Sunday, March 27, 2005

Can Congress investigate THIS, instead of baseball and sterioids?

There's a thread over on the FilmScoreMonthly message boards right now that's partly annoying and partly amusing.

It focuses on the music for the new film Miss Congeniality 2. Now, a standard procedure in film making is to use what's called a "temp track". What the filmmakers do is, before the time to actually score the film arrives, they assemble a "score" of sorts from various sources: cues from older films, bits of classical music, classic rock tunes or pop standards, whatever. This temporary soundtrack -- "temp track" -- is used by the film's composer to get an idea of what the producers are looking for in terms of where they want music to occur.

However, in more recent years, the "temp track" has become a lot more important: it's not just a case of "Here's where we want some music", but "This is what we want the music to sound like at this spot". And since pre-existing film music is often used for temp-tracks, this is a big reason for the general homogenization of the film music sound over the last ten or fifteen years.

So what's the problem with Miss Congeniality 2? As the initial post in the FSM thread reveals, much of the film's temp track actually ended up being used in the finished film, so that during the end credits, those cues from earlier films are actually listed along with the song credits for songs used in the film. (The poster over on FSM provides details.) So the creative folks behind Miss Congeniality 2 (yeah, I know, there's a contradiction-in-terms) have basically dispensed almost entirely with the use of new music. Talk about laziness.

And yet -- it strikes me as funny, in a way, that in a world where a film like Miss Congeniality 2 even gets made, film music fans really get their dander up about the music. Wow. But then, we're talking about a segment of fandom where it's not uncommon to hear that a spectacularly bad movie like The Final Conflict is actually a good movie because Jerry Goldsmith wrote the music.

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