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Previously on “David Newman: Unreleased and Incomplete”: https://www.filmscoremonthly.com/daily/article.cfm/articleID/7878/David-Newman--Unreleased-and-Incomplete-Part-1/


The Flamingo Rising (2001)

A family sets up a drive-in in late 1960s Florida, but the promotional stunts to get people in draw the ire of the funeral home director next door. So-so Hallmark Hall of Fame drama marked a rare venture into television for the composer as well as his second collaboration with Martha Coolidge. Even with the reduced budget, Newman produced some effective moments, such as the lovely music for the mother's flight in the biplane, as well as gospel vocals for the news of Martin Luther King's assassination and a number of moments resemblant of brother Thomas. [RHI]


Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001)

Sequel to the surprise 1998 hit sees Eddie Murphy's titular doctor trying to acclimate a performing bear (Steve Zahn) to the wilderness so that the forest that the ursine's potential mate (Lisa Kudrow) resides in can be safe from developers. Some fine music here, like the amusing Godfather-esque trumpet motif for the God Beaver and a rousing cue for the beehive retrieval. [20th Century Fox]


Death to Smoochy (2002)

Deposed (and debauched) kids show host Robin Williams will do anything to eliminate his replacement, guileless Edward Norton, in this gloriously unsubtle dark comedy from Danny DeVito. The songs (from Newman and the film's writer, Adam Resnick) are engaging, from the splashy "Friends Come in All Sizes" to the folksy "Smoochy's Magic Jungle". As you'd expect, they are used as thematic material in the score, such as the peppy rendition of 'Friends' for Williams' Rainbow Randolph celebrating Smoochy's downfall. There's also "Pop Goes the Weasel", bouncy for Spinner's murder and doleful for the ensuing wake, as well as a lengthy operatic cue for the ice show that's not too far removed from the likes of "1001 Nights". [Warner Bros.]


Life or Something Like It (2002)

Reporter Angelina Jolie hears from homeless prophet Tony Shalhoub that she is to die in one week...and he's never wrong. Some interesting ideas, but ultimately this rom-com from Stephen Herek is a bit too fluffy to work. True to the film’s New Agey style, Newman works with a palette of airy electronics supplementing a light orchestra. Decent music, though a long way from the composer's previous works with the director. [20th Century Fox]


Scooby-Doo (2002)

Strange happenings are going down on Spooky Island, bringing the estranged Mystery, Inc. back together in the juvenile but mildly amusing smash hit live-action adaptation. Newman's music is a good match for the frantic silliness of the film; at times, too good, despite some neat horror effects with pipe organ. As expected, the theme song is one of the building blocks of the score, with the 'Scooby-dooby-doo' motif punctuating the action scenes. [Warner Bros.]


How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)

Magazine writer Kate Hudson is working on an article on driving a man away at the same time that adman Matthew McConaughey is trying to make a woman fall for him. Let the games begin. As you can see, it's not exactly Pillow Talk, but you could do worse, as far as rom-coms go. Like a lot of contemporary scores in the genre, Newman's music contrasts the assortment of songs, avoids stepping on the jokes and doesn't quite stand out in any major way. [Paramount]


Daddy Day Care (2003)

Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin go from office drones to day care workers in this likable surprise hit comedy. Yet another project where Newman's pleasant if undistinguished work is there to plug in space between the songs. Still, there are some good moments (the football game, looking for Flash), as well as - unlike most movies - an end credits cue. [Sony/Revolution]


Duplex (2003)

A Ben Stiller comedy of embarrassment from the writer of I Love You, Beth Cooper. Enough said. A lesser return to Throw Momma from the Train territory from director Danny DeVito finds yuppie couple Stiller and Drew Barrymore trying to evict a bothersome old woman from their duplex apartment...any way they can. This film actually cost $65 million. That's a six, a five and six zeroes. Eat your heart out, Max Bialystock. Newman's last (to date) collaboration with DeVito throws in some clever instrumentation (squeezebox, penny whistle) and a sweet, piano-led main theme. [Miramax]

 

Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004)

The costumes of the baddies nabbed by Mystery, Inc. come to frightening life in this inevitable sequel. Newman's score is more varied here, relying less on the theme song (which is not to discount an amusing Bondian variation for Shaggy and Scooby's investigation). There's also a touching piano theme for Velma and Seth Green's Patrick and an exciting main title cue which follows one of the titular monsters on its way to the Coolsville Museum. [Warner Bros.]


