Bartlett (2007, release moved to 2008)
Director: Jon Poll
Score soundtrack released 2007.10 Lakeshore Records (LKS 339182)
"[people like you ARE THE REASON why people like me NEED MEDICATION]" (t-shirt print)
Dark comedy. Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) doesn't fit in at school so sets out to become the school psychiatrist and win friends in the process.
Beautifully engaging film about a rich, intelligent 17 year old who just wants to be popular in his new high school. The script hums along nicely with a glint in its eye, as does the acting which is spot on. It won't change your life or leave you in hysterics but has complete charm and you warm to the characters quickly. No baddies, no bitches, no gross-out comedy, no wonder it didn't hit the big time, but it makes for very a diverting DVD viewing.
THE SOUNDTRACK AND CD
Chris Beck's music hits the bullseye, cheeky but not outrageous, low key but not invisible (electric guitar-led), matching the jazzy elements of the title character's musical tastes. In fact, Chris Beck plays the piano for Mark Edwards' 'Jazz it up' - a fantastic cue on its own which works perfectly in diegetic and non-diegetic senses on film. The CD soundtrack mixes the pop, score and dialogue in a friendly and engaging way. A good choice, since all play their part in the film and would stand pretty feebly on their own. Beck's score alone would probably have made for a nice 10-15 minute suite, but for once it feels right to have it scattered and mixed with the other elements as they are all well-chosen.
Charlie Bartlett is one of a gaggle of recent scores from Chris Beck which go some way towards showing his adaptability when it comes to film scoring. Charlie's theme (presented in track 2) is a cheeky jazz number - a syncopated piano line (see example on left) with clapping, percussion, guitar and pizz double bass. This combo filters through most of the score's cues and is therefore a significant part of the film's identity, since without the groovy beat, the group also serves successfully in the role of unassuming underscore. The CD release helpfully adds in a liberal helping of more contemporary-sounding pop (most of it from Spiral Beach), and a few handy snippets of dialogue, both of which are relevant to the soundtrack of the film. This rock side is also reflected in some of Beck's grittier cues, such as 'Selling DVDs' (see also tracks 17,19,22); or 'Kip overdoses', which features electric guitar solos, but note how the composer deftly shifts back to piano with a more lilting version of Charlie's theme. In fact due to the eponimous character's constant presence in the film both physically and metaphorically, his theme returns again and again in various forms, such as developed between performers in 'Passing notes' or a love theme derived from the 2nd-4th notes in 'First kiss'. This doesn't guarantee an oft-repeatable listening experience on CD because Beck's music consists of quite brief cues, but it may do wonders for the film, and for once the CD's mix of score, dialogue and pop works in its favour, rounded off by a more adventurous version of Charlie's jazz theme ('Dr. Bartlett') followed by the odd choice of a reflective little song 'If you want to sing out, sing out' care of Kat Dennings.
01. Charlie's monologue [dialogue]
02. Charlie's theme [clip]
04. Unnecessary trouble - HardFi
05. Visiting hours
06. Selling DVDs
07. Charlie & Shrinks [dialogue]
08. Pusherman - Curtis Mayfield
09. Jazz it up - by Mark Edwards, performed by Christophe Beck
10. Prescription flush
11. Cameras going up
12. First kiss [clip]
13. Oh yeah - The Subways
14. Kip overdoses [clip]
15. Voodoo - Spiral Beach
16. Passing notes
17. This is a school, not a prison
18. New clouds, not clouds - Spiral Beach
19. Gardner hits bottom
20. Day OK - Spiral Beach
21. Seat on this train - Tom Freund
22. You're not alone
23. Dr. Bartlett
24. If you want to sing out, sing out - Kat Dennings
Charlie's theme, as presented in track 2: see music ex. to the left.
Degress of Beck:
Anton Yelchin who plays Bartlett also acted in two episodes of TV'sThe Practice in 2002 which had previously been scored by... Christophe Beck!
Music credits on CD
Score composed and produced by Christophe Beck
Score published by SE SKE Music, LLC (SESAC)
Piano arrangements by Adam Blau
Recorded by Steve Kaplan and LArry Mah
Mixed by Brad Haehnel
David Carpenter (double bass)
Wayne Bergeron (trumpet)
Tom Rizzo, George Doering (guitars)
John Robinson, Wade Culbreath, Michael Fisher (percussion)
John Robinson (drums)
Randy Kerber (piano)
Recorded and mixed at Village Recorders
End credits (on film):