My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs

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As a guy who watches a good amount of movies I tend to often listen in on the soundtrack. And not necessarily on when you hear a licensed track and go “Oh shit, I know that song!”. I mainly talk about the original score for the movie. You know, the music a composer has spent countless hours writing and conducting. So today I am here to give you my list of favorite theme songs from different movies! Time to lay out the rules!

Rule #1: Same as always, this is my list. If you disagree with something then you can’t complain about it. Maybe you can write a comment on what song you would have included on the list.

Rule #2: Even though some songs are really recognizable as the movie theme song (Example: “Born to be Wild” in the movie “Easy Rider”) I will only include songs that someone has composed.

Rule #3: The song has to truly be recognized as the main theme to make this list. So even though I absolutely love the song “Time” from “Inception” it will not make the cut as it isn’t called or known as the main theme of the movie.

Rule #4: Listen and enjoy!

Ladies and Gentlemen… My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs.

Number 15: River Kwai March – The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

First up on the list is the main theme from a movie I haven’t even seen yet… oops. But I am still putting it here on the list because of how catchy and memorable it is. Whenever I hear it I want to start marching to some place and have this play the entire way. (Sidenote: First time I heard this was when it was in one of my sheet music books a few years ago).

Number 14: Lux Aeterna – Requiem For a Dream (2000)

At number 14 we have this beautiful piece of music composed by Clint Mansell and also happens to be the theme song to the most depressing movie ever. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking adore the movie, it is just depressing. I am also not ashamed to say that it is the scariest movie I have ever seen. Seriously, after I was done seeing the movie I still had chills down my spine and I wanted to go hug something. And this was the perfect theme tune to accompany it. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go cuddle with my dog because of scary “Requiem” flashbacks.

Number 13: Claudia’s theme – Unforgiven (1992)

Next up on the list is the fantastic, beautiful and almost tear inducing theme tune from Clint Eastwood’s final western. Not only does this songs fit perfectly for the movie, but it also happens to be one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. Lennie Niehaus’ composition combined with memories of the fantastic movie it is part of always brings a smile to my face. I mean, that god damn guitar… fantastic, simply fantastic!

Number 12: Intro theme – Fight Club (1999)

You think you would be safe from me talking about “Fight Club”, huh? Well whoop-de-doo, you’re not! This song really catches you off guard the first time you hear when you decide to finally watch “Fight Club”. I know I was at least thrown off guard when I sat there, waiting for the movie to start and then *BOOM, BITCH* it kicks in and I knew I was going for one hell of a ride! Hell, this song just sums up what “Fight Club” is… a big, crazy ride!

Number 11: Main title – Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

At number 11 is the metallic, badass and kind of awesome theme tune from the metallic, badass and kind of awesome action/sci-fi movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”. And yes, I know the first “Terminator” movie has the same theme song, but “T2” has the better version (In my opinion). It starts with some heavy bangs, continues with some slow(ish) synth sound and finishes off with some more heavy bangs. But I have an even better description for the song, here we go… DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN!!!

Number 10: James Bond theme – Dr. No (1962)

I will admit, I have not actually seen “Dr. No”. But I can say that I have listened to this song more than a few times trhoughout my life. Why? Because it’s awesome! The brass, the guitar, the… EVERYTHING! It is a classic theme that will live through to the end of days and will get covers and remixes as long as people still exist on this planet. I also like it because it feels very… agent-y. I don’t know how to descrive any other way, it’s just good.

Number 9: Pacific Rim – Pacific Rim (2013)

One of the newer songs on the list. This song combines two things I absolutely love; Epic orchestras with a good amount of string instruments, and guitar. This song wa composed by Ramin Djawadi who you may know from things like “Prison Break” or “Game of Thrones”. And for this song he got help from none other than the Nightwatchman himself… Tom Morello who does the badass guitar stuff. You probably know him from the band “Rage Against the Machine”. Either that or you know him from playing “Guitar Hero 3”. Anyway, this songs is really badass, really epic and really awesome. I want it played at my wedding when I walk down the aisle… I know, I’m weird.

Number 8: Main title – Jaws (1975)

Duuuun DUN, Duuuun DUN… that is all I have to say to scare your butts out of the ocean. This theme is as iconic as a theme tune of a movie can get and it has been mimicked many a time. Also, if you love the movie like I do, this song makes you smile you son of a…!

Number 7: Raider’s March – Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Oh if nothing has gotten me any flak yet, this sure as hell will. Putting “Indiana Jones” as low as number 7. But hey, it’s at least still in the Top 10. This song always gets me pumped to go on an adventure and look for ancient treasures in an old temple in an old jungle! But really I would end up looking at rocks and sticks in the woods. But it would still be really fucking epic with this song playing! Also, it is a John Williams track… those are always great and you know it!

