Jonny Greenwood’s Oscar-nominated soundtrack for There Will Be Blood has received almost as much attention as the movie itself. A live performance of the score recently took place at New York City’s St. Paul the Apostle Church, music critic Alex Ross wrote a feature for last week’s New Yorker about the Radiohead guitarist’s genius, and we’ve certainly gone on about it plenty here.
I have to admit: I’ve yet to see TWBB — and I’m a huge fan of Daniel Day-Lewis (pictured, left, with Ciaran Hinds) — and I think one of the reasons is, to be completely honest, I’m a little intimidated by the dramatic, largely atonal score. My father
tortured exposed me to a fair amount of avant-garde music when I was young (hello, six hours of Olivier Messiaen at Lincoln Center!) and something about Greenwood’s “Popcorn Superhet Receiver for String Orchestra,” an 18-minute work for 34 strings, makes me nervous. Am I being irrational? Probably. There’s a very good chance I’ll see the movie and love it, music and all.
On the other side of the filmic universe, there’s Titanic, which I recently saw on TV. I remember crying when I saw it in the theater, but I felt oddly unmoved the second time around — that is, until the scene where the ship’s band decides to go down with the vessel, playing as water comes splashing over the gunwale (Okay, I don’t know exactly what a gunwale is, but let’s just say a lot of folks on that boat were wet at this point). Then “My Heart Will Go On” kicked in. And out of nowhere: waterworks (no pun intended).
What about you, PopWatchers? Are there any films you think were totally made by their soundtracks? Or has a lousy soundtrack ever ruined a film for you?
UPDATE: I meant to call Greenwood’s score “Oscar-worthy.” It was not nominated because it didn’t qualify under Academy rules, as PopWatch noted here.