Film scores

Soundtrack review: My All American (John Paesano – 2015)

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“My All-American” is a 2015 American biographical drama sport film based on the life of college football player Freddie Steinmark. The film was written and directed by Angelo Pizzo. It is based on the book Courage Beyond the Game: The Freddie Steinmark Story by Jim Dent. The film stars Finn Wittrock, Sarah Bolger, Robin Tunney and Aaron Eckhart. Freddie Steinmark, an underdog on the gridiron, faces the toughest challenge of his life after leading his team to a championship season. I love sports dramas, this is one of my favorite genres. John Paesano wrote the score and I am happy with the choice, because he already proved he can deliver the emotion and motivation needed for such a story with “When the game stands tall” last year.

I love the respectful horns from the opening cue “Coach remembers”. The music sets the kind of mood I need to enjoy a sports drama score. Somehow the military sounding inserts, be they horns or marching band percussions fit with the idea of sports and discipline. I listen to the gentle and heartfelt musical moments that John Paesano creates here and I marvel at the thought that this is the guy who gave us the thundering scores for “The maze runner”. Sure there was a lot of emotion there as well but also rough action that showed the range of this great composer.

I like how this score checks the boxes I have in my mind regarding a story like this one: the optimistic beginning, the first hurdles, the first doubts, the trials, the training (the ‘First practice” and “Second practice” cues are spectacular and fresh like a spring day), and the goose bumps inducing triumph (“Texas wins” will be on the list of my favorite cues of the year). And it’s not just that… I listen to a sweet little cue like “Mr. Outside” and I check again if this isn’t somehow a lost James Horner piece. “My all American” has moments when it channels the same quiet mix of innocence and emotion a lot of Horner’s score had.

John Paesano understood perfectly how a score like this should be written. He didn’t go for drama for the sake of drama and he didn’t try to extort feelings from the listener. He went human and intimate with his score and wrote music that speaks from the inside. I can connect more easily and lastingly with a score that feels real and honest and this one can be hung on any wall next to trophies. With a minimalistic but poignant sound, “My all American” made me feel, care, remember and even dream of my own successes. I absolutely loved this beautiful score and anyone who wants to hear sports drama done right should rush and get it.

Cue rating: 91 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 32 / 62

Album excellence: 51%

Highlights:

Freddie And

Lakewood

Mr. Outside

University

First Practice

Second Practice

New Quaterback

Visit From

Steinmark

Texas Wins

Linda Sees

Welcome Back

My All American

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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