Are We There Yet? (2005)

More heat-and-serve slapstick shenanigans from Jingle All the Way director Brian Levant, with Ice Cube as a guy trying to score points with single mom Nia Long by minding her obnoxious, prankish children. Newman interweaves hip-hop elements into his orchestral music, though the mickey-mousing for the pratfall scenes doesn't always work, which is unfortunate, as there are a lot of such moments in the film. [Sony/Revolution]


Man of the House (2005)

Uneven action-comedy sees Tommy Lee Jones as a Texas Ranger guarding a group of cheerleaders who witnessed a murder. Newman's score (his last - to date - for Stephen Herek) is buoyed by an effective swaggering motif for Jones' Ranger as well as poppier material - marimba, samples - for the girls and a nicely rousing horn cue for Jones' pep rally speech. [Sony/Revolution]


Monster-in-Law (2005)

Charlie (Jennifer Lopez) falls for doctor Kevin (Michael Vartan), but if they're to have a happy life, she has to overcome his clingy mother, Viola (Jane Fonda). One of those rom-com premises that's only a couple of chromosomes removed from being a thriller; surprisingly watchable, but inessential. In the midst of Newman's functional music are some nicely eccentric cues for Viola's instability, as well as a fascinating piece for Charlie and her pals turning Viola's investigating tricks back on her. [New Line Cinema]


Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins (2008)

A broad variation on Meet the Parents starring Martin Lawrence (as a talk-show host returning to his hometown for his parents' anniversary) may be your cup of tea or not. Your mileage may vary. Newman's first collaboration with Malcolm D. Lee is rich in funk elements (banjo, Hammond organ) with brief moments of orchestral writing, as well as some Russ Landau-esque bits for the (heavy-handed) "Survivor" references. [Universal]


My Life in Ruins (2009)

Following the surprise success of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Nia Vardalos takes a trip to the old country as a luckless tour guide whose latest tour may change her life. Too often goes for the easy laugh, but has its charms. Newman's Greek-flavored score is delightful with many fine moments, from the bus sabotage cue to the late-night hotel commiseration. [20th Century Fox]


Scooby-Doo: the Mystery Begins (2009)

Framed for ghostly attacks on their high school, Fred, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy team up to solve the mystery and clear their names. Innocuous and mildly amusing origin story from Brian Levant. Unlike, say, A Christmas Story 2, Newman's music gets some room to breathe (and - perhaps appropriately - is free of quotes from the theme song). Some highlights include spooky choral work for the ghosts, the expected saxophone music for Velma's makeover and a takeoff of "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" (!) for the gang going undercover. [Warner Premiere]


Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel (2009)

The boys go to school and meet the Chipettes in this follow-up to the box-office hit. One can only imagine how Richard Gibbs (director Betty Thomas's usual composer) missed out on scoring this movie, but - with a few exceptions (the zoo rescue, the football game) - Newman's serviceable music is as disposable as the film itself. [20th Century Fox]


Crazy on the Outside (2010)

Tim Allen is out of prison, but things are just as chaotic in the free world as they are behind bars. It makes one elated when an actor steps behind the camera and looks to a composer that scored one of their prior works and though this predictable comedy is no Galaxy Quest, it's still likable enough. As with the movie, the score sounds like it came out of the 1990s with some neat cues, especially for Allen's first meeting with probation officer Jeanne Tripplehorn and the airport rescue. [Freestyle Releasing]


