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Soundtrack review: As good as it gets (Hans Zimmer, 1998)

Composer of the month Hans Zimmer Hans Zimmer month

Soundtrack review: As good as it gets (Hans Zimmer, 1998)


I chose “As good as it gets” to review for my Hans Zimmer month because it’s a movie with a  great sentimental value for me and because I wanted to explore Hans’s more unusual scores, the ones who are not as high profile and epic.

I went into this score expecting to hear all the complex features of Jack Nicholson’s character in the music. Sure, I’m expecting quirkiness but I forget all about it when “A better man” plays. This cue is so tender, so warm that it feels like the score is beginning with the end, where he finally comes around and proves he wants to be a better man. Hans Zimmer exposes the depth of the character and all the weight of the better man scene in a marvelous cue.

The score has already won me over, but this doesn’t mean I won’t listen to the rest of it. The music is elegant, melodic, with just the right dose of melancholy to voice the struggles of the main character. I consider “Too much reality” to be Melvin’s theme, because it changes mood a few times, it has a cello that really goes deep and also the quirkiness I was expecting.

“As good as it gets” is one of the lost gems of Hans Zimmer’s career. It’s often overlooked, but it truly deserves to be mentioned more. It sounds as if Patrick Doyle helped write it, it has joy in it, the joy of everyday life, the joy of discovering your true self, the joy of living. I listen to it and I feel good about life, it gets me looking forward to even the most mundane tasks of the day and it reminds me that it’s ok  to sometimes be a man in your own world, walking carefully and strangely in order to avoid the cracks in the pavement.

This score is a small and playful ray of light that finds its way to your face and rests there until you smile and cover your eyes.

Cue rating: 73 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 16 / 31

Album excellence: 50%


A Better Man

Too Much Reality

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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