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James Horner: scoring Avatar, 17 year old girls, and Michael Bay

James Horner: scoring Avatar, 17 year old girls, and Michael Bay (photo)

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Composer James Horner’s list of film scores is long and accomplished, especially long. “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan,” “Commando,” “Aliens,” and “Apocalypto” are just a few of his gems. He won an Oscar for James Cameron’s “Titanic,” and returns to score for the director with the much hyped “Avatar” due out December 18th.

A recent interview with Horner about scoring Avatar and working with Cameron on the biggest budget film yet made is revealing of both. I think his comments highlight what is so tiresome about modern film scores and big budget composers who tend to influence every moment of a film with some emotional musical cue.

“To me a love story works as a counter to all the fanboy stuff. Without it, the film is just an unbelievable visual treat and at the end of it you don’t have an emotional feeling or connection. You’ve seen epic gun battles you’ve never seen before but, in your heart, if you’re a 17-year-old girl, why would you ever go see that?” he told the LA Times.

First off, the need to throw in a love story just to give a film any substantive validity is something I reject utterly. It is a corrupt notion. But he’s right about the CGI and effects overkill of course. It’s nice to hear the importance of story emphasized over vapid thrills, though cheesy tacked on love interests are not prerequisites for good story, only for 17 year old girls.

“My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart. When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears — at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role,” Horner continued.

So his job is to jam down our throats what we are supposed to be feeling. Is it because audiences are too stupid to figure out what they should be feeling or because these guys are actually so obsessed with huge flatulent effects that there really is no story to speak of, nothing to make you feel anything? Horner seems to think they know the difference and that there is truly an effort made for good story… somewhere in there. Dig the dig at Michael Bay:

“But if it was Michael Bay making this movie we wouldn’t be having this conversation. These things wouldn’t matter …Jim knows that a movie can become swamped in just unbelievable imagery and that it becomes hollow.”

I love a good swipe at Bay, that’s the best thing about Uwe Boll. Speaking of that, you have to check out this irreverent piece on Cameron and Bay. Funniest thing I’ve seen online all week.

Found on The Playlist.
More Horner on the LA Times.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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