Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Favorite Movie Scores of the 00's

I feel a little strange discussing music because I have a tin ear, but I do love movie scores, and these were my favorites from the previous decade. Just missed: The Claim by Michael Nyman, Notes on a Scandal by Philip Glass, and Sleuth by Patrick Doyle.

10. In Bruges - Carter BurwellWhile I liked Burwell's scores for the Coen Brother films this past decade, this sad and chilling score topped them.

9. The Water Horse - James Newton HowardBeautiful Celtic sounds from James Newton Howard. I like this movie but the score trumps it.

8. Amelie - Yann TiersenA charming and quirky score. Lots of accordion which is never a bad thing.

7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon - Tan DunWith Yo Yo Ma on cello. This is sad and stirring at the same time. The percussion on several of the tracks (rooftop fight) is superb.

6. The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Jon BrionPretty minimalist, but the haunting tinkling themes that Brion wrote are so perfect for this movie.

5. Road to Perdition - Thomas NewmanMediocre movie. One of Thomas Newman's greatest scores.

4. Pride and Prejudice - Dario MarinelliMarinelli's music for Atonement is showier and more creative but I prefer this simple and melodic score.

3. The Incredibles - Michael GiacchinoI heard that Brad Bird asked John Barry to write this score. When he said no, he turned to Michael Giacchino, the television composer behind Alias and Lost. And Giacchino knocked it out of the park, especially the music he wrote for the island sequence, some of which rivals Barry at his best.

2. The Painted Veil - Alexandre DesplatDesplat did a lot of scores in the past decade but nothing tops the stunning cues he wrote for this underrated film.

1. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy - Howard ShoreThere was really nothing in Howard Shore's resume that suggested he could pull this off. I liked his scores for The Silence of the Lambs and Nobody's Fool, but the music he wrote for this trilogy is monumental. Personal favorites: "Concerning Hobbits" and "A Storm is Coming." Plus, I love all three songs he wrote for the end credits.


  1. Peter, I could not agree with your choices more!! Laura, who seems to really appreciate music, loves "The Painted Veil" soundtrack and asks me to play "the piano music" over and over again.
    Also love #s 1, 3, and 8

  2. Looking at "Road To Perdition", you should do a spin-off list of mediocre to bad movies with good scores.

    A few of these guys, Michael Giacchino, Alexandre Desplat, and Carter Burwell really came into their own this decade, no doubt. If pressed I would have to say that Giacchino's score for "The Incredibles" might be my favorite on the list. He's so good. That and a lot of his work on "Lost" is so great.

    Thanks for reminding how good #'a 6,7,8, and 10 are too.