Waiting for "Superman"

Musical Score By: Christophe Beck

Distributed by: Lakeshore Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            In movies, books and television shows, whenever there is a damsel in distress, you can usually count on a hero to save the day.  Often times that hero has some kind of superpower and, with some minor setbacks, will destroy the villain and their evil plan.  So, what happens in the real world?  What happens when the invisible villain is set on the destruction of our children’s public school system?  Who will swoop to the rescue of our children?  In the documentary, Waiting for “Superman,” Director Davis Guggenheim follows a group of promising children as they endure a journey through an educational system that holds them back instead of encouraging their academic growth.

            The soundtrack of Waiting for “Superman” was composed by Christophe Beck.  Having begun his musical scoring journey in 1992, studying musical scoring with Jerry Goldsmith at USC, Beck has amassed quite a diverse resume of television and film scores.  His credits include the musical scores of the television series White Fang, the Buffy the Vampire television series, Bring It On, Under the Tuscan Sun, The Hangover, We Are Marshall, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, Death at a Funeral and more.

            There was a great deal of hype over this documentary and I expected the soundtrack of Waiting for “Superman” to be fraught with dramatic undertones with little hints of the innocence of youth thrown in for good measure.  Instead, what we have is a serious of short tracks with very little cohesiveness when played as an album.  There are some dramatic pieces with morose piano themes that perhaps musically express the disappointment of our public school system.  The longest tracks appear at the end of the album and, despite being longer, really didn’t attract my attention much.

            I have yet to see this documentary and it is possible that Beck was creating each track for a specific scene with no thought of interweaving the pieces.  However, if that was the case, what was the point of distributing the musical score as a soundtrack album?  I had some high expectations for the Waiting for “Superman” Soundtrack, but apparently, just like the kids in the film, my superhero failed to rescue me from my plight.


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