Number 6: Main theme – Speed (1994)

This seriously reminds me of how I forgot to put “Speed” in my “Top Action Movies” list. I feel so embarassed. Oh well, no use crying over spilled milk. This track, composed by Mark Mancina, is badass, epic and perfectly fits the high speed, high tension action movie it is used in. You also got to love that part early in the song when you have several consecutive hits. I don’t know how to explain it in text, but I hope someone out there knows which part I am talking about! Someone!

Number 5: Gonna Fly Now – Rocky (1976)

Hearing this song makes me want to work out which is weird because I am one lazy son of a bitch. It is also a little weird to have this here because… *sigh*… I have unfortunately not seen “Rocky” yet. I know, slap me all you want, I don’t fucking care. I just know this song is amazing. I even chose it as one of the songs I have as homework to play on my trombone. It is going pretty well so far. But this song composed by Bill Conti is the infamous song that plays during that one scene I know of where Rocky is just working out like crazy to become the greatest boxer ever or something. I should probably see the movie…

Number 4: Theme song – The Rock (1996)

Here we have a movie that I have actually seen (and even reviewed here on the blog *Shameless self-promotion*) and that I really enjoyed. This silly action movie from Michael Bay is one of those action movies that not only had great action scenes but also showed some good emotion, mainly thanks to the amazing score by Hans Zimmer, Harry Gregson-Williams and Nick Glenne-Smith. And this theme tune is what really drives the score home and shows what music can do for a movie. Having parts with some genuine emotion in them, then more action-y bits and some more emotion really helps sell this as a great song.

Number 3: Main theme – Star Wars (1977)

“WHAT THE FUCK, STAR WARS NOT NUMBER 1, I’LL KILL YOU YA LITTLE BITCH!” said the moron in the audience who didn’t read the rules. But come on, “Star Wars” in the Top 3 is still really good if you think about it. I love “Star Wars” as much as the next guy, I’m not lying about that. This theme is as recognizable as can be since it’s been used in 6 official movies, 1 animated movie, 2 animated shows and more video games than I have fingers. So it is really well known. It will probably be used in the upcoming “Star Wars” movies as well and it will never lose it’s popularity. It will also never leave our hearts as it is part of all our childhoods, adulthoods and elderly years.

Number 2: Theme song – Jurassic Park (1993)

While “Star Wars” is John Williams’ most iconic score, I personally prefer “Jurassic Park” over “Star Wars”. At least when it comes to the “main theme song” department. While the “Star Wars” theme was one of the first themes I ever heard that stuck to me, “Jurassic Park” somehow holds a deeper emotional resonance to me. I don’t know why, maybe it is my everlasting love of dinosaurs that brings me back to the movie and it’s main theme song. But I think we can all agree that this song is beautiful and captured our hearts just as fast as the amazing visual effects of the timeless classic simply known as “Jurassic Park”.

Before we go to number 1, here are some honorable mentions (Sidenote: Reason they are honorable mentions is because of me thinking about them AFTER I started the list.
Pink Panther theme (1963)
Axel F – Beverly Hills cop (1984)

Mortal Kombat theme (1995)
Speak softly Love – The Godfather (1972)
Hedwig’s theme – Harry Potter (2001 – 2011)

NUMBER 1: Il Buono, il Brutto e il Cattivo – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Fuckin’ A! This is my number 1 pick for “Favorite Movie Theme Songs”. The epic, the classic and the badass theme from the amazing western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”. This song is THE example that shows off the fact that Ennio Morricone is one if not THE best composer ever. Okay, to be fair there are composers up there at his level, if not better. But with this song and even the entire soundtrack to the movie he shows that he IS fantastic. The ocarina, the guitar, the percussion… I just love all of it! There is nothing about this song I dislike (Not that there was anything wrong with the previously mentioned tracks). I absolutely adore this song, let it live on FOREVER!!!

So those were My Top 15 Movie Theme Songs. What are some of your favorites? Leave an answer down below and let me know!

See ya!

 

Movie Discussion: Action movies

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How are you guys? Finally I am back with another movie discussion. Last time I did one I talked about the “logic” of giving Jamie Foxx a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in “Collateral” when clearly he was the main protagonist. But this time we are not really looking at one specific movie but rather a genre of movies. As you can read in the title this is going to be about action movies and what is going on with them. Now let’s quit stalling and get on with it! Time for a movie discussion… about action movies! (Sidenote: I will refer to action heroes as “he” for simplicity in writing).

Action movies as a whole is a genre I gladly watch simply for the expectation and deliverance of high octane entertainment. Seeing a hero (or heroes) solve a problem through any means necessary. But what I have noticed recently is a decline in what makes action movies as awesome as they are not only as simple popcorn entertainment but also as really good movies. Let’s start with one of the main factors of an action movie, the hero. In an action movie you want a hero that is cool, can handle tough situations but yet is vulnerable and relatable in a sense. In most action movie these past 15(ish) years the hero is an invulnerable jacked dude who dodges everything harmful perfectly yet delivers a major smackdown on thebad guys without a single problem. Sure, the scene might be entertaining but since he is so unstoppable it looses its appeal and we will not care for the guy. A few perfect examples of badass action heroes who can take care of trouble yet are vulnerable are John McClane from “Die Hard”, Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon” and more recently John Wick in… “John Wick”.

