Home > Reviews > RESURRECTING THE CHAMP – Larry Groupé

RESURRECTING THE CHAMP – Larry Groupé

Original Review by Jonathan Broxton

A powerful sports drama directed by Rod Lurie, Resurrecting the Champ stars Josh Hartnett as up-and-coming sports writer Erik Kernan. One day, Erik steps in to saves a homeless man from being beaten up by a group of rowdy college kids, and unexpectedly discovered that the intended victim is not some random bum, but former boxing great Bob Satterfield (Samuel L. Jackson), once believed to have passed away but who had actually fallen on hard times. Intent on writing Satterfield’s story, and ‘rescuing’ the ex-champion from what he sees to be an ignominious fate, Erik and Bob strike up an unlikely friendship, the knock-on effect from which is an opportunity for Erik to reexamine his own life, and especially his relationship with his young son (Dakota Goyo) and his ex-wife (Kathryn Morris).

Resurrecting the Champ offered a rare opportunity to score a mainstream film for the hugely talented but massively under-utilized Larry Groupé; since Groupé stopped being John Ottman’s regular conductor and orchestrator towards the end of the 1990s, he scored the political drama The Contender, the acclaimed TV series Line of Fire and Commander in Chief, and even went on tour with Yes, but remains one of the most gifted composers not to be working in Hollywood on a regular basis.

His score here is based on two ideas: a hopeful solo piano theme, performed by Groupé himself, for Erik, and a more emotional, melancholy orchestral theme for The Champ, as if to illustrate the tragedy of how this former great warrior’s life ended up literally in the gutter. Groupé’s music always has an appealing warmness, and Resurrecting the Champ is no exception: the piano performances in “Old School”, “I’m Champ” and the conclusive “Resurrecting Champ” are superb, while the likes of “The Truth”, “Career Day”, “Some Mistakes” and the spine-tingling “Champ Dies” are filled with a lushness, and a sense of sensitivity and nobility which is extremely effective and appealing.

Other cues of note include the bustling, flamboyant, staccato trio “Grossingers”, “Crossroads” and “Hot Off the Presses”. One can only hope that, on the back of scores like this, as well as his past efforts, someone FINALLY sees fit to give Larry Groupé his scoring shot at the Hollywood mainstream. God knows, he’s far too talented to not get one.

Rating: ***½

Track Listing:

  • Old School (1:16)
  • Grossingers (1:59)
  • Babe I Like Your Walk (performed by Neville Ivey) (3:13)
  • The Truth (1:55)
  • Shadow of My Father (2:33)
  • Backyard Talk (1:37)
  • Crossroads (2:43)
  • Ready or Not (performed by The Submarines) (4:03)
  • I’m Champ (2:32)
  • Champ Sees Old Video (1:09)
  • Career Day (1:26)
  • The Right Thing (1:01)
  • Five Points (1:32)
  • Zulu Segue (performed by Shinzuku Zulu) (5:17)
  • For the Record (1:31)
  • Hot Off the Presses (1:29)
  • Some Mistakes (2:34)
  • Champ Dies (1:05)
  • Land of Quiet Poems (performed by Chris Stills) (2:59)
  • Resurrecting Champ (2:49)

Running Time: 44 minutes 34 seconds

Rykodisc RCD-19034 (2007)

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