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Soundtrack review: The wannabe (Nathan Larson – 2016)

Film scores

Soundtrack review: The wannabe (Nathan Larson – 2016)


“The Wannabe” is a 2015 American drama film written and directed by Nick Sandow. The film stars Patricia Arquette, David Zayas, Domenick Lombardozzi, Michael Imperioli, Vincent Piazza and Nick Sandow. Obsessed with mob culture, and desperate to fit in, Thomas sets out to fix the 1992 trial of John Gotti. He believes if the plan is executed, it will put him at the center of all that he idolizes. The plot is foiled, setting off events worthy of mob lore. The Wannabe intertwines real people and true events, past and present, with fantasy. Nathan Larson wrote the score.

In the beginning the score seems to focus on the sarcastic angle of the story or the moments when the main character fantasizes about mob culture and life. I get that impression from a cue like “Cosa nostra go-round” which sounds as if someone is dreaming of a fairy tale land, idolizing a concept. It’s sometimes difficult for me to connect with comedic cues like this without seeing the supported images; something seems to be missing. When I listen to music on its own I look for a reflection of my thoughts or my state of mind or for moments I will want to return to when I’m in a certain mood. Comedic cues don’t really work that way and they are much more enjoyable in context. “The wannabe” has a lot of moments like this and I get the feeling of being in the theater, watching a comedy with the screen off and just the sound on. I’m sure there’s something fun or exciting going on there but I’m only getting half the experience.

There are some moments I can relate to in “The wannabe”: there’s a lovely theme like “Rose” which is written with such care and love that I instantly believe it; there’s the addictive pace of “Bqe” or the ambient second half of “Making moves”. Other times (“Get smacked” or “The Costello hit”) are a bit too quiet and once again probably work much better in the sneaking around context of the movie.

I like how the composer experiments with different sounds and pieces and a musical puzzle like “Verdict” is quite fascinating; it’s written as if it wanted to include the thoughts buzzing the minds of all those involved at the time of the verdict.

I look at this score as a musical satire. If you enjoy a cocktail of comedic and suspenseful music you will have a good time with “The wannabe”. I will remain with the beautiful atmospheric moments like “The beach” or “Headstones” and with a curiosity to see the movie.

Cue rating: 76 / 100

Total minutes of excellence: 4/ 38

Album excellence: 6%



The Beach


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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