Sound Off: Best Movies Scores of 2008 - What Are Your Favorites?
by Alex Billington
January 5, 2009
I love movie scores. And even the best ones sadly never get mentioned enough. So as a way of highlighting some of the very best movies scores of last year, I thought I'd start this discussion today. I was heavily inspired by ScoreKeeper's Top 10 Best Scores Of 2008, which just hit this morning, because it features a very odd yet respectable list of great soundtracks. I won't spoil his top choice (you can find the list below), but it's definitely something that no one was expecting. As for my own favorite scores, well, where do I begin? Most recently I was quite fond of John Ottman's score for Valkyrie, but besides that, there are quite a few good ones to choose from. Before I get to my own list, let's look at what ScoreKeeper chose.
We'll kick this off by checking out his list before we get into mine. You can read all of his in-depth write ups on his choices over on Ain't It Cool News. Could anyone have predicted these choices?
10. Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer by Ryan Shore [Amazon or iTunes]
9. Burn After Reading by Carter Burwell [Amazon or iTunes]
8. The Substitute by Marco Beltrami
7. Cloverfield by Michael Giacchino [iTunes]
6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by Alexandre Desplat [Amazon or iTunes]
5. The Visitor by Jan A.P. Kaczmarek [Amazon or iTunes]
4. Let the Right One In by Johan Söderqvist [iTunes]
3. Wall-E by Thomas Newman [Amazon or iTunes]
2. Appaloosa by Jeff Beal [Amazon or iTunes]
1. Speed Racer by Michael Giacchino [Amazon or iTunes]
First off, I also loved that Speed Racer score. Giacchino is a musical genius and his recent work ("Lost", "Fringe", Ratatouille, Speed Racer) proves it. No wonder J.J. Abrams hired him to do the score for the new Star Trek. As much as I love Giacchino's work, however, my top pick for best score/soundtrack of the year goes to Slumdog Millionaire by A.R. Rahman [Amazon or iTunes], hands down. It's closely followed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard's The Dark Knight [Amazon or iTunes], which was a brilliant enhancement to the Batman Begins score. Yes, I legitimately own both of these soundtracks (including that $50 special edition version of The Dark Knight) and listen to them a lot while working.
Other favorite scores from this year include In Bruges by Carter Burwell [Amazon or iTunes], which makes at least two great Burwell scores in one year. Another great soundtrack that featured numerous eclectic styles was Synecdoche, New York by Jon Brion [Amazon or iTunes]. I also loved the score for Milk by Danny Elfman [Amazon or iTunes], which was a perfect fit for one of my favorite films. I've also got to mention Quantum of Solace by David Arnold [Amazon or iTunes], which I thought was another top notch action movie score, even though I'm not sure too many others agree. And lastly, the music in Dear Zachary, which was written by director Kurt Kuenne as well, was quite beautiful.
So there we have it. I've named every last movie score I can remember from this year that I loved. So now it's up to you, as I'm sure there are a few I'm forgetting. So, what are your favorite scores from 2008?