Economics, Marketing

Scorekeepers: The Music Makes the Movie

Some movies are good; some movies are great. An oft overlooked aspect of this visual medium are the score and the songs that helped these films to soar by making you feel something real again in that emotionally-detached, blood-pumping, chest organ you call a heart.  Kiddos and Kiddettes, the MUSIC makes the movie.


Future Wikipedia Entry Circa 2113: “Bieber earned a fair number of accolades in his early teens. Despite this, the Anti-Bieberism movement spread with a vengeance prompting a Vanilla Ice haircut, multiple car crashes and the Selena Gomez herpes scandal of mid-2014.”

So I guess I should probably separate this into two categories, songs in movies that “add to the feel,” or perfectly encapsulate the onscreen visuals, and 2, a well done score that is instantly recognizable years later. (Forrest Gump, Shawshank, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, etc.)

At Movienomics we do like to tie things back to a little friend of ours.  You may have heard of him.  Reader, meet MONEY.  Big fat wads of sweaty greenbacks.


A little know industry fact. Composers and strippers bank deposits look surprisingly similar. SWEATY. In this photo we see Thomas Wanker’s (real name) full cut from scoring White House Down. You’ll get the next one Tommy. Don’t…sweat it. 🙂

YOU:  Hey Rivers, how much does a GOOD composer make?

Me:  Thanks for asking Tiffy Pants. (In my head you’re an 80’s Spandex wearing workout girl.)  Well, the big guys like John Williams and Danny Elfman pull in 1-1.5 million plus base pay plus a percentage of the films performance.  This kind of cheddar recognizes that setting the proper ambiance is key to eliciting the proper reaction in the audience.  Think about it like this…

BOOM! Flashback, you’re a 19 year old college student who was saving himself for marriage but broke down and decided to have sex with his girlfriend in her all girls dorm after Spanish class while her roommates gone.  You light a few candles, you gently kiss her ear, and you put on the sensual sweet playlist you burned to the new mix cd you’re planning on gifting her after the deed…

Boyz II Men’s “I’ll Make Love to You,” All 4 One’s “I Swear” and….RAFFI’S “BANANA PHONE.”  Your joke playing roommate will pay for the ruining your beautifully planned moment, BUT NOT UNTIL AFTER QUELLING 3 HOURS OF UNCONTROLLABLE SOBBING.


I never said it was the girlfriend that did the crying…

Major Pertinent Questions:

1.  Have you seen Requiem for a Dream?  If no, then stave off those heroin cravings until you’ve had a chance to see this flick about the CONSEQUENCES.  If yes then riddle me this.  Would the movie be 1/2 as good if the music wasn’t so damn epic?

Answer:  NO.  I mean listen to this goddamn thing!  I feel like running with the bulls! Zoo York- Fast Forward to 2:00

2.  That Thing You Do?  Is that really a question?  Yes it is.  The whole movie is centered around 1 song, and that song is so flippin sweet that after 90 minutes of Playtone awesomeness I’m still not tired of it.  If the song wouldn’t have been a catchy smash written by Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne fame (before Stacy’s Mom mind you) then the film would have just been one more ultra turd.


Avatar: The Last Airbender – Another certifiable Ultra-Turd. Google “ultra turd” I’m not even joking and see what pops up. 1st page of search about 2/3 the way down.

3.  I’m beating a dead horse.  You get it, The music makes the movie.


Beating a dead horse OR…John Williams conducting an out of frame orchestra for his Oscar nominated Warhorse. Tiffy Pants, I’ll let you decide.

Listen to these clips for final validation of my IRREFUTABLE point.

I Wish That I Could Tell You Andy Fought the Good Fight – Shawshank

Mmmm Mmm, Your Momma Sho Must Care About Yo Schoolin Son! – Forrest Gump

This IS the Clip You’re Looking For – Star Wars

You LOVE me, Always Will – Braveheart

I’ve Never Been Big on Liv Tyler – That Thing You Do


Steven Tyler disagrees. I immediately apologize! Steven. Tyler. HUNGRY.

I could use some help because I have a theory.  I think that there are cases where even BAD movies (story/visuals) are made GOOD through the use of GREAT music.  I can’t think of any off the top off my head.  HOWEVER I’m sure you can.  Help validate my theory.  Comment with your suggestions and I’ll write a PERSONALIZED classic 3-line Haiku for you expressing my man-feelings.  Win-Win.

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