazy, crank this piece of music on the speakers and watch the magic. This could make a 300-pound, Cheeto-scarfing shut-in leap off the couch, pull on a track suit, and go running down the street, fists swinging and knees buckling. It's the quintessential victory dance. You could literally walk down the aisle to this at your wedding day if you wanted to, and nobody would bat an eyelash. Not only does it get you pumped, but its inspirational enough that it might even bring a small tear of joy to your eyes. And when music reaches that level of excellence, you know you've got something worthy of the championship title.

That's all for now. Next week: the conclusion.


  1. Nice post!!
    Something tells me that there will be either an Alan Menken or Michael Giacchino score in the conclusion:)

  2. This was a really awesome set to start off with. I really hope you have some back to the future in the next list.