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Necessary Roughness
  • Composed by Bill Conti
  • Intrada / 2014 / 57m

I tried watching a game of American football once.  I didn’t understand it.  But then, I’m not American.  There seemed to be a few heavily-padded men who threw a ball around for a few seconds before a ten-minute break for commercials; the process was repeated endlessly.  I guess there’s more to it than first appeared.  Bill Conti’s not been bad at scoring sports movies over the years.  You’ve probably heard of a couple of them.  I’d never heard of Necessary Roughness and was confused at the album cover apparently featuring a moustachioed peanut wearing a hat and sunglasses, but Conti’s done some great music in his time and someone on a forum said it was a bit like Rookie of the Year (which is terrific) so I bought the album.  Rookie of the Year is great – cheesy, yes, but everyone needs a bit of cheese from time to time; more importantly, it’s got the most wonderfully bright, optimistic spirit and a true knockout of a cue called “Float It” which is just pure exhilaration.  Necessary Roughness is absolutely nothing like Rookie of the Year.

The warning signs are there from the opening bars of the main title cue, a horrible early-80s synth sound (no less unappealing, but a little more understandable, in a film from the early 80s; but this one’s from 1991).  Then the synthy sound blossoms into a kind of synth-pop hell (even if the liner notes claim the “horns” are actually horns – and perhaps they are, but they don’t sound like it).  Guitars, drums.  Don’t worry, there’s a marching band (drums only) on the way soon.  A bit of momentum starts building in the score then all of a sudden it stops again for the 32-second “Planetarium Source”, which shouldn’t be anywhere near the main album programme.  Ah, a bit of clanging.  A few more synthy burps.  Rock guitars!  Country instrumentals.  Oh boy.  Sorry, it’s all just so naff – I’ve no doubt it’s well-meaning and it’s certainly enthusiastic but it’s cringeworthy.  Truly, anything can get released these days.

Rating: * | |

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  1. Chris Avis (Reply) on Friday 28 March, 2014 at 23:42

    So many of the soundtracks I regret buying started with me realizing “someone on a forum said this sounds great!” Glad to hear I’m not the only one that ends up in these situations!


  2. spielboy (Reply) on Saturday 29 March, 2014 at 13:09

    in a soundtrack forum there is always someone who says that new release is awesome, a holy grail, a great improvement in sound over the previous 20 releases of same score, a revelation of an expansion of a forgetable soundtrack…

    so dont trust forums (I read it in one)

  3. Gorbadoc (Reply) on Saturday 29 March, 2014 at 14:40

    This is the reason I never buy a CD before I’ve heard at least (part of) one track (preferably, I listened to the full soundtrack beforehand).

  4. AJ (Reply) on Sunday 30 March, 2014 at 13:40

    Your reviews for bad scores are the best (humour wise) James. Keep it up.

  5. Jeff (Reply) on Monday 31 July, 2017 at 21:09

    Guess I’m in the minority but I felt the actual theme for this movie was pretty good. It had that college marching band vibe to it.

    Mind you I’m only talking the opening and closing cues but still, I’ve heard far worse.