Scooby-Doo: Curse of the Lake Monster (2010)

Budding romances and summer employment get shafted by giant frogs controlled by a witch. More of the same, in terms of entertainment and Newman's music. Some interesting cues - primarily where the evil amphibians are concerned - though I doubt the composer had anything to do with the film's oddball musical numbers. [Warner Premiere]


Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (2011)

FBI agent Martin Lawrence's son Brandon T. Jackson witnesses the murder of an informant and the evidence needed to put the killer away is hidden at a school for the gifted...an all-girl's school. Yeah. It took three movies, but this series finally got around to ripping off Some Like it Hot. Well, actually, it's more like a mixture of Some Like it Hot and "High School Musical" and I don't blame you if you've stopped reading. The good news is that Newman's score is free of the kind of mickey-mousing that a mindless comedy like this would seem to demand, its hip-hop and Russian elements played refreshingly straight. [20th Century Fox]


A Christmas Story 2 (2012)

A Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie in all but name, this direct-to-DVD release follows a now-teenage Ralphie and his misadventures in holiday employment to pay for a car he damaged on a test-drive. Newman's electronic music is virtually wall-to-wall and while the leeway he was given is impressive, this effort is no Jingle All the Way. Still, it's a decent score with the expected quotes of Christmas carols and some lively passages for Ralphie's fantasies. [Warner Premiere]


Behaving Badly (2014)

Nat Wolff really wants to hook up with Selena Gomez, but there are a lot of factors standing in his way. Though this teen sex comedy has better actors and somewhat higher production values than the stuff you’d have found on “USA Up All Night”, they are spiritually similar (not a compliment, BTW). As there likely wasn't enough money in the budget for an orchestra - or jokes - Newman made do with a palette of electronics and instrumentation best described as Heathers meets James Newton Howard's Big Trouble: piano for the alleged emotional moments, Hammond organ for the fooling around scenes (poor, poor Elisabeth Shue) and sampled vocals and rock riffs for the sudden appearances of St. Poppy. [Vertical Entertainment]


Some Kind of Beautiful (2014)

A fling with student Jessica Alba leads professor Pierce Brosnan on the road to single fatherhood and a rebound relationship with Alba's sister (and fellow Robert Rodriguez muse) Salma Hayek. The romantic comedy equivalent of white noise, with its attractive leads making for a painless experience. The most interesting thing about this movie is the musical history. Buckle up, 'cause it gets a little hairy: in the film's trailer, Newman was named as the film's sole composer, but in the credits, he is listed second behind Stephen Endelman. Given two different groups of music personnel in the end roller, it's clear that the men didn't collaborate on the score. The music budget seemed to only allow for electronics and the cues tend to run together, though the bits recognizable as Newman's are quite decent (the border crossing scene; Brosnan's drunk driving; the pier bonding scene between Brosnan, his son and a clearly-living-it-up-in-a-different-movie Malcolm McDowell as his father). [Saban Films/Lionsgate]


Army of One (2016)

Nicolas Cage plays a man who - guided by visions of God (Russell Brand!) - goes to Pakistan to bring Osama bin Laden to justice. Remarkably, this was based on a true story, though it’s hard not to be convinced that Cage was filmed in this much the same way Bobby Bowfinger filmed Kit Ramsey for "Chubby Rain". (This film was, after all, directed by Borat's Larry Charles. There's precedent.) A lot of talented performers are wasted in this...I guess it's a comedy? Speaking of Bowfinger, the earlier scenes establishing the main character hearken back to the funk stylings of the 1999 movie, though with more rock elements. The second half in Pakistan sees Newman utilizing a Middle Eastern sound leavened with electronics, though this addition seems more a budgetary move than an aesthetic choice. [Dimension]


Girls Trip (2017)

