Intrada Special Collection Vol.268
29 Tracks/Disc Time: 57:19
In the late 80's and early 90's, sports films were a real box office success after films such as "Field Of Dreams", "Hoosiers", "Bull Durham", "White Men Can't Jump", "Hoop Dreams" and "Major League" really took off with audiences which are now all time favorites of the comedy and drama movie genre. Despite the success and now unforgettable attributes of these films, there are a handful of others that were least successful at the box office such as "Rudy", "Little Big League", "Little Giants" and "The Program" that are now fan favorites and in particular "Rudy" which is a true inspiration to those who have seen it.
In Fall of 1991, the comedy "Necessary Roughness" opened with a memorable poster champaign that that was very very similar to the poster for the baseball blockbuster "Major League". The film stars Scott Bakula ("Quantam Leap") as Paul Blake, a former wonderkind and potential no.1 NFL draft pick who is now a horse farmer and has missed out on the entire college experience after taking over his father's farm. After a national scandal has literally crippled the entire the corrupt football program at the Texas University to the point that all their players were banned, their head coach fired and their championship taken away. Former Coach Ed "Straight Arrow" Genero (Hector Elizondo, "Pretty Woman") is hired to run a new clean football program along with his trusted assistant Wally (Robert Loggia, "Big") and recruiting from the school's student body (featuring Sinbad, Jason Bateman and supermodel Kathy Ireland) which is severely met by major resistance by Dean Elias (Larry Miller, "Curb Your Enthusiasm") who connivingly takes away any chance for the team to succeed. Wally, however does the unthinkable in recruiting the now elder Blake in to joining the team and give them a chance to win. Being the fish out of water, Blake and Gennero clash a bit on their agendas and in the process do learn to accept each other and soon Blake falls for his own professor (Harley Jane Kozak, "Parenthood") who had a crush on him in high school. Soon this group of misfits, has beens and outcasts come together to pull out a potential major upset in the film's rousing and exciting finale.
The film was a minor hit, but really caught on on home video and cable soon and obtaining a fun reputation since. Aiding to the films' success and second life for this group of underdogs is the musical master who brought "Rocky" to the promised land to being one of the more unforgettable films ever made, that would be Oscar winner Bill Conti. Conti had a great decade of the 80's in winning the Oscar for "The Right Stuff", scoring the massive and memorable mini-series "North & South", the action-thrillers "F/X", "Gotcha!", and "Lock Up" to go along with "Rocky 3" and finally "Rocky 5" a year before this film opened. If you liked "Rocky's" upbeat theme and rousing material, this score is definitely one of his best and one of the better scores of the 1990's without a doubt. From the start with the films' "Main Title" opening which is wonderfully edited montage featuring Bakula reliving his former glory throwing the football with Conti's rocking anthem filled with cool brass and electric guitars. This is the main theme to the score and it works brilliantly in particular during the rousing finale of "The Big Ending", which in the film is mostly devoted to Conti's score with very little dialog left.
Conti mixes in some juicy goofy fun to go along with the football game and practice material featured in "Prisoners Arrive/Miners Game", a great highlight that shifts from progressive rock to fun electronics and cowboy twang, "The New Kicker/Lucy Takes A Shower", that has fun with the theme in a playful subdued way as Kathy Ireland kicks the heck out of the football, "Featherstone Gets It" and "Bar Room Brawl", which has a rock, cowboy twang set in a contemporary form. The film is also about battling personal failures and demons in which Conti scores in a dramatic way that includes the tracks "Can We Talk?/First Kiss/Why Don't You Tell Him?/Blake Quits", "The Blocking Shed/Prep For Game", "Back To School", "Up Yours Phil!", "Blake Talks To Ed" and "Blake Gets Benched". which utilizes the main theme in various different guises and even quotes his memorable track from "Rocky" "Philadelphia Morning", a lovely track that really suits this score as well. The music really reflects the passionate effort that Conti put into it after being brought in at the very last minute and only given three weeks to score the film and it turns out to be one of Conti's finest efforts.
Intrada's long overdue release of this fabulous score is everything you would want: a great main theme, a secondary theme to compliment it and solid, diverse material to make it a great whole and that's what "Necessary Roughness" is. It was a very smart thing that he wrote a straight arrow score much like the late Elmer Bernstein did for "National Lampoon's Animal House" which is the quintessential comedy score and Conti's is right up there with it. This is a very special score for me because it's one of those rare scores that as a critic you can easily write about with joy and excitement and this one is exactly that from start to finish. If you love sports scores and one written by one of the best, who gave "Rocky" to the world, then you're getting a gem! "Necessary Roughness" is just simply brilliant! Thumbs Way Up!