Given the opportunity to have dinner with anyone of my choosing, I would invite Klaus Badelt, John McClane and Sam Seaborn.
Klaus Badelt composed the score to the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, and though it eludes me why Hans Zimmer took over for Pirates 2, 3 and 4 it is no mystery why the score of the first movie moves me so. I’m a sucker for a lot of things–biceps, blue eyes, sharp wit, dimples…and strings, especially the cello. Just as I feel some biceps look better than others (if it looks like a balloon about to pop, it’s too big), some string arrangements sound better than others (Yellowcard-okay; Mumford-less okay). When it comes to the score of Pirates, Mr. Badelt has created the perfect balance between fluid movement and dynamic power. Though the strings and drums are prominent throughout the entire soundtrack, there’s enough music from the other instruments to keep the music from becoming predictable or repetitive.
Honestly, when I listen to the soundtrack, it’s like I can see it. As the music grows and fades I can almost feel the notes rising and falling like the chest of a living breathing body or like the rolling waves of the sea. Unlike other movie scores, there are enough different themes throughout the soundtrack to keep it interesting. I’ve listened to this soundtrack since the movie came out and it still grabs my attention and holds my interest. To this day, I am incapable of listening to “To the Pirates’ Cave” without imagining a gymnastics floor routine, dynamic and dramatic.
There are times when you listen to a song and you can just feel the beat. Your foot or finger may start tapping without you realizing it because the beat has become a part of you, as much a part of you as the beat of your own heart. I want to have dinner with Klaus Badelt because this music is his creation. His ideas, his thoughts brought to life can affect me so, and thus I’d love the opportunity to tell him how much his music means to me.
John McClane is the coolest guy I know, much to the disappointment of the guys I know in real life. John McClane is a smart mouth, an alcoholic, a hero and a badass. He is not a good husband and not the best father (well,… he loses points for not being around but wins major points for the length he goes to save his kids). He is at times a bit of a jerk, but what I admire about this guy is his sense of humor and his perseverance.
Those who know me are familiar with my sense of humor – it’s difficult for me to NOT make a cheesy joke when the opportunity is presented. Case in point: my boss and I were discussing problems with protein powders and he said, “There’s no way…” at which point I interrupted and said, “No ‘whey’, get it, hahaha…” (True story).
Suffice to say, I admire John McClane’s sense of humor, especially because it comes through even during times of high stress. Like a lot of people, I tend to hunker down and solemn up when faced with extreme stress. Let’s be honest, the ‘stress’ I’m referring to is nothing like being held in a hostage or life-or-death situation with a terrorist, but that’s because A) I’m both cautious and lucky and B) I’m not in any action movies. Regardless, I’d like to be able to maintain a sense of humor and clear focus during high stress situations, and that’s why I’d like to have dinner with this man–so he can teach me. If nothing else, we could swap cheesy jokes and one-liners all night, and maybe I could convince him to teach me to drive defensively on the 405.
Sam Seaborn is a bit of a nerd but he writes like no one else I know (with the possible exception of Justin Prochnow). For the moment, I’m going to ignore the puppet-master, Aaron Sorkin, who is undeniably the genius behind Sam’s writing skills. If you don’t know what I mean, watch Episode 1 of the show Studio 60, watch any episode of The West Wing, seasons 1-4, and watch the movie The American President (especially the scene in which Michael J. Fox yells at Michael Douglas).
Aaron Sorkin is a genius but for the moment, Sam Seaborn best personifies a great writer in my mind. Sam Seaborn once said, “Oratory should raise your heart rate. Oratory should blow the doors off the place.” And it’s true. A great passage in a book, a moving speech, a dramatic monologue–their greatness is measured by how strongly they captivate your attention and stir your imagination. Great writing should be clear and concise, but not formulaic or predicable. Great writing should pull you forward without losing you. Great, powerful writing moves you. Sam knows this. Sam believes this. Sam is a nerd and a bit of a do-gooder, but he is a great writer. I wish I could write like him (because wanting to write like Aaron Sorkin is simply out of the question). Maybe one of them or both of them could share some advice over dinner.
So there you have it: Klaus Badelt for his creativity, John McClane for his stress-management and sense of humor, and Sam Seaborn for his writing. Maybe one day I’ll be able to find a guy who embodies the qualities of these three, and the look in his eyes or the warmth of his hug will be able to move me like Klaus’ strings, McClane’s sense of humor and Sam’s speeches. In the meantime, what moves you?