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Section Header
As Good As It Gets
(1997)
Composed, Arranged, and Co-Produced by:
Hans Zimmer

Orchestrated by:
Bruce Fowler
Suzette Moriarty

Conducted by:
Harry Gregson-Williams
Lucas Richmond

Co-Produced by:
Adam Smalley

Label:
Sony Music Soundtrax

Release Date:
January 13th, 1998

Also See:
Nine Months
Crimson Tide

Audio Clips:
1. As Good As It Gets (0:31):
WMA (204K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

2. A Better Man (0:30):
WMA (202K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

6. Greatest Woman on Earth (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

13. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (0:30):
WMA (200K)  MP3 (254K)
Real Audio (179K)

Availability:
Regular U.S. release.

Awards:
  Nominated for an Academy Award.









As Good As It Gets

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Buy it... if you seek the tender, romantic side of Hans Zimmer's writing, confined here mostly to lovely string, piano, and woodwind melodies.

Avoid it... if hearing Zimmer write essentially a Rachel Portman score is a twisted reality too horrific for your masculine ears to handle.



Zimmer
As Good As It Gets: (Hans Zimmer) While true veteran collectors of Hans Zimmer's early work had heard the "Jim Brooks side" of the composer's writing, most people were only familiar with the "Jerry Bruckheimer side" of his career. In fact, his early works included a substantial amount of material similar to the delightful As Good As It Gets, but perhaps not in as effective or popular of a package. The Brooks film of 1997 was a showcase of fine acting, placing Jack Nicholson's obsessive character against Helen Hunt's witty one, with topics of racism and homophobia also touched upon in this ultimate feel-good character drama. While beaten soundly by Titanic at the Oscars, it brought home the lead acting trophies and gained a fourth nomination for Zimmer. Brooks was obviously the first and foremost fan of Hans Zimmer in the world at the time, as his orgasmic interviews about the collaboration and liner notes to the album all clearly indicate. At a time when Zimmer and the Media Ventures clones following him were all starting to sound one-dimensional, As Good As It Gets was a very refreshing score, even though it's still a lightweight in the overall scheme. Comparatively, the score is a more developed variation on the same sound that was heard in I'll Do Anything and Younger & Younger, with references made to Nine Months and A League of Their Own. If this doesn't give you an immediate idea about the aim of the score, then the rest of this review is simply going to sound like an analysis of a typical 1990's Rachel Portman light comedy/romance score. If Zimmer has ever stepped on the toes of Portman or Patrick Doyle, it would be with As Good As It Gets, and the genuinely innocent and upbeat attitude and swing of Zimmer's work here is especially reminiscent of Portman. The ensemble for As Good As It Gets is tiny; just a dozen or two orchestral players from the string and woodwind sections are joined by a pianist and a handful of very slight electronic effects that are barely noticeable. While this group may sound sparse, their output at times is considerably lush.

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The personalities of the primary characters of the film are all well addressed by Zimmer's music. Nicholson's character is treated to a disjointed, chopping string rhythm led by cello, whipped into a self-absorbed frenzy in an almost tango-like rhythm. Hunt's character, meanwhile, is given tender piano and woodwind theme straight from the Portman playbook, an interesting choice of instrumental representation given that Nicholson is a piano performer in the film. Her theme provides most of the pure beauty in the score (while the dancing string theme is more frivolous), and matures well in "A Better Man." That cue, easily the best on the album, contains the most memorable cue from the film, a overhead travel sequence with the full ensemble in harmony over a more aggressive rhythm. Several other sub-themes and motifs are presented for the other characters in the film, as well as an overarching love story idea. In terms of expressing complexity with such a small group, Zimmer impresses with the layers of strings nearly always moving in counterpoint for Nicholson's character. Some of that discord straightens itself out by the end of the film, naturally mirroring the character. A few cues are worth mentioning because of their direct references: "Humanity" opens with a few bars seemingly lifted directly from Nine Months and "1.2.3.4.5" has a strangely curious thematic connection to the completely unrelated score for The Untouchables in the latter half of its first minute. On album, about 30 minutes of Zimmer's score (an adequate and satisfying amount) are followed by the light female-vocalized rock songs heard in the film (with the exception of one). The album concludes with a sign of Zimmer's good humor; an Art Garfunkel cover version of the Eric Idle/Monty Python song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" features backing by the Crimson Tide deep, male chorus in a hilarious juxtaposition of sounds. While the cleansed lyrics are disappointing, you still can't help but thank Zimmer for suggesting the piece to Brooks for inclusion in the film and on album. Overall, As Good As It Gets is an easy and lovable score, and while a 55-minute bootleg of Zimmer's work for the film is traded on the secondary market, the commercial album has more than enough charm for most listeners. ****   Amazon.com Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For Hans Zimmer reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3 (in 87 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.02 (in 262,786 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.





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 Track Listings: Total Time: 54:21


• 1. As Good As It Gets (1:25)
• 2. A Better Man (5:36)
• 3. Humanity (6:26)
• 4. Too Much Reality (6:07)
• 5. 1.2.3.4.5 (3:55)
• 6. Greatest Woman on Earth (7:46)
• 7. Everything My Heart Desires - performed by Danielle Brisebois (4:00)
• 8. Under Stars - performed by Phil Roy (3:33)
• 9. My Only - performed by Danielle Brisebois (1:47)
• 10. For Sentimental Reasons (I Love You) - performed by Nat King Cole (3:06)
• 11. Hand on My Heart - performed by Judith Owen (3:45)
• 12. Climb On (A Back That's Strong) - performed by Shawn Colvin (4:15)
• 13. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - performed by Art Garfunkel (2:39)




 Notes and Quotes:  







   
  All artwork and sound clips from As Good As It Gets are Copyright © 1998, Sony Music Soundtrax. The reviews and other textual content contained on the filmtracks.com 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 1/17/98 and last updated 1/9/07. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1998-2013, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.