Four girlfriends reunite for a weekend of fun in New Orleans in this surprise hit comedy. Long and too raunchy by half, but the talented cast makes up a lot. Newman's score received a cut on the soundtrack ("Ryan's Theme"), which only scratched the surface of its presence. The sentimental moments receive orchestral treatment, while the comic scenes are funkier, making this score of a piece with Bowfinger and Malcolm D. Lee's Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins. [Universal]


Naked (2017)

One of that year's many riffs on Groundhog Day saw Marlon Wayans waking up naked in an elevator and reliving the same stretch of time as he tries to make it to his wedding. Newman's music receives surprising prominence and his response to this extra leg room is one of the liveliest scores he's written in years. The music is a good deal of fun, mainly in Wayans's thwarted journeys across Charleston, SC. [Netflix]


Night School (2018)

To get a better job, high school dropout Kevin Hart must attend night school for his GED, but hard-nosed teacher Tiffany Haddish won't make the journey an easy one in this amusing if unremarkable movie. If you liked Newman's previous works for director Malcolm D. Lee, this is very much in the same vein, with funk elements supplementing orchestral music and if thematic material is nonexistent, it's still gratifying that Newman has found a regular collaborator again. [Universal]


Green Eggs and Ham (2019)

Enjoyable Netflix-produced expansion of the classic Dr. Seuss book with failed inventor Guy-Am-I (Michael Douglas) finding himself stuck with Sam-I-Am (Adam Devine), whose interests are saving a rare Chickeraffe and the titular dish. From the voice talent to the lush animation, this seems to have had a lot of money thrown at it and this extends to the music, a 70(!)-piece orchestra utilized for each episode. Newman’s music has its share of highlights, such as the sweeping music for the Mouse’s flashback in episode seven and a touching cue for the late-night bonding in episode ten. The composer embraces a ‘Peter and the Wolf’-style approach for the characters: raucous music for the Chickeraffe, warmer scoring for Michellee and E.B., sneaky orchestral gestures for Mr. Snerz, smooth funk for pursuers McWinkle and Gluntz and squealing, Hell-spawned electric guitar riffs for the relentless Goat. [Netflix/Warner Bros.]

 


 

Incomplete

Anastasia (1997)

Don Bluth's animated retelling of the last survivor of the Romanov family resulted in Newman's (so far) lone Oscar nomination and while the Atlantic release featured 25 minutes of score alongside the (serviceable) songs, there are a good many cues missing, such as Bartok's trip to the underworld, the entire train sequence and the final showdown, featuring some especially effective quotes of the Flaherty/Ahrens song score (though merely okay as songs, they work gangbusters in supporting Newman's music). [20th Century Fox]


Ice Age (2002)

The first movie of the animated franchise is still the best, with good gags and an effective dramatic streak. The program of the Varese Sarabande CD is just about perfect, with the unreleased material amounting to a lot of mickey-mousing with the occasional sidetrip (like the lounge music for the hot tub tar pit) and one truly great suspense cue (for the sabertooth tigers debating how to best kill Manny). [Funnily enough, the Rusted Root song "Send Me On My Way" appears here. One supposes that the music supervisor figured that the combo of the tune and Newman's music worked pretty well for Matilda.] [20th Century Fox]


I Love Trouble (1994)

One could imagine the film pitched - a la The Player - as 'North by Northwest meets His Girl Friday': rival Chicago reporters Nick Nolte and Julia Roberts go on the run from killers and fall in love while trailing the same story. Sadly, the film's title didn't just apply to the on-set animosity between the leads; so late in the game was Newman hired (replacing Elmer Bernstein) that he had to re-write some cues on the scoring stage, with the end credits listing a dozen orchestrators. The Varese CD covers a lot of the highlights, primarily from the film's first half. Among some of the better missing bits: a fast-paced version of the 'travel' motif for the trek from Spring Creek and a 'Dies Irae'-like melody that drives the climactic showdown. [Touchstone]


The Marrying Man (1991)

