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Friday, December 11, 2009

Music That Matters: Top 50 Movie Symphonies (#38 School Ties Theme by Maurice Jarre)

Maurice Jarre is recognized as one of the greatest movie composers of all time. Some of the legendary movies that he has scored include Ghost, Lawrence Of Arabia, Fatal Attraction, and Dead Poet's Society. He also has been nominated for eight Oscar awards winning the big prize three times. Jarre was a French composer. Scoring Lawrence Of Arabia was the big break that led him to working primarily on movies for the next five decades up until 2001 with Uprising. He passed away this year at the age of 84. He may have been acclaimed as one of the best, but on this countdown he only has one entry. And it's for one of the greatest movies I've ever seen that you may not have heard of. That movie would be School Ties released in 1992 which introduced us to future stars like Brendan Fraser, Chris O'Donnell, Ben Affleck, Cole Hauser, and Matt Damon who was a real prick in this movie. And the movie also introduced me to the great Anthony Rapp (as the bigot named McGoo sporting thick glasses) who later went on to bigger things as the lead actor in RENT.

School Ties takes place in the 50's and is about a Jewish teen named David Greene (played by Fraser) who is recruited and provided a scholarship to play football at a prestigious catholic school in Massachusetts. He's a little rough around the edges and doesn't come from a family with money. Living as a minority in a town full of anti-semitism, he usually has to defend his honor through fighting. His plan is to attend the school per his football skills in order to better his chances at getting into Harvard. As he meets his hoity toity new friends who crack some Jewish jokes right at the start, he decides he will hide his identity in order to fit in. So the Jewish star necklace gets put into a band-aid tin. David becomes the big man on campus and builds strong relationships with his roommate (played by O'Donnell) and other players on the team. Eventually the cat comes out of the bag due some girl problems involving Greene and Dillon (played brilliantly by Matt Damon). All of a sudden David's pals turn on him by putting up blankets with swastikas and smearing him with crude anti-semitic jokes (COWARDSSSSS!) David is now all alone and realizes he should been open about his Jewishness from the beginning. The finale of the movie sees Dillon cheating on an exam, but due to the school's code of ethics, the class must decide how to handle it or they will all fail the class. Instead of Dillon admitting the deed as David and his roomie saw him cheat, he accuses David instead. The punishment for this deed will be automatic expulsion from school. The class has to come to a decision. Do they think one of their own would cheat or was the Jewish outsider responsible? The blame is laid on David, and he indicates he will honor their stupid tradition and take the heat even though it will cost him his chances at Harvard. Things eventually work out when it's discovered that Dillon actually cheated. The final scene show Dillon pulling down his car window to tell David that this will all work itself out and nobody will care about this ten years from now, but he'll always be a damn Jew. To which David replies with perhaps the greatest quote ever, "And you'll always be a prick!". Cut to the end of the movie, and the epic theme from Maurice Jarre hits! Amazing, a great tune of which snippets are included in the movie whenever David is by his lonesome and needs to reflect on how he disgraced his family and himself.

Let me explain how difficult this song was to even get. The School Ties soundtrack was never released, and the theme wasn't included on Maurice Jarre's compilation albums. I also had no luck finding it on any peer to peer networks. So my brother used a program to pull the music from the movie via DVD. I don't play games and will always overcome obstacles in order to add great music from great movie that should have been available for purchase in the first place. Because the song is so tough to obtain, I won't be able to share it with you on here. But instead here's the pivotal scene from School Ties for your enjoyment. If you haven't seen this movie, go out and buy it now!!! It's an overlooked classic written by Dick Wolf before he went to bigger acclaim as the creator of Law and Order.

Ladies and gentlemen.... #39 School Ties Theme from Maurice Jarre

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