Yesterday, one of the great film composers, James Horner, died in a plane crash.
I am heartbroken, as are many other fans of films and film music.
Y’all know that one of my biggest influences as a writer is music–specifically movie scores. And James Horner’s work takes up a huge chunk of my music library.
As a child, I was obsessed with the music for Casper and The Land Before Time. To this day, I can’t listen to this music without tearing up. I’m a child again, and anything is possible.
When I was a young Trekkie, I’d watch and re-watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock by fast-forwarding my cruddy VHS tapes to the best parts of the movies–whenever Horner’s music was featured front and center, of course. The battle of the Mutara Nebula. Kirk and crew stealing the Enterprise.
In middle school, a budding trumpet player, I listened to his Titanic score over and over, singing along with the trumpet parts and dreaming of being a studio musician so I, too, could record Horner’s music someday.
Now, as a writer, I’ve spent hundreds upon hundreds of hours working to his music, particularly his score for A Beautiful Mind, which is one of my go-tos. I’ll put it on repeat and let it play all day, its magic firing my imagination.
The world of film and artists has lost a talented, beautiful soul. Today (and probably for the rest of the week) I’ll be listening to James Horner scores in his honor.
Here are five of my favorite tracks, in case you want to join me:
Hypsilophodon was so smol! I don’t think the reality of it had ever dawned on me before that point. Also, so, in Land Before Time III, a teenage Hypsilophodon taunts Little Foot and sings a song about “when you’re big you can push all the little ones around” and -
The Land Before Time III has this somewhat-hidden message against verbal child abuse in it. I never noticed before when I was little. I need to slip this into my dad’s suitcase when he goes on a trip so that he’ll watch it and understand.
God I love children’s movies that have wonderful messages.
People have always been asking me for my favorite films ever since I removed my original top 100 list a year or so ago. While I can’t organize my favorites to a full 100 list now, I figure I’ll whet appetites with my top ten at the very least. Enjoy!
Top Ten Favorite Films
01. Kenan & Kel: Two Heads Are Better Than None | Ingmar Bergman | 2000
02. Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off (feat. Bobby Flay) | David Lynch | 2003
03. Flubber | David Cronenberg | 1997
04. Kindergarten Cop | Robert Bresson | 1990
05. Rashomon 2 | Jean-Luc Godard | 1961
06. Kill William | Quentin Tortellini | 2004
07. Hot Wheels: World Race | Terrence Malick | 2003
08. Les Cousins Dangereux | Stanley Kubrick | 2000
09. The Land Before Time III: Time of the Great Giving | Wes Anderson | 1995
10. Free Willy (Willy’s Childhood) | Andrei Tarkovsky | 1993