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Composed, Co-Orchestrated, and Conducted by:
David Newman

Co-Orchestrated by:
Alexander Janko

Produced by:
Robert Townson

Varèse Sarabande

Release Date:
August 10th, 1999

Also See:
Galaxy Quest

Themes from The Phantom Menace and Other Film Hits

Audio Clips:
7. Betsy Chases Kit/The First Shot (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

9. 'Chubby Rain' (0:30):
WMA (195K)  MP3 (242K)
Real Audio (150K)

10. Clothing Store (0:30):
WMA (193K)  MP3 (238K)
Real Audio (147K)

12. Fed Ex Delivers (0:30):
WMA (197K)  MP3 (243K)
Real Audio (151K)

Regular U.S. release.



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Sales Rank: 297648

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Buy it... if you appreciate 1970's retro funk in the mould of Lalo Schifrin, for Bowfinger uses it almost constantly to carry its cheesy attitude.

Avoid it... if you're a traditional David Newman fan curious about the magnificent three-minute orchestral finale cue that is available on a compilation elsewhere.

Bowfinger: (David Newman) Director Frank Oz's knack for taking ridiculous concepts and developing them into highly smart, entertaining films continued with 1999's Bowfinger, a comedy that pokes fun at Hollywood itself. With in-jokes galore, the script by Steve Martin is consistently funny from start to finish, especially for hardcore movie-goers familiar with the workings of the industry. Martin plays a filmmaker in the dumps, the kind of Ed Wood fanatic who produces B-rate trash with hearty zeal and decides at the most perilous financial moment in his life that the alien flick of his dreams is his ticket to success. He manages to achieve studio approval, but is forced to acquire an action star played by Eddie Murphy in order to get funding. When Murphy refuses, Martin's creative genius decides to feature the star without his knowledge, filming him in random public encounters with the remainder of the cast and hiring a hopelessly shy and untalented look-alike for other scenes. Highlighted by Murphy's dual performances, Bowfinger received praise all around and was a popular success. The film was just another atypical walk in the park for composer David Newman, whose career has been largely defined by films that don't make waves with their underscores. Like many of these projects, Bowfinger's music on screen is better represented by the numerous lovable songs licensed for the picture. Still, fans of the composer had heightened expectations for the project because it was the first venture for Newman since his Oscar-nominated (and certainly award-worthy) work for Fox's animated musical Anastasia. In terms of style, you couldn't get music any further from Anastasia than Bowfinger, which relies on a small jazz and funk band for the majority of its running time before unleashing one monumental orchestral theme at its triumphant conclusion. Fans of Lalo Schifrin 1960's and 1970's pizzazz, it's time to perk up, for Bowfinger swaggers into a cool territory that was experiencing a renaissance in the late 1990's. The ensemble for the majority of Bowfinger consists of two guitars, trumpet, bass, sax, drums, and keyboards, one of the last of which is programmed as a cheesy and obnoxious hammond organ.

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The retro style of the band is consistent in its upbeat, funky attitude during its entire length, often allowing simple, quirky rhythms to carry on for a minute or so in length before yielding to the next variation on the same general idea. Don't be looking for any themes or intelligent development in the score's jazzy, soul-influenced personality. Brightly showcased, that enthusiastic style busts the funk-o-meter in all but a couple of slightly suspenseful moments of pseudo tension. This is, after all, a parody of alien invasion movies of yesteryear, though Newman makes no real attempt to offer music appropriate to the sub-film within the story. Much of Newman's music is identical to that of the Major League baseball films... adequate comedy flick fun, but somewhat repetitive and pointless. Luckily, it lasts only 15 minutes and represents many smaller cues mixed together into suites (which works best because Bowfinger doesn't feature the type of underscore that is built around slapstick one-liner cues, or the quick, spastic hits of the ensemble that usually accompany such action on screen). The curious (and redeeming) aspect of Bowfinger is the three-minute orchestral cue at the end, with possibly the most powerful statement of theme from Newman since Hoffa. Not only are its bold horns completely out of place, but they tease fans of Newman's career with a cue that could very well have been a preview of the heroic theme to Galaxy Quest. A rhythm preceding this finale crescendo is interestingly similar to one of Jerry Goldsmith's Small Soldiers subthemes. Overall, the Bowfinger album only offers 18 minutes of score material and the two minutes of "Fed Ex Delivers" isn't worth the price of the album despite its strength. The longer half of the album is devoted to the equally retro songs that are likely to attract more mainstream attention to the product. While Johnny Adams' song at the very start tops the list in terms of style, it's hard to argue with the appeal of Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man." Newman fans eager to purchase only the three minutes of music recorded at the Newman Scoring Stage were treated to an encore offering of that cue on Varèse Sarabande's "Themes from The Phantom Menace and Other Film Hits" compilation from November of 1999. The cue does not, interestingly, appear on any of the label's large 25th or 30th anniversary sets. In sum, this one snippet of movie magic won't be worth the full score album for the majority of score fans. ** Price Hunt: CD or Download

Bias Check:For David Newman reviews at Filmtracks, the average editorial rating is 3.17 (in 12 reviews)
and the average viewer rating is 3.26 (in 18,741 votes). The maximum rating is 5 stars.

 Viewer Ratings and Comments:  

Regular Average: 2.48 Stars
Smart Average: 2.59 Stars*
***** 42 
**** 57 
*** 95 
** 145 
* 116 
  (View results for all titles)
    * Smart Average only includes
         40% of 5-star and 1-star votes
              to counterbalance fringe voting.
   The score wasn't that bad...
  Amuro -- 1/4/04 (5:59 p.m.)
Read All | Add New Post | Search | Help  

 Track Listings: Total Time: 41:21

• 1. "There is Always One More Time" - performed by Johnny Adams (3:40)
• 2. "You're a Wonderful One" - performed by Marvin Gaye (2:44)
• 3. "And I Love You So" - performed by Perry Como (3:16)
• 4. "Mambo U.K." - performed by iCubanismo! (5:36)
• 5. "Super Bad, Super Slick" - performed by James Brown (4:27)
• 6. "Secret Agent Man" - performed by Johnny Rivers (3:05)

Original Score:
• 7. Betsy Chases Kit/The First Shot/A Short Ride/Dave Makes a Call/Dave Returns Camera (4:18)
• 8. Cafe Set-Up/Shooting the Cafe/Stealing Renfro's Car/Auditioning the Butts (3:42)
• 9. 'Chubby Rain' (1:03)
• 10. Clothing Store/Daisy Rescues Kit (2:00)
• 11. The Observatory (4:22)
• 12. Finale/Fed Ex Delivers (2:50)

 Notes and Quotes:  

The insert includes no extra information about the score or film.

  All artwork and sound clips from Bowfinger are Copyright © 1999, Varèse Sarabande. The reviews and other textual content contained on the 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 9/3/99 and last updated 4/28/08. Review Version 5.1 (PHP). Copyright © 1999-2015, Christian Clemmensen (Filmtracks Publications). All rights reserved.