The Good, the Bad, and the Brilliant
I think that to most people the idea of film score composers boils down to this: IMDB’s daily poll question was simply “John Williams or Danny Elfman?” They’re both great and deserve a lot of credit for what they’ve done; Williams most especially for Star Wars and Superman, Elfman for Beetlejuice and Batman. But I found it sort of funny that I came across this today when I already had film scores on my mind, because I was thinking about the guy who I think is the all-time best, and it isn’t either of those two. You don’t have to be the most rabid film buff to know who Ennio Morricone is but he’s also not exactly a household name. One of my room-mates (Jay) and his girlfriend (Emily) were watching Kill Bill Vol. 2 last night and despite needing to get to sleep after finishing my homework, I couldn’t help but stop to watch about twenty minutes or so. My other roomie (Mike) was likewise compelled. The thing that comes up every time we watch either volume, no matter how many times we see them, is the sheer brilliance of the sound track. No other film has used it’s soundtrack so well in a very long time. Probably not since Morricone’s best work in the 1960’s on the so-called “Spaghetti Westerns,” A Fist Full of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. The score to that last one was so memorable that every nerd I know in my age group thinks of that music as the definitive sound of an Old West showdown, even though more than half of them don’t know where it came from. No one captures tension and intensity in music like Morricone. Nor is any other composer’s individual sound so truly unique and special. He’s the best there is, period.