Wishin' and Hopin'

Composed By: Matthew Llewellyn

Distributed by: MovieScore Media

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Based on the New York Times Best Seller by Wally Lamb, Wishin' and Hopin' is a Lifetime movie that takes place in 1960s New York.  In the movie, narrated by Chevy Chase, Felix Funicello looks back on his childhood, more specifically his time spent in Catholic school during the fifth grade.  Until that holiday season, Felix's biggest boast to fame was the fact that his cousin was Annette Funnicello.  But that Christmas season, a new substitute teacher (Molly Ringwald), a feisty new Russian student (Siobhan Cohen) and the Christmas pageant promise to propel Felix into a notoriety he could never before have imagined.

                The musical score of Wishin' and Hopin' was created by composer Matthew Llewellyn.  Growing up with music and learning to play classical piano and guitar in his early years, Llewellyn went on to attend Berklee College of Music, where he began scoring for short films while studying Film Scoring and Music/Business Management.  After pursuing a degree in Scoring for Motion Picture and Television at the University of Southern California, Llewellyn went on to create the musical scores for Dead Souls, Remains and Deep in the Darkness.

                Recorded with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra the score of Wishin' and Hopin' has a nostalgic air to it and a bit of familiarity to it.  Appearing throughout is a theme that sounds very similar to that found in John Williams' score for Home Alone, a score also used frequently in Lexus Christmas commercials.  The theme appears in various formats and speeds, performed by different varieties of instruments, but the sound is still the same.  That air of nostalgia is perfect for the film, reminding us that the narrator of the film is looking back on a very fond memory in his past.  The rare ominous sounding moment in the soundtrack is not as ominous as it could be, sounding like something one would expect to hear as the Evil Queen makes her presence known in Once Upon a Time.

                The music is enjoyable and fun and the theme sticks in your head, but I find it too close to John Williams' theme to truly praise it for it's uniqueness.  That's not to say that the Wishin' and Hopin' Soundtrack isn't fun to listen to, or perfect for the type of movie it was created for, just not all that creatively unique.


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