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Movie Soundtracks of the Month: James Newton Howard

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.

Born June 9, 1951 James Newton Howard has made a hell of a name for himself in the wonderful world of film composing. He's scored a large variety of films, has been nominated for several awards, and is perhaps best known for his frequent collaborations with M. Night Shyamalan. Here are a select few from his impressive resume.

1. UNBREAKABLE

Howard made for damn sure that a few scenes in this film had the right amount of powerful. You know, the typical comic book film story beats. The discovering of the powers, the first night out at work, and that ending you knew was coming but still kicked you in the gut anyway. That end theme left me wanting more of this movie like you wouldn’t believe, over the years that urge has disappeared. Don’t f*ck with it. In a sea of M. Night collaborations, this is hands down the best, arguably the man’s best work period. Purchase the soundtrack here

2. THE FUGITIVE

Even before I appreciated scores as much as I do, there was always something about the theme to the Fugitive that just jumped out at me. I remember one bit in the main theme that I always dug but for the life of me couldn’t remember due to not seeing the film in years, a recent viewing in a Screenwriting class fixed that. A great 90’s thriller this film was, and Howard was brought on board to make it feel as such. Needless to say the man didn’t disappoint. Purchase the soundtrack here

3. THE SIXTH SENSE

Boy am I glad this movie didn’t come out a decade later than it did, when I was going to be able to know what M. Night was playing at the whole damn time. That said, this film had me from the opening credits. Why you ask? James Newton Howard knows. The man created such an eerie atmosphere here, which still stands as one of the best of its kind to ever make love to my ears. If that wasn’t enough, the emotion filled finale was a whole other monster. Bravo James. Purchase the soundtrack here

4. DINOSAUR

First let me get out of the way that I think this film deserves a re-watch from me, because I’ve only seen it once a long while ago and didn’t think much of it. There were a few scenes in Dinosaur that stuck out, The Egg Travels scene was a fantastic opening, and the ‘sh*ts-about-to-get-real’ music during the asteroids impending impact on earth blew the mind. I think after this column is submitted I’ll swing by the store and rent the DVD for said re-watch. Purchase the soundtrack here

5. BLOOD DIAMOND

Blood Diamond sort of came out of left field for me, had little interest in it when I first heard about, god bless boredom. Blood Diamond has a wonderful story, great cast, beautiful locations and yes, another amazing piece of work from Howard. Probably the best piece of music we’ve gotten from Howard outside of his work on Shyamalan’s flicks. I’ll close by saying this, James Newton Howard is a talented man in a way that he’s made the downward spiral in the quality of Shyamalan’s films tolerable. I think that perfectly sums up the mans ability. Purchase the soundtrack here

HONORABLE MENTION: LADY IN THE WATER

Extra Tidbit: HONORABLE MENTION #2: Howard also collaborated brilliantly with Hans Zimmer on Batman Begins & The Dark Knight. Any other honorable mentions from your end schmoes?
Source: JoBlo
Tags: soundtracks

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