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Section Header
Trouble With the Curve
Composed by:
Marco Beltrami

Co-Orchestrated and Conducted by:
Pete Anthony

Co-Orchestrated by:
Rossano Galante
Dennis Smith
Jim Honeyman

Produced by:
Buck Sanders

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
October 16th, 2012

Also See:
Soul Surfer
Real Steel

Audio Clips:
4. Beautiful North Carolina (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

5. Bo's Homer (0:31):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. Mickey's Home Run (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

18. Trouble With the Curve (0:29):
WMA (191K)  MP3 (239K)
Real Audio (168K)

Regular U.S. release.


Trouble With the Curve
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Buy it... if pretty and innocuous filler material is sufficient for your tastes, Marco Beltrami content to play this low-key assignment very safe.

Avoid it... if you expect a dramatic improvement over Clint Eastwood's own, insufferably boring compositional capabilities, for Beltrami's music also struggles to achieve warmth and enthusiasm.

Trouble With the Curve: (Marco Beltrami) After starring solely in films he had directed for nearly 20 years, Clint Eastwood handed the helm over to his longtime producer, Robert Lorenz, and chose to only play the lead in 2012's Trouble With the Curve. Eastwood does his best snarling old coot routine in this baseball and family story, taking the grumpy old man persona to potentially obnoxious levels. It is fitting that the actor soiled his reputation and damaged the already-shaky campaign of Mitt Romney for America's president at the Republican National Convention not long before the debut of this film. After talking to an empty chair in front of millions at that venue, he opens Trouble With the Curve by having a conversation with his malfunctioning, unresponsive penis (in this case, though, an invisible Barack Obama seems absent from the equation). He later talks to his car and other inanimate objects in this film, completing the real-life sideshow theatrics. As a scout for the Atlanta Braves, Eastwood's lead is losing his eyesight and therefore his ability to find talent. Refusing to use a computer doesn't help. With the assistance of his daughter (Amy Adams), a former recruit and now fellow scout (Justin Timberlake), and a sympathetic boss with the club (John Goodman), the old scout takes one last assignment to find a good prospect. Ultimately, as you would expect, the movie is more about the healing of familial relations than baseball, and a certain amount of unrealistic sappiness is inevitable. The film did not meet with immediately favorable reviews from critics who have grown tired of Eastwood's growling and the script's formulaic character scenarios. For composer Marco Beltrami, Trouble With the Curve represented yet another opportunity to shake his reputation as an artist stereotyped into the horror and science fiction genres. To this end, he had succeeded with overwhelming results for the small-scale, religiously-conscious Soul Surfer in 2011, yielding incredibly effective and emotionally dramatic music that lifted the film enormously and stood among the best scores of the year. The same affirming personality exists in Trouble With the Curve , but it becomes clear from the start of the 2012 work that the filmmakers opted not to allow Beltrami's score to play such a pivotal role in enhancing the narrative. The result is at times a pretty and innocuous pleasure but ultimately an inconsequential dramatic effort that struggles to assert its identity until the very end.

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One of the ironies of the music for Trouble With the Curve is the plethora of comparisons between the film itself and the topic of Moneyball from the previous year. Interestingly, while Moneyball will be considered by most to be a vastly superior baseball and family film, both productions suffer from rather bland and uninspiring music. Beltrami's tone in Trouble With the Curve is a bit friendlier than Mychael Danna's had been for the earlier venture, but a lack of dramatic resolve and impactful gravity connects the two works. Beltrami does provide, at the very least, a better narrative flow and some parochial spirit by opening and closing the score with a few cues of meandering electric guitars meant to address the American South. Unlike similar usage in Danny Elfman's Real Steel, however, the guitars here don't seem to contribute to an overall thematic arc with which to tie the story together. In fact, Trouble With the Curve is melodically anonymous for most of its length, a curious choice given the positive effect the score's eventual theme (of simple, rising phrases) starting in "The Real Deal." Beltrami explores a few motifs in the first two thirds of the score, but none of these ideas blossoms into a meaningful identity. That leaves the fluffiness of the instrumentation to carry the personality of the score, and here Trouble With the Curve is also hit and miss. At times, as in "Bo's Homer" and "Another Hit," there are hints of the enthusiasm that graced Soul Surfer. The plucked strings, piano, and acoustic guitar in "Flanagan" and (with more fluid strings) "Mickey's Home Run" offer moments of liveliness not heard again in the score. Instead, you encounter extended sequences of nearly inaudible filler material for strings or piano, not much unlike, intriguingly, a Clint Eastwood-composed score. Cues like "Post Clogging," "Horse With No Name," and "Get On the Bus, Gus" practically kill the listening experience, and the redemption you hear from the orchestral ensemble in "Trouble With the Curve" and "Not All I've Got," while basically effective at their task, cannot entirely salvage the listening experience. The unrelated song "On My Way" at the end of the otherwise score-only product contains infinitely more life than anything in Beltrami's contribution. There is an argument to made for a two-star rating for Trouble With the Curve, not just because of the (unrealistic) expectations following Soul Surfer but also due to a total lack of genuine warmth and enthusiasm in 90% of this score. Still, Beltrami competently follows all the basic genre rules and provides the bare minimum necessary for the music to function. *** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Marco Beltrami reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 2.73 (in 22 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 2.79 (in 15,925 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.55 Stars
Smart Average: 2.67 Stars*
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*** 29 
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* 25 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   You make me laugh, Christian.
  Jockolantern -- 11/3/12 (12:47 p.m.)
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 Track Listings: Total Time: 42:31

• 1. Good Mornin' Gus (1:48)
• 2. Flanagan (0:55)
• 3. Late Night Call (0:53)
• 4. Beautiful North Carolina (1:45)
• 5. Bo's Homer (2:35)
• 6. Mickey's Home Run (1:47)
• 7. Another Hit (2:50)
• 8. Post Clogging (0:56)
• 9. Walking and Talking (1:16)
• 10. Ballgame (0:48)
• 11. Wilson at Bat (3:11)
• 12. Off the Case (1:19)
• 13. He'll Wait (3:58)
• 14. They Choose Bo (1:32)
• 15. Horse With No Name (2:50)
• 16. Get on the Bus, Gus (1:19)
• 17. The Real Deal (3:12)
• 18. Trouble With the Curve (4:29)
• 19. Not All I've Got (2:04)
• 20. On My Way - performed by The Neighbors and Greg Camp (3:09)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes a list of performers but no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Trouble With the Curve are Copyright © 2012, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the site may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of Filmtracks Publications. Audio clips can be heard using RealPlayer but cannot be redistributed without the label's expressed written consent. Page created 9/20/12 (and not updated significantly since). Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 2012-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.