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CHARLIE BARTLETT – Christophe Beck

February 22, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Original Review by Clark Douglas

“Charlie Bartlett” is a film about a high school kid (played by Anton Yelchin) who becomes something of a “psychiatrist” for the kids in the school. He gives them the occasional advice, shoulder to lean on, and prescription drugs. From the dialogue clips that are included on this soundtrack album, he also gives them a peculiar monologue about a girl experiencing her first period. Despite the presence of the wonderful Robert Downey Jr., I never had too much interest in seeing the film. What little desire that may have remained was effectively killed by this soundtrack album.

This cd is a mess. After opening with the aforementioned monologue, it gives us two quick snips of Christophe Beck’s score, which feature hand-clapping and snappy rhythms. They’re interesting, but they’re gone by the time we get interested. A 1-minute song from Hard-Fi turns up, then a brief introspective score cue. Suddenly, we’re jerked into a piece of rock music, and as soon as that starts, another piece of dialogue involving words that start with the letter V (hint: not Vendetta). Then Curtis Mayfield launches into “Pusherman”. I suppose that there is a possibility that such a schizophrenic approach may seem brilliant to some, but by the time this album was over, I wanted to take it out and smash it.

Next we’ve got a jazz piece from Mark Edwards, pretty nice. Three more score cues, all too short to make an impact, and then a hard rock tune from The Subways. The first genuinely effective score cue is “Kip Overdoses”, which borrows liberally from the Beatles song, “She’s So Heavy”. Still, it sustains itself long enough to be worthwhile. The mood that sets is thrown off completely by an awful song from a Canadian indie group called Spiral Beach. Unfortunately, we’re forced to sit through two more Spiral Beach tunes before the album is over… neither of those are particularly good, either.

So, after a few more inconsequential score cues that riff on Charlie’s theme or little self-contained rock motifs, and a few more bland songs, the album mercifully comes to a close. I don’t suppose too much blame can be placed on composer Christophe Beck, whose “Year of the Dog” album did a much better job of presenting a small ensemble score. This is one to be skipped.

Rating: *

Track Listing:

    Charlie’s Monologue (dialogue) (1:23)

  • Charlie’s Theme (0:51)
  • Tennis (1:01)
  • Unnecessary Trouble (performed by Hard-Fi) (1:02)
  • Visiting Hours (1:17)
  • Selling DVDs (0:56)
  • Charlie and Shrinks (dialogue) (0:50)
  • Pusherman (performed by Curtis Mayfield) (5:02)
  • Jazz It Up (written by Mark Edwards, performed by Christophe Beck) (1:58)
  • Prescription Flash (0:59)
  • Cameras Going Up (0:38)
  • First Kiss (1:17)
  • Oh Yeah (performed by The Subways) (2:57)
  • Kip Overdoses (2:14)
  • Voodoo (performed by Spiral Beach) (3:26)
  • Passing Notes (1:08)
  • This is a School, Not a Prison (1:20)
  • New Clouds, Not Clouds (performed by Spiral Beach) (3:41)
  • Gardner Hits Bottom (1:19)
  • Day OK (performed by Spiral Beach) (2:19)
  • Seat On This Train (performed by Tom Freund) (4:22)
  • You’re Not Alone (3:26)
  • Dr. Bartlett (1:44)
  • If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out (performed by Kat Dennings) (2:10)

Running Time: 47 minutes 20 seconds

Lakeshore Records LKS-339182 (2007)

Music composed and conducted by Christophe Beck. Recorded and mixed by Steve Kaplan, Larry Mah and Brad Haehnel. Edited by Fernand Bos. Album produced by Christophe Beck.

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