Dennis McCarthy scores PRO-Trump quasi-documentary! :(

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    Did any of you catch this? Amazing debacle at FSM recently, when BSX announced the release of Dennis McCarthy’s score to a new “quasi-documentary” called DEATH OF A NATION that is ludicrously pro-Trump. Three threads closed at this time:

    I’m rather shocked and saddened that McCarthy would take part in this (a new form of “McCarthyism”?). What are your thoughts on this?


    Yikes! I haven’t been at the FSM board for a while because of vacation, and I didn’t know about the release until you posted this, Thor. I saw it mentioned in the PR e-mail from BuySoundtrax that I received yesterday, but I just looked at it very quickly, and from the title and the cover I actually assumed it was an ANTI-Trump movie! :-O

    Of course this brings up the question of to what degree you can – or should – separate the man from the work. The score may be terrific, but I have to say that my respect for McCarthy, whose work I generally enjoy, IS down a few notches now, seeing him associated with something that is, reportedly, blatantly propagandistic and so in opposition to my own views. Granted, I haven’t seen the movie, but what I’ve read so far does NOT make we want to. I hear it won four of the five Razzie categories it was nominated for…

    Malte MüllerMalte Müller

    While you can appreciate a work on the „technical“ level, you of course never can fully ignore the context of a work it is attached to. And neither can the artist. Work for hire is a reason (we have the saying „I was young and needed the money“…) but of course that’s a bit simple.

    However I would not be that quick with damming him because of one possibly wrong decision what to score.… Also he might not have been aware how the movie will turn out later as you often don’t really see that when it is made. Which might have happened especially if he didn’t score the final cut.

    But at least BSX managed to make the cover look fittingly 😉 And always have to think of Goldsmith’s Rambo 2+3 which I do like as action scores a lot as the films are quite problematic as well and got a lot worse reviews back then.



    There are times where I can appreciate a score on its own terms, separated from its horrendous context. Like the old Riefenstahl scores or Breil’s music for THE BIRTH OF NATION. But they’ve had time to simmer. They’re not relevant today, in our own time and culture. So something like this feels far more offensive. I’ve decided that I’m not even going to listen to the samples.

    I think I’ll still be able to enjoy my album of STAR TREK: GENERATIONS (and his work on MACGYVER), but as Nils said — from now on, there will always be a bitter aftertaste, even if I dismiss this as a one-off misjudgement on McCarthy’s behalf.

    Malte MüllerMalte Müller

    Thor, I do absolutely understand what you mean and his has some bitter taste with it for sure.

    They’re not relevant today, in our own time and culture.

    Well, the Riefenstahl movies itself are sort of relevant at least over here being from times we really never want to repeat.

    But back to McCarthy: I don’t know anything about where McCarthy stands political. We always assume that artists are moderate area but let’s not forget this is USA. When it comes to patriotism they are sometimes strange from our European point of view. He may have voted for T. and may have scored this with conviction or not. Actually I would love to see an interview with him addressing this topic as that be very interesting and rewarding.


    Actually I would love to see an interview with him addressing this topic as that be very interesting and rewarding.

    Sure, I’d love to hear that too. But nothing he says will make me forgive him, not even a “oh, I just did it for the money”-type excuse. But I’d still be curious to hear his motivation.

    Malte MüllerMalte Müller

    a “oh, I just did it for the money”-type excuse

    That would indeed be a very pragmatic but lame and unpolitical reason. Nevertheless we’re spekulating here. Maybe he is upset what that documentary turned out to be but couldn’t do anything afterwards. Afterall a ontract is a contract. German intellectual property law has a paragraph that could help here but US copyright is less author but more user centered.

    So how about getting him on your podcast for an interview? 😉


    He, he…Dennis McCarthy wasn’t really on the top of my wish list even before this assignment, but if an opportunity opens, why not?

    Malte MüllerMalte Müller

    Would surely result in some exposure, think of all the trekkies 😉

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