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 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 4:49 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)


I would just like to post a topic that reflects my appreciation for James Southall’s and Jon Broxton’s always insightful film score reviews. Over the years at FSM, those two have provided us with numerous fine score reviews. Do I always agree with them? Not always. When I agree with their critiques, they’re spot on. If I disagree, I just figure that their hearing aid batteries have failed them.wink

Seriously, I enjoy the way they write. They both provide a detailed analysis of various cues as well as the overall arc of particular scores. Both seem to have a grasp of the purpose of scores and some technical musical background. I like their balance of technical or musical terminology with the more simplified emotional reactions to scores. Sometimes I am not familiar with some of their musical terms (which is a reflection of my own minimalist musical vocabulary), but most of the time, I can follow their critiques without struggling too much with specialized terms.

I know what kind of music I like, and their reviews remind me when to tune in more carefully to the scores when I’m watching certain movies.

I’m hoping if they see this they can answer a few question….only if they want to.

Do you two know each other, and do you ever debate film scores with each other?

Have any composers ever contacted and thanked you for a really positive review?

This one you may not want to answer which is fine, but I’m curious if you write a really negative review if that composer contacts you with Mercutio’s scathing last words. “A plague on both your houses. They’ve made worms meat of me.” I’ll understand if you avoid this question.

Just want to send my thanks, and I hope you both keep writing reviews and posting them at FSM.
Sometimes you both write, “If anyone is interested.” Be assured that many of us are interested.

(This is NOT a paid announcement.smile)

 
 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 5:44 PM   
 By:   Ag^Janus   (Member)

The Goat's reviews for undesirable scores are pleasurable to read.

 
 
 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 6:14 PM   
 By:   ChristianKühn   (Member)

I offer them these to show my appreciation:



 
 
 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 8:17 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Help me with my ignorance. I don't get the "goat" thing at all.

 
 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 8:45 PM   
 By:   mastadge   (Member)

Help me with my ignorance. I don't get the "goat" thing at all.

 
 
 Posted:   May 25, 2014 - 9:07 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

Thanks Mastadge. I'm always busy reading the reviews and never perused the actual webpage.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 12:27 AM   
 By:   Jon Broxton   (Member)

Joan, thank you so much, that's a really lovely thing to say, and I'm glad you enjoy our reviews. It's always been a passion for me to combine two of things I love in life the most - film music and writing - and has been a creative outlet for me since 1997! The fact that *anything* I write has a positive effect on someone gives me all the encouragement I need to keep going smile

I also want to echo the praise for James's reviews. They are outstanding - always informative, frequently funny and witty and always sincere.

To answer your questions:

1) Yes, James and I know each other well. We are both from the UK, from cities about 75 miles apart, and when I still lived in England we hung out with other quite a lot, not only going to various concerts and film music events, but also to soccer games, and various other social events. We have met each other's families on several occasions, and even went on vacation together in California in 1999 (more on that later). We once collapsed into fits of laughter while chatting on the phone with each other about John Debney's "Dick", once sang a suberb acapella duet of Ira Newborn's Naked Gun theme, and once tried to chat up two girls with the line "Hello ladies. We're listening to Rozsa!" (the specific score was Young Bess, if memory serves)

2) Yes, many composers have contacted me and thanked me for a really positive review, and many composers have contacted me to take me to task about negative reviews. I think, most of the time, composers tend to be pleased that *anyone* is taking notice of their work and talking about it seriously, so as the old adage goes "any publicity is good publicity". As far as negative responses go - of course, not everyone agrees with my point of view, and that's fine. Music appreciation is always a matter of personal taste, and so long I make that clear, it's generally fine, so long as I have the cojones to back up my opinion with valid arguments.

I've had some interesting conversations with a few composers over the years, including Brian Tyler, Trevor Rabin and Joel McNeely, after giving a score of theirs a negative review, but more often than not they end on good terms. Recently I've been having quite a few Facebook conversations with Hans Zimmer, specifically about my review for "Man of Steel". I'm not going to go into any more detail about what we discussed, except to say we agreed to disagree, but we've kept in contact, it's all OK. Hans is actually a very cool guy, and this kind of feedback is vital: it keeps me on my toes, and reminds me that what I write is very often read by the people I'm writing about.

