Broadcast News (1987)
Writer/director/producer James L. Brooks scores on all counts with this clear-eyed look at the television news business and the dysfunctional types who work in it. Brooks' intelligent script introduces us to Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), an ambitious producer at the network news division's Washington D.C. branch, who is calm under fire yet has a good cry at her desk every morning over her empty personal life. Jane works well with Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), an excellent reporter who lacks the visual charisma to make him a star. Into their lives comes Tom Grunick (William Hurt), a regional newscaster who admits he can't write news and doesn't understand many of the events he's covering, but has the presence and physical appeal that the increasingly entertainment-oriented network wants for its news programs. Jane is also physically attracted to him, which drives her crazy, because Grunick stands for everything she's fighting against in the news business, while Altman is devastated by her attraction because he secretly yearns for Jane. As Grunick becomes a rising star at the network, and layoffs of the old guard loom, the three leads deal with their feelings for each other, their careers, and their values. Hunter, Hurt, and Brooks are all superb, as is the excellent supporting cast (including an unbilled turn by Jack Nicholson as the network's smarmy national anchor). Brooks' script is funny, poignant, gritty, and brutally honest in its examinations of the television industry and the ways in which professionals interact on and off the job. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Broadcast News
Underpinning what is a charming, protean love-triangle is a serious statement about the function, value, and direction of television news.
The movie is a sarcastic and carefully detailed picture of a world Mr. Brooks finds fascinating and also a little scary.
Broadcast News has a lot of interesting things to say about television. But the thing it does best is look into a certain kind of personality and a certain kind of relationship.
(The) endlessly quotable writing... keeps the film fresh as Tom, Aaron and Jane carom off each other at ever-more oblique angles.
The human element is just as prescient as it was then, while the characters' romantic/professional entanglements now have the added poignancy of the past tense.
By looking at the small-screen picture...[Brooks] provocatively suggests that America's socio-political problems are pretty much the same as the personal problems of its citizens. [Blu-ray]
People often behave foolishly in matters of love and just about everything else. That can lead to heartache and tragedy, but that same foolishness can also be very funny to watch, as it is here.
The outstanding set pieces give the viewer an idea of the job pressures, its perks, pitfalls and how the news is in the long run compromised.
In a film tracing the endless battles between style and substance, Brooks delivers both in abundance.
Hunter and Brooks are hugely appealing as news professionals trying to stay afloat in the corporate cauldron.
Though lacking visual style, this is a poignantly written film about the changing professional mores of TV news in the electronic age, well-acted by the three leads, Holly Hunter, William Hurt, and Albert Brooks.
Smart, biting media humor is a bit dated, but well worthwhile viewing.
I could gush over this movie for hours, just delightful
The best movie about the television business
It's absurd but often funny, usually when it's dissecting the TV trade.
A good love story and nice behind-the-scenes look at the news.
Brooks' screenplay still seems alarmingly timely in its portrait of the blurring of the lines between what is news and what is entertainment. The movie's quietly devastating climax beautifully illustrates the collapse of ethics in TV journalism.
Audience Reviews for Broadcast News
A very entertaining, extremely well-written and acted look at a news team and how dedicated they are to their jobs, as well as how they interact with each other outside of the office. Director/writer James L. Brooks does a near flawless job detailing each one of his characters, such as the up and coming lead anchor (William Hurt), the cute but insecure producer (Holly Hunter), and the talented but looked over reporter (Albert Brooks) who is hopelessly in love with her. The clichéd "love triangle" is actually handled meticulously well, with certain angles being thrown in that I have not seen before. But it is really the fantastic writing and the use of an overlooked detail in the story that changes everything that makes this movie all the more special. The performances are all outstanding, and the pace of the film is exceptional as it moves along with breathless ease. Highly recommended.More
A solid but imperfect love triangle set amidst the ever-declining journalistic standard of info-tainment, Broadcast News rides an excellent performance by Holly Hunter the whole way through. Her charcter, Jane, is a spunky and viciously talented editor in the newsroom, for whom nothing but the best will do - but when the dim, pretty-boy anchorman Tom (William Hurt) turns up, she can't resist him. Even if he hasn't a fraction of the ethics of her long-time friend and sometime lover, Aaron, who's made into the ideal loveable loser by Albert Brooks. By times funny, deadly serious, and romantic, Broadcast News is a great film, but as with other James L. Brooks films I've seen, it's a little schmaltzy, and it runs on too long. The movie ended three times before it ended. Great performance by a great cast, however, with Jack Nicholson and a wonderfully 80s "big-haired" Joan Cusack in supporting roles. A fine film that's valuable as much for the point it makes as it is for the story it tells. If you're a fan of Neil Postman's books, this film is one of your favourites.
(Side note: in some shots, I thought Hunter and Hurt looked like Zooey Deschanel and Aaron Eckhart. Remake, anyone?)
Broadcast News Quotes
- Paul Moore:
- It must be nice to always believe you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room.
- Jane Craig:
- No. It's awful.
- Young Tom:
- What can you do with your life if all you can do is look good?
- Aaron Altman:
- I know you care about him. I've never seen you like this about anyone, so please don't take it wrong when I tell you that I believe that Tom, while a very nice guy, is the Devil.
- Jane Craig:
- I-I can't help you. Sorry, I'm not here to teach remedial reporting.
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