                    A relatable hero is a requirement for a more engaging action movie.
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Another thing to take into account in an action movie is… the action (duh!). For one it has to be intense to really get our blood pumping and show how badass it is. Of course I am not saying the action scenes should be shooty-bang-bang and explosions galore, but they need to have a lot of flair and intensity. We need to feel like the action is awesome and we need to know that it means business. I also feel like the action needs to be memorable. And by that I mean it have to sort of dig itself into out memories by being great. Some of the best examples of action scenes that you’ll remember after seeing them (for me at least) include any action scene from “The Matrix”, the badass action scenes from “The Rock”, the awesome highway action from “Speed” and of course every awesome battle in Ridley Scott’s classic action-epic “Gladiator”.

 Memorable action scenes, they are not always easy to make but damn, are they awesome!
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Next up that I wanted to discuss was something relating to the previous part and that is visibility of the action. What do I mean by that? Motherfucking shaky-cam. Whoever thought it would make every action scene better if they weren’t visible should get a slap in his face! Sure, sometimes it can be used in a way where it actually works in the movie. A good example of where the shaky-cam works are the “Bourne” trilogy, terrific action movies that still has shaky-cam. A few bad examples of shaky-cam however are movies such as “The Hunger Games”, “Alex Cross” and (unforunately) “The Bourne Legacy”. Shaky-cam… stop it!

Great cases of shaky-cam.
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     Fucking awful cases of shaky-cam.
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Now of course I feel like I need to lay down my two cents on something that a lot of people (including me) have complained about when it comes to modern action movies, editing to achieve a certain rating. And what do I mean with that? Well by that I of course mean that they edit the movie and film it to be PG-13. Now that shouldn’t be such a big deal. But when they do it simply to get the movie more accessible to people because Hollywood likes money it kind of pisses me off. Of course I kind of get it with some movies like “The Hunger Games” where they maybe wanted to keep the movie within the intended demographic brought in by the books and the fact that seeing kids murder each other is kind of terrible. But sometimes you wonder “Why the hell is this movie PG-13?”. That is the reaction I got with movies like “Life Free or Die Hard” when the previous movies were rated R and with even more recently than that, “World War Z”. The final one is a fucking action movie with zombies and in zombie stuff we want our blood and gore! Of course I am not saying an action movie needs tons of blood and gore to be great, but watering an obvious originally R-rated movie down to a PG-13? Fuck you Hollywood! Now of course there can also be action movies that are PG-13 as well. Some good examples are “Inception”, “Taken”, the “Dark Knight” trilogy and of couse “Bourne”. PG-13 isn’t that terrible unless it’s used to only make more money… then it is stupid.

The bad side of the coin we call PG-13.
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    But there is still a valuable side to this coin.
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Rememebr earlier when I said you’d need a vulnerable action hero? Well that isn’t the only thing that is needed when it comes to the actors. You also need an actor who can sell the role to us. They need to give off the feeling of “Yeah I am just a guy kind of like you, but I can do cool stuff too”. It would also be great if they maybe did some of their own stunts. Some prime examples of actors who can sell action roles perfectly who also do their own stunts (mostly) include Keanu Reeves, Harrison Ford and of course, Tom Cruise! These people have dedicated themselves to the action scenes they’ve done and done a lot of their stunts all by themselves. And when you have actors who can’t really do stunts yet they end up in an action movie, that’s one of the reasons we get the previously mentioned shaky-cam. The best example out of the ones I mentioned of actors doing their own stunts is Tom Cruise. The guy does everything by himself and never use a stunt guy (damn, dude). The best example of how awesome Cruise is like that is to look at his infamous scene from “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” where he climbs the Burj Khalifa. That is actually him climbing it, without a stunt guy. Also, in some pictures from the set he has been seen climbing the ourside of a plane because… he is a fucking awesome idiot I guess. I am not saying people should risk their fucking lives like that, but it would be fun to see them do the stunts a bit on their own and not just say “NOPE! Stunt guy, get over here!”.

 Doing their own stunts? Hell yeah!
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Where do I want to get with this? I love good action movies and it is sad to see a lot of not so great ones arrive these days. So I wanted to discuss action movies for that. Let me know what your thoughts on action movies in our modern age are. Also, what is your favorite action movie of all time?

To end this off I will share a link with you guys to a video by awesome youtube movie reviewer Chris Stuckmann where he talks about action movies. He is very good at explaining things and I hope you will enjoy his stuff.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eac0lXfMs9c

See ya!