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Tropic Thunder (Original Motion Picture Score)

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Album Review

Tropic Thunder is a Ben Stiller-starring parody of action movies like Rambo, and Theodore Shapiro, whose previous scores include comedies like Not Another Teen Movie and Blades of Glory, clearly was the right composer to provide its music. Trained at Brown and Juilliard, Shapiro knows his film music, past and present, and he provides a tongue-in-cheek master class in stylistic borrowings and bombast to accompany all the faux action. Using an orchestra of 91 (consisting of the kind of players who also play the music he's making fun of), plus electric rock musicians and programmers, he evokes Hollywood heavyweights of the past such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Jerry Goldsmith early on, and in the body of his score demonstrates his familiarity with the current A-list of big-budget writers like Hans Zimmer, James Newton Howard, and James Horner as well. Appropriately, there's no subtlety here, just pounding rhythms, soaring melodies, and suspenseful string parts, all executed in short bursts. And at the end, in case there's any doubt about who he has in his sights, the last cue is called "Cue Bill Conti." The score to Tropic Thunder is an affectionate and knowing satire of the history of Hollywood action movie music, penned by an insider.

Biography

Born: 29 September 1971 in Washington, DC

Genre: Soundtrack

Years Active: '00s, '10s

In the first decade of the 21st century, film score composer Theodore Shapiro (aka Teddy Shapiro) became the go-to guy for movie comedies starring the major comic actors of the time, including Ben Stiller, Will Farrell, and Owen Wilson. He was born Theodore Michael Shapiro on September 29, 1971, in Washington, D.C., and earned a B.A. in music from Brown University, then a masters from the Juilliard School of Music. In 1993, he scored episodes of the television series The State. His first film score...
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