I haven’t been watching many … mainstream films lately.
Watching A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE and while the movie is good, the orchestra music is annoying me. It’s like the music is beating me over the head with how to feel, like it’s trying to control my emotions.
I prefer to hear real life sounds. Nuanced things you wouldn’t normally pick up on.
Art house/indie films don’t have loud trumpets blaring during any dialogue down time.
This is why Spielberg almost always works with John Williams. Spielberg, like many mainstream directors, does not trust the intelligence of his audience, so everything must be telegraphed, highlighted and underscored (overscored?) by bombastic orchestral arrangements.
Peeling back another layer, one reason for this may be the core demographic that mainstream film directors are aiming for : people age 18-24, who represented the largest group of ticket buyers. Kids age 12-17 represent the second largest demographic. I draw this from MPAA data and statistical reports, which are widely available online.
So mainstreat directors and the studios that back them are trying to attract a crowd consisting primarily of 12 to 24-year-olds. Nothing is left to chance. There’s too much competition from other entertainment options, combined with limited attention spans.
Also, indie/arthouse films are going for a different audience. And in terms of practical considerations, the backers of these films also may not have the budget to support the composition and conduction of an orchestral score.
In the United States, I believe people who make indie films do so mainly to create a calling card that will gain them access to the studios, but I am cynical and this is probably a discussion for a separate thread.
You know what else filmmakers (even indies) use to tell their auduence what to think – dialogue, editing, camera placement, acting and every other tool of filmmmaking. Criticizing a films for having a score (as opposed to criticizing a film for having a bad score) makes about as much sense as asking the director to remove any of those other elements. The score is not an afterthought or an addition. It is every bit as core to the film as any other element and part of the directors overall vision.
I think the OP was talking about the shrill, overwrought, melodramatic nature of many mainstream movie scores, not that a movie actually has a music score. There’s a difference being discussed here.
I agree actually. I never realized how much it bothered me until recently (probably because I don’t watch a lot of movies with these types of scores) I much prefer a single piano, or one or two string instruments. Quiet little pieces of music which accent the things on screen rather than control them.
@brad sure, I’m not going against anything you said in your post. it is a tool a director has to get his vision across. it’s a matter of personal preference. and there is a distinction in audiences which CTEVE makes.
i prefer a director using more subtle film techniques to communicate with an audience. orchestral scores hammer you over the head with what you should be feeling. there is no interpretation involved. the fact that it is so in your face is what makes it distracting for me. it feels forced, for me anyway.
And in terms of practical considerations, the backers of these films also may not have the budget to support the composition and conduction of an orchestral score.
yea but I think for the most part indie films are conducive to being treated with understated methods.
i’m looking @ you david gordon green
bumping this because I’m going through the Tim Burton/Shucmacher Batmans and the use of orchestra music is extremely grating.
danny elfman in your ear loud, clear and constant.
I love nothing more than a grand, sweeping orchestral score.