Playboy Charley's (Alec Baldwin) pre-marriage dalliance with singer Vicky (Kim Basinger) gets him into hot water in this middling Neil Simon comedy, more entertaining in the proto-"Entourage" scenes with Charley's buddies than in the central romance (and what kind of mook willingly fools around with a mobster's dame?). Newman's big-band score is one of his most atypical...and one of his most underrated. The Hollywood Records release covered 10 minutes worth, but (between the softer moments and the brassy comic bits) there's always room for more. [Hollywood]


Mr. Destiny (1990)

So-so revamp of It's a Wonderful Life with James Belushi and Michael Caine as, more or less, George Bailey and Clarence. Newman's score was released by Varese Sarabande on a 30-minute album (with amusingly generic track titles). However, the inherent darkness of the premise comes through in some of the unreleased cues, such as a creepy, Throw Momma from the Train-esque string cue for Belushi stumbling onto important papers, a tense though ultimately hopeful piece for talking best friend-turned-nervous-wreck Jon Lovitz off a ledge and a mystical cue of piano and strings for Caine explaining the new path of Belushi's life. [Touchstone]


Norbit (2007)

The pairing of Eddie Murphy and make-up artist Rick Baker ran aground with this sporadically funny but cartoonish and exhausting comedy stuffed with caricatures and low humor. The Lakeshore album featured only 11 minutes of Newman's music (including a twangy main theme for Norbit and a lovely piano melody for Thandie Newton’s Kate) which, remarkably, is 90% of the score, the rest of the soundtrack taken up with needle drops. However, the missing cues are pretty good: an Asian-flavored piece for Mr. Wong chasing off the Lattimores and exciting music for the final showdown. [Dreamworks]


Out to Sea (1997)

Pleasant enough Lemmon-Matthau vehicle finds gambler Walter cajoling widower Jack into going on a cruise to attract available (read: wealthy) ladies...only they've signed on as dance instructors because they're certainly not affording this cruise otherwise. Milan's album covers half the score, with the "Main Title" making for a clever reflection of the racetrack opening, with a call-to-post fanfare, a bustling main theme and electronic nickering. There's also a love theme vaguely reminiscent of the one from Tommy Boy ("First Kiss", "Finale"). Among the best of the unreleased cues: a racing variation of the main theme for Lemmon's Herb trying to escape from the ship; a sneaky bit of Bowfinger brass for Matthau’s Charlie looking for a new suit; toreador-like horns for the dance lesson and some faux-Bond scoring for the casino sequence. [20th Century Fox]


Serenity (2005)

Spin-off of the cult hit TV series "Firefly" sees the crew shielding River from a determined Operative. Musically, an anomaly in Newman's oeuvre, utilizing a somewhat stripped-down orchestral palette, as befitting the space Western. Varese Sarabande's CD ran a generous 50 minutes, not leaving off too much of substance, save for the churning strings for the introduction of the Operative and an ethereal variation on the main theme in the bar scene. [Universal]


The War of the Roses (1989)

Danny DeVito's coal-black comedy about the dissolution of a marriage received a particularly elegant score from the composer. The Varese Club CD was the rare Newman album arranged into suites (including quite of bit of music that was dialed out of the final cut) and while it flows well enough, there are still a handful of cues missing, such as a tense piece for Barbara and Oliver sizing up their private dinner and the soft piano cue for Gavin recalling Barbara's visit. [20th Century Fox]


Oh, and, because I’m sure you’re all dying to know, here are the scores I’d most want to see released if I ran the chocolate factory:

 

Undercover Blues

Disorganized Crime

My Father, the Hero

The Freshman

The Marrying Man (complete)

Green Eggs and Ham

Other People’s Money

Death to Smoochy

My Life in Ruins

Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins



The opinions expressed about the movies and scores therein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the personnel of Film Score Monthly. Tor Y. Harbin is a film-music lover and writer for FSMOnline. Questions? Corrections? Feedback? Ripping recipes for tuna salad?

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