Broadcast News

by Tom Ingram

Genre Romance
People James L. Brooks d.w.