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Soundtracks, Soundtracks, Soundtracks: Thomas Newman (Skyfall, Wall-E, etc..)

Nov. 9, 2012by: Paul Huffman
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There are many things that make a movie what it is. It all starts with a story (according to what every How-To book on screenwriting tells us), there is the director and his crew, there are the actors, who bust their asses to bring a vision to life. Then comes the wonderful world of post-production. What is one result of that? The music. Soundtracks enhance the movie going experience. They can make us cry, they can pump us up, they can make us remember the 80's. Whether it be a musical band or a composer, soundtracks help our favorite movies stay etched in our mind forever.

Thomas Newman, born October 20, 1955 comes from film composing royalty. Son to composer Alfred Newman, and cousin to singer and Pixar's main man Randy Newman, Thomas has made a standout career all his own. He has been nominated for numerous awards and walked away with victories for his work on such films as American Beauty, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo. Like other well known composers, Newman has made a habit of frequently collaborating with well known directors, namely Frank Darabont, Steven Soderbergh, and Sam Mendes (who has tackled the latest Bond film in which Newman jumped on board for). I feel the best from Thomas Newman is yet to come, but for now let's pay tribute to the mans existing impressive resume.

1. SKYFALL

Ive yet to see the latest Bond effort, but as I listen to the soundtrack that Thomas Newman provided for us he definitely nailed the Bond vibe with his work. Some adrenaline pumped action filled pieces, and some somber mood setting stuff. As previously stated, Newman has been a frequent collaborator with Sam Mendes over the years, and he doesnt let him down here. Hints of the past are sprinkled everywhere, with the feel of the times of front and center. Newman does Bond justice; listen to the snippets below. NOTE: Recently heard Adeles Bond song get some love on the radiobig step up from Another Way to Die. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. WALL-E

This classic Pixar film wasnt exactly dialogue heavy; Thomas Newmans score did a brilliant job in capturing the emotion these precious little robots were going through. From First Date to All That Loves About to Define Dancing, this music tells a better love story than most. A lot of these tracks are short but sweet, I craved more, but if you can capture the magic of this story in less than two minutes for the majority of the soundtrack then youre a winner in my book. Thomas Newman also tackled the soundtrack for Finding Nemo, the similar technique is easy to catch, and easy to love. Id welcome Newman on any Pixar film. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. THE GREEN MILE

This movie, the performances, the music packed such an emotional punch that has stayed with me since the first time I watched it. Reuniting with Frank Darabont for the first time since his work on Shawshank Redemption, Newman amped up his work by capturing the tragedy of the proceedings. The closing minutes starting from the Im Tired Boss speech all the way to the closing credits rocked my world, and quite frankly reduced me to man tears. What I found interesting is the very last piece of music in the closing minutes didnt quite go for the emotional note I thought it would, when confronting the audience with the idea that Pauls life would go on for even longerit was unsettling. It was a scary thought. It was a great note to go out on. Bravo Newman. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. AMERICAN BEAUTY

Newman took an interesting road with American Beauty. This was not a conventional sound, and it deserved every award nomination and win that it acquired. I think it can be said that Newmans score seduced you just as much as Mena Suvari and those damn rose petals did. The main theme American Beauty is an obvious standout, and then we have tracks like Dead Already and the closing theme Still Dead that really hit the at peace state of mind Lester was at by the time all was said and done. This film was a perfect example of the music in the film being more methodical than most, it received just as much attention and means just as much as any aspect of the film. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. THE GOOD GERMAN

I love films that are a throwback to the Golden Age in cinema; The Good German is a throwback to the film noire days of the 40s. Newman, the man of the hour did his research for this bad boy. The soundtrack captured the feel of the age beautifully; some reviews Ive read say this could have borderlined on parody, but avoiding that just spoke to Newmans talent. Great uses of numerous instruments were at work here, the harp with the track Mullers Billet, and the violin with The Good German. If youre as big a sucker for nostalgia as I am, and are as big a fan of musical scores of old as I am, you owe it to yourself to dedicate an hour to appreciate this soundtrack. Purchase the soundtrack here

6. THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION

Brooks Was Here was the track in this soundtrack that sucker punched me emotionally; this was one of Newmans powerful early scores, he really seemed to have an understanding for where these characters were in their lives mentally. Suds On The Roof was another track that amazed me, this whole film was an emotional journeyand this is where Thomas Newman made his name as one of the greats at enhancing that. NOTE: Although not the work of Newman, the brilliant use of The Marriage of Figaro by Karl Bohm deserves its own praise. Such an unforgettable sequence. Purchase the soundtrack here

BONUS TRACK: SIX FEET UNDER THEME

Extra Tidbit: Any other Thomas Newman tracks you lot are fond of?
Source: JoBlo
Tags: soundtracks

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9:40PM on 11/09/2012

Road to Perdition!

How can you not mention Road to Perdition? It's my personal favorite Thomas Newman score, and it works beautifully in the movie. I also think his theme for Finding Nemo might be my favorite theme in any Pixar movie.
How can you not mention Road to Perdition? It's my personal favorite Thomas Newman score, and it works beautifully in the movie. I also think his theme for Finding Nemo might be my favorite theme in any Pixar movie.
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5:06AM on 11/09/2012

Jarhead

The Jarhead soundtrack is really great. It's bouncy, interesting and great to work to :-)
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The Jarhead soundtrack is really great. It's bouncy, interesting and great to work to :-)
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