The Sh– To Just Sh–ty… Movie Themes

(I apologize for the slow load on this page, but I decided to collect the clips for easier access.  And sorry the list is so long, but I wanted to prove a point.)

When talking about a movie’s score, modern audiences probably think it has something to do with how much it made at the box office on opening weekend, or what it’s rated on Rotten Tomatoes.  In actuality, the movie’s score – primarily the theme song – should be more than a cue to what you’re supposed to feel throughout watching the flick.  It should capture the spirit of the story in a melody… one that you can carry with you in a hum.

As a child, all my favorites had excellent theme songs (you can hum them without a hint):

  • Star Wars
  • Indiana Jones
  • Superman
  • Back to the Future
  • E.T.
  • Jaws
  • James Bond
  • Rocky
  • Batman (Michael Keaton)

(the rest of the list is continued after the jump)

Refreshers might be needed for this classic batch, but you’ll know them:

  • The Natural (at the 1:45 mark)
  • The Goonies
  • Beetlejuice (at the 0:35 mark)
  • Police Academy
  • Clash of the Titans (at the 0:45 mark)
  • Gremlins
  • Tron
  • Willow

These four are cheats because their themes were played on the radio:

  • Beverly Hills Cop
  • Ghostbusters
  • Flash Gordon
  • The Neverending Story

Even horror films were memorable:

  • Halloween
  • Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Friday the 13th

The 90’s had some that stood out:

  • The Rocketeer
  • Jurassic Park
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Mission: Impossible (kind of a cheat since it was based on a TV show)
  • Forrest Gump
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day
  • Braveheart

Oh yeah.  The above all qualifies as The Shit, if I didn’t make that clear.  And for the record, I didn’t include cartoons and musicals because memorable music is their reason for being, alternate themes because the main themes were example enough, or classics (i.e. Psycho, The Sting, The Godfather, and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly) because they didn’t comprise my childhood.  So therefore, everything since the turn of the millennium falcon has been Just Shitty.  The only exception:

  • Pirates of the Caribbean

I might have picked Harry Potter because it is recognizable, but to me, it sounds like a crossbreed between the spiraling Princess Leia’s theme, the lilting Marion’s theme, and the jingling Home Alone.  And I might have given Duel of the Fates from The Phantom Menace a nod if it didn’t drudge up memories I’ve been working hard to repress.  (Sorry John Williams… I still love ya for a good portion of the above!)  Same goes for Titanic – I don’t need to hyperlink that song.

Movies these days don’t seem to pack the same wallop into their score.  I don’t know if it’s the changing times, or if it’s because I’m beyond a certain age, but I don’t think these make the cut:

  • Lord of the Rings
  • Batman Begins
  • Spider-Man
  • X-Men
  • The Matrix
  • Saw

If you disagree, or if I missed anything, feel free to comment below!

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4 comments

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  3. ianthecool · July 9, 2010

    Nice work. Some great themes outlined here. John William’s shows up a lot, and for good reason.

  4. sgottahurt · July 9, 2010

    Thanks for the kind words. It doesn’t even seem like anyone tries anymore…

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