Film scores

Soundtrack review: Pontiac Moon (Randy Edelman – 1993)

pontiac-moon

Randy Edelman is one of my favorite creators of themes in film music world. I always get excited about a score by him because I know I will find something wonderful in there. From “Last of the Mohicans” to “Dragon – The Bruce Lee story” to my personal favorite “Daylight” he’s always been able to create memorable themes, themes that stuck and that I found myself humming or remembering fondly. The score I am reviewing now is for the 1993 film “Pontiac Moon” and is released by Quartet Records in complete form. It’s a road trip movie set in America in 1969 about a father and son crossing the country in order to reach the Earth to Moon distance on the odometer of their Potiac convertible just in time for the moon landing. No matter the subject of the film I know Edelman will pull something magic out of his hat, especially since the score comes from his golden decade, the 90s.

Just listen to the main titles and you will know what I mean when I say that there are very few composers as gifted as Randy Edelman. The main titles start with a sweeping and deep orchestral motif that just leaves me speechless. The beautiful main melody turns a little lighter then but remains almost epic in scale. It’s so wonderful to hear a cue like this! It brings nostalgia to me, it makes me dream, and it evokes vast plains and grand feelings in some moments and intimate musings in others. Chalk this up as another main theme to remember from this composer. My heart just sings when I hear it. It will return down the line and make me wonder if this is a nice road trip story or “Legends of the fall” I’m listening to. Randy Edelman goes grand and epic every now and then and just enjoys himself on this score. I hear a shadow of the dream that was “Somewhere in time” as well.

“Trusty old Chief” is another moment when I just feel like flying on the wings of this music that sends me to the most wonderful summer memories of my life. There’s no worry in the music, just a place like any other in the heart of America where an ordinary family goes through its joys and tribulations and we just happen to witness them. Is there a more wonderful feeling than this glowing normality sometimes? It’s life. Randy Elelman’s “Pontiac Moon” score is life; regular, normal, everyday life in which you get amusing moments, sadder moments or periods of intense joy. Those moments are punctuated by such epic and sweeping inserts that I remain speechless. This score is like a rollercoaster and the big descents are sudden and wonderful. Sometimes the melodies make me think of watching a photomontage of family photos.

Each cue of this score is a small tap on my wrist for every time I dismissed a feel good composition for a non-spectacular film. This is the kind of gem I could be missing on. I listen to “Pontiac Moon” and I let the music take me wherever it wants. We stop in a hot summer afternoon some 16 or 17 years ago when I was in college and summer meant 4 months of doing whatever I wanted. The memory this score chose for me is an afternoon where I just read a novel on the balcony of our mountain home until evening came. There are many memories like this one and I recapture that warm, fuzzy and peaceful feeling of being somewhere with my family and no pressures of the outside world when I listen to “Pontiac Moon”.

I have rarely heard a score that gave me butterflies for the entire duration. Listen to this release and tell me where it takes you…

Cue rating: 97 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 43 / 48

Album excellence: 89%

Highlights:

Main Titles

Andy The Outsider

Trusty Old Chief

Fred Intrudes / Classroom

Katherine Won’t Budges

The Chance

A Room With No Windows

Countdown / Blast Off

Katherine Finds Letter

Century Plant

Apollo 11 In The Sky

Katherine’s First Try

Katherine Must Merge

Photographs

Ernest Gives Feather

Newspaper

Andy Takes The Wheel

Fly Moon In Car / Andy Learns Truth

Dad Has To Relax

9m5

10m1

Cop Follow Washington

Andy Beats The Car

Andy’s Perfect Act / Crater Stunt

Crater Reunion

Do It For Katherine

One Small Step / Escape To Canada

About the author

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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