1001 Films: Broadcast News (1987)

“A lot of alliteration from anxious anchors placed in powerful posts!”

There are few movies that are able to balance serious commentary with comedy, romance and real drama while at the same time never truly seeming dismissive of any of the above.

One of the few constants in our world is change. Added to that no one, or at least not many, are ever happy with change. We always find something to complain about how we would just love it to be back to the way it was. In the world of journalism (even more prevalent today) you cannot stop hearing about people clamoring for it to stop. For the world to take a step back and look at what’s happened to the industry that was once a viable profession for a man to raise a family on in a dignified manner. Standards over the years (even in the 80s it seems) were continuously dropping. While this movie at its core is really just a romantic tale of how an ambitious hard working news producer manages to find herself caught between the choice of two exciting men, it also manages to use that premise to its advantage and subvert all of these incredibly insightful notions about the world of journalism so that not even the worse cynic in existence could complain about the film being preachy.

Maybe it’s due to a lack of feeling for the time but even for the schmaltzy moments where Tom (William Hurt) and Jane (Holly Hunter) were just “this” close to truly falling in love or when we saw Aaron (Albert Brooks) sit across from Jane engaging her in a way that Tom never could wanting to make it more than just being that best friend who could make the girl laugh it didn’t feel too forceful. The film never felt like I needed to love any of these characters together but rather accepting each of them for who they were individually. Jane is always going to be always about the news and obsessive, Aaron is going to be about being articulate so that he can look back and enjoy knowing he was that smart, while Tom is just a guy who’s come to terms with his limitations and is happy to buckle up and enjoy the ride as long as somebody upstairs still thinks it’s a good idea to have that pretty face coming out at the other end of the camera at the audience.

What makes movies like this so special to me are the small moments that just ring true and feel some intelligently funny, sweet or just overall true to whatever emotion the film was going for in that very moment. It’s almost as if I end up feeling smarter for realizing that it was what it was and I got it. There’re moments like, “Except for socially. You’re my role model”, “I’ve never fought for anyone before. Does anyone usually win these things?”, “I would give anything if you were two people, so that I could call up the one who’s my friend and tell her about the one that I like *so much*!” and I could go on and on with lines and moments from the film that just make me smile, laugh, cry and even at times gasp but that would be defeating the purpose because you need to go out and watch it.

Rating: 10/10