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VCL 0505 1037

Artwork copyright (c) 2005 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.; review copyright (c) 2005 James Southall



All-time-classic movie finally sees its score released!


The advent and subsequent explosion in popularity of the internet has led to many things: examples include the opportunity for people to buy Siberian tigers for $30,000; to view constantly-updated pictures of back gardens of people you've never heard of; to pay a small fortune to have live chats with 55-year-old fat, bald men pretending to be teenage girls; and, for clueless morons like me, to set up websites and ramble on inanely to their hearts' content.  Another thing it has done is to make it entirely viable for record companies to bring out limited editions of the most unlikely film scores, both from years gone by and the present day, which would never have been possible beforehand.  

I can't imagine too many people were clamouring to hear Basil Poledouris's score from the 1984 teen comedy Making the Grade before its 2005 release in the Varese Sarabande CD Club.  It's not a film which made much impression on me - especially given that I'd never even heard of it before this release.  However, like any self-respecting film music fan would do, I ordered it straight away  - there were only 1,000 pressed, after all.  They sold out within hours, predictably enough.  685 of those copies now sit in various people's garages, still in their shrinkwrapping, as the most shrewd businessmen wait to sell them at a large profit on Ebay.  Wonderful.  Anyway, I have done extensive research into the movie and it seems that it is a comic masterpiece starring Judd Nelson - who has surely never made a less-than-classic film.  One look at his recent credits (Cybermutt, Lethal Eviction and TV: The Movie) reveals that he is an actor still very much at the peak of his powers, who will surely be going down in history alongside Olivier and Gielgud.  The film was directed by Dorian Walker, whose impressive list of credits also includes Teen Witch and The Greatest Adventure of My Life (starring the great Cody Newton, who you may remember from The Chester Story).

The music is an eclectic affair, flitting from faux baroque stylings ("Hoover Academy") to old-fashioned swelling strings ("Cary Grant"), over-the-top chorus ("Nicky Buys Hoover" - a scene in the film sandwiched in between "Nicky Buys Iron" and "Nicky Buys Toaster"), cheesy sax-and-synths 80s stuff ("Golf Chase") and a rather sweet and attractive main theme played in most of the above styles.  It's all quite good fun, entirely listenable - if entirely forgettable - and probably the 1980s equivalent of those cheesy comedy scores Johnny Williams wrote for cringe-worthy films in the 1960s.  I find it virtually unbelievable that something like this can get released, and indeed sell out, but it's fun enough that I'm not going to complain about that - and, frankly, no amount of money would be too much to pay to read Richard Kraft's incredibly witty liner notes.  I'm not going to complain about getting it for $20, but frankly I do feel a bit for the people who'll be buying it for $500 in a couple of years.


  1. Hoover Academy (1:34)
  2. Palmer's Mansion / Robin Hood (1:20)
  3. Biff and Muffy (1:10)
  4. Cary Grant (2:11)
  5. Fire Drill / La Crosse / Hoover Award (1:54)
  6. Diceman's Dilemma / Shopping for Preppies (2:01)
  7. Violins for Muffy (:46)
  8. Good Fortune (1:40)
  9. Nicky Buys Hoover / Horse Play / 1st Call to Breakfast (1:52)
  10. Class Act / Good Presents (1:57)
  11. Graduation (2:21)
  12. Love Montage (2:01)
  13. Golf Chase (2:10)
  14. Making the Grade (1:09)
  15. Come If You Want To (1:24)
  16. Living on the Edge Shandi (3:02)
  17. Double Trouble Shandi (3:12)
  18. The Diceman Cometh (2:15)