Also: about James's goat thing. This stems back to the aforementioned vacation we took together in LA. We were staying in a hotel in Marina Del Rey, and to get to the McDonalds on Lincoln Blvd where we generally broke our fast each morning, we had to walk past several businesses relating to things seafaring. One particular sign we walked past read "Boats for Hire", but the "B" of "Boats" has been obscured somewhat, so it actually read "Goats for Hire" - it quickly became the running joke of the vacation, along with saying the name 'Judi Dench' in a Scottish accent, and driving over the Bill Bixby Memorial Bridge. This was taken further when Southall went on vacation to Disney World a few years later with his now-wife, and posted a photo of himself brushing a goat at the resort's petting zoo. The annual goat-brushing photo eventually became a tradition, and gradually became the "mascot" of Movie Wave (the logo was designed by Erik Woods as a tribute to this occasion, and it stuck!)

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 1:12 AM   
 By:   Luc Van der Eeken   (Member)

Deserved praise indeed! I've bought stuff based solely on their reviews and never regretted it.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 1:50 AM   
 By:   JamesSouthall   (Member)

Wow, thanks Joan! I've been doing it for 17 years and that's only the third time anyone's said anything nice to me! smile

I only do it to amuse myself, really - the fact that some people still read it after all this time is very gratifying. When someone tells me they discovered a new gem because of something I wrote, that's what makes it very satisfying.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 2:49 AM   
 By:   stay-puft   (Member)

Recently I've been having quite a few Facebook conversations with Hans Zimmer, specifically about my review for "Man of Steel". I'm not going to go into any more detail about what we discussed, except to say we agreed to disagree, but we've kept in contact, it's all OK. Hans is actually a very cool guy, and this kind of feedback is vital: it keeps me on my toes, and reminds me that what I write is very often read by the people I'm writing about.


was he pissed by all the scathing reviews?

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 3:08 AM   
 By:   filmsonwax   (Member)

.

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 6:59 AM   
 By:   AlexCope   (Member)

They're just about the only film music writers I take time to read anymore outside of liner notes. Thoughtful writing, full of personality. I'm glad they still take time to do it.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 9:47 AM   
 By:   Kev McGann   (Member)

I often click on their respective links/pages but I must admit, I often confuse one with the other.
To me, they are the same guy, just trying to throw us off HIS scent wink
I prefer the more sarcastic one (now I'm choosing favourites - you know which one you are) 'cause the acerbic wit has me in stitches, but I enjoy reading both(?) their reviews.

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 10:01 AM   
 By:   Francis   (Member)

I haven't bought a score based on a review in a long time; back when I started out you didn't have that many samples online (Remember when you had those annoying real audio samples ugh) and youtube didn't exist. In those days I'd read the reviews to see if some titles were worth picking up and I always found Moviewave to correspond most with my own taste. So thanks to James Southall for being and continuing to be the Roger Ebert of film music! smile

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 10:58 AM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

So glad to see that Jon and James chimed in.

Thanks, Jon, for all of your stories. Interesting, and now I fully understand the goat mascot and how you deal with composers' feedback.

Also, any of you single guys reading this, please take note of both of those guys trying to "chat" up two girls by saying, "We're listening to Rozsa." That line is so NOT going to get you anywhere. LOL.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 11:54 AM   
 By:   JamesSouthall   (Member)

Also, any of you single guys reading this, please take note of both of those guys trying to "chat" up two girls by saying, "We're listening to Rozsa." That line is so NOT going to get you anywhere. LOL.

I can confirm that it did not work!

Me and Jon had some great times together back in the day. I particularly enjoyed this conversation with Trevor Rabin:

Rabin to Broxton: "You're the guy who hates my music!"
Broxton to Rabin, pointing at Southall: "If you think I hate it you should hear what he thinks."

And this conversation with John Debney:

Debney to Broxton/Southall: "Are you the guys who produced the Cutthroat Island soundtrack?"
Broxton/Southall enthusiastically nod heads and say "Yes!" even though they did not.
Debney: "Thanks guys."
Broxton/Southall: "You're welcome!"

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 11:58 AM   
 By:   JamesSouthall   (Member)

PS this is my favourite thread in the history of Film Score Monthly

 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 12:42 PM   
 By:   Shaun Rutherford   (Member)

Fantastic.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 12:46 PM   
 By:   joan hue   (Member)

"Fantastic," said Shaun. I agree. James just told us some priceless stories. I'm beginning to be a bit envious of the lives of film score critics.

 
 
 Posted:   May 26, 2014 - 12:46 PM   
 By:   Thor   (Member)

PS this is my favourite thread in the history of Film Score Monthly

Ha, ha. I can imagine.

 
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