best soundtracks in film history

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (James Horner)- Listen to that opening track. Then listen to it again. James Horner (RIP) had a distinguished career, and this is where he started to get noticed. And honestly, he never really topped it.

Star Trek: First Contact (Jerry Goldsmith)- Some say Goldsmith was phoning it in during the 90s. That’s okay. Everyone was. But he kinda zigged here when any other composer would have zagged. Many consider this Trek film as “Die Hard in space” so anyone else would have done their best Michael Kamen impression. Goldsmith didn’t do that. He went right for the emotional gut and it worked.

Dances With Wolves (John Barry)- When playing this on the piano, I like to mix it with Goldsmith’s First Contact score. That’s all I got to say about that.

Blade Runner (Vangelis)- Man I love the crash that kickstarts the opening credits. Vangelis is the only one that could have done this film justice. Tears in Rain is one of the best songs in electronic music history. Speaking of Vangelis….

Alexander (Vangelis)- The screenplay is godawful, Colin Farrell is terrible, and Oliver Stone is out of his league in this one. But despite all of that, I’d still say that this is an okay film. But Vangelis’ soundtrack gets overlooked. It’s different in that Vangelis tries to do a traditional score with his use of strings, but there are some electric elements that are worth looking out for.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (Ryuichi Sakamoto)- The only reason people know this movie is because of the soundtrack, and for good reason. But the film as a whole is an overlooked gem.

The Deer Hunter (Stanley Myers)- You get one song and one song only on this soundtrack. But that’s all that’s necessary.

The Last Temptation of Christ (Peter Gabriel)- Gabriel’s international sound puts a modern spin on a familiar story. Every track slaps, but A Different Drum might be the standout.

lawrence! merry christmas 😀

Damn it! I wish someone hadn’t stolen my copy of Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.

It’s my favorite holiday movie!

Seriously though, it’s probably my favorite POW film. The first time you watch it, it’s kinda underwhelming. Certainly not the kind of thing you’d expect from the director of In the Realm of the Senses.

But it’s actually one of the rare films that get better the more you watch it.

David Bowie plays a British soldier, Jack Celliers, who is taken captive by the Japanese during WWII. The camp commander, played by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto, becomes obsessed with him. Bowie and Sakamoto, not known for their acting, actually carry the film quite well.

Meanwhile, Tom Conti’s Col. Lawrence and Takeshi Kitano’s Sgt. Hara have a contentious yet mutually admirable relationship.

The emotional highlight of the film is when Lawrence and Celliers get locked up and scheduled for execution. The two confide in each other some of their regrets. We’re shown flashbacks of Celliers high class upbringing and his relationship with his younger brother. Lucky for them, it’s Christmas. Sgt. Hara gets drunk and grants the two of them a reprieve.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” Hara says.

At the conclusion of the film, the shoe’s on the other foot. Hara is a POW yet Lawrence is unable to prevent his execution.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence is unusual for a war film in that rather than focusing on death and carnage, it explores human relationships, understanding, love, and regret.

I just wish whoever borrowed my copy would return it 😢

That would make my fuckin Christmas!