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Soundtrack review: When the games stands tall (John Paesano, 2014)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: When the games stands tall (John Paesano, 2014)


“When the game stands tall” in a sports drama, about an American football team that goes on an unbelievable 12 years long winning streak, and what happens after they lose. The movie stars two of my favorite actors, Jim Caviezel and Michael Chicklis, among others. John Paesano wrote the score, and it’s a good year for him, considering his work on “The maze runner” as well.
I love sports dramas. I am a big sports fan and these movies are some of my favorites. I know what kind of music I’d like to hear in them, so I was curious about “When the game stands tall”. The score starts as it should, the title song is dramatic and emotional and sets the right mood for a movie like this. As soon as I heard this one and “The streak”, the second cue, I was transported write away back to football or boxing dramas I used to love. “The streak” is exciting and brimming with confidence.
Serious cues like “Heart attack”, “Brothers for life” or “TK’s funeral” remind me of the best Thomas Newman tracks. I actually got a “Shawshank redemption” or “The green mile” vibe from them. They are low key, minimalist piano pieces, but still warm and with a silver lining in them. They don’t make the listener plunge into depression, there’s still a little hope in there. I really like that. This is sports: no matter how bad things get, nothing is definitive, and you know you can still get up. There’s always the next game, race, or the next year. Sports never ends.  This is sports, and John Paesano nailed how it feels, how the doubt and the shake of confidence feel and how inspiration feels.
For me, this score is not necessarily about the overall triumph in sports. It’s more about the inside world of the ones playing sports, their doubts, their inspiration and they personal trials. I really enjoyed this score and I fell it will become a classic in the sports drama music world. I will surely come back and listen to it when in need. It’s a special score for special moments.
My ratings:
Cue rating: 76/100
Total minutes of excellence: 33/43
Album excellence: 77%
Cues to listen to:
When The Game Stands Tall
The Streak
Team Wins 151st
What Did I Do?
Heart Attack
Brothers For Life
Tks Funeral
The Streak Is Over
State Championship
Spartans Prevail
Spartans For Life
Mihnea Manduteanu

I have been listening to film music for 25 years and writing about it since 2014. I've written over 1000 reviews and I can't imagine myself doing anything else. I am also a member of IFMCA (International Film Music Critics Association).

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