Today is Composer John Williams 80th birthday. Over the years, he has had perhaps the most notable career of any composer working in film. Much of that marriage can be attributed to his frequent collaborations with Steven Spielberg as far back as Jaws. When you roll with Spielberg, you get noticed.

Williams is credited with some of the most legendary scores in film, including Home Alone, Superman, Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Jurassic Park, and a whole mess of others it doesn’t really behoove me to list. Click here and see for yourself.

Yikes. This is a daunting list. Daunting in that 95% of these films are timeless classics, so it’s kind of hard to critique the guy too much. But if anyone can be blindly critical, I can.

Since I’m no student of film scores (I know what I like, but that’s about it), let’s keep this list confined to “overall bad movies that John Williams was unlucky to be a part of,” shall we?

So, here are the five worst films scored by John Williams.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

As we will soon see, I guess the whole John Williams-Steve Spielberg relationship is “in for a penny, in for a pound.” Or “take the good with the bad,” or some other inane cliché that actually applies here. While Spielberg has used Williams in seemingly every feature he’s undertaken, that means that while Williams has gotten to bask in the glory of The Saving Private Ryans and the Munichs and the Jurassic Parks, he’s also along for the ride on the odd gratuitous project such as the fourth Indiana Jones installment.

This film demonstrated that Harrison Ford is indeed too old for this shit, and Shia LaBeouf is probably just too bad for this shit.

Spielberg: Hey, John! Steven here. Get cracking on the score for another Indiana Jones sequel.

Williams: Terrific. I’ll get started on it right away.

Spielberg: Great. We’re looking for a really catchy piece when the aliens show up.

Williams: Oh, f#ck me.

War of the Worlds

Not bad, just un-special in every way, save for the effects, War of the Worlds was an overblown production that seemed almost instantly forgettable. As for the music, unless it took the form of Tom Cruise as a negligent father, I haven’t the foggiest notion what it as about. Again, it was probably “alien music.” Thank God John Williams is great at chase music, because this movie was largely just that, except when it went into sap mode.

Again, this movie wasn’t terrible, but when virtually every other John Williams movie is enduring, it’s disappointing to come across even one that isn’t.


Brought to you be Kleenex and Hallmark, this Chris Columbus film follows the relationship between a mother and her ex-husband’s fiancée as the mother dies of lymphoma. It’s really, really, really sad, as one could guess. So it succeeds on that front, but none others, as it’s pretty easy to bombard people sentiment as Susan Sarandon and Julia Roberts let their guards down and just bawl incessantly.

(cue sad music)

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York

It’s exactly the same, only Kevin’s been left in New York this time. That kid just has the worst parents. If I had my druthers, I would throw Catherin O’Hara and John Heard in jail just for PORTRAYING such crappy guardians. That’s how angry I am.

In much the same way that The Hangover Part II was just a tepid retelling of the events of the original, so was Home Alone 2. Even the toy they worked so hard to pimp our (the Talkboy) didn’t seem cool. When a toy in a movie doesn’t seem cool to children, that movie has FAILED.

Also, the presence of Tim Curry takes this film from C- to D. He is just the worst.

The Adventures of Tintin

I’m probably not the first one to suggest Spielberg has been off his game since Munich, but I believe that wholeheartedly, so allow me to reiterate: Spielberg’s films since 2005’s Munich ain’t been so hot.

It’s very apparent right now, as we just saw the releases of War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin, which suggests that if Spielberg can’t make mo-cap non-creepy, what hope is there for Robert Zemeckis. Answer: very little.

Based on a Belgian comic book, Tintin is a little boy reporter who goes around getting all wrapped up in good-natured Belgian mischief. Though reviews have been generally positive, it’s more the opportunity cost here, as both War Horse and Tintin have kept Spielberg from helming grander, better projects during that time.

Oh yeah: John Williams. Williams’ score is actually one of the best things about this film, but that still doesn’t mean it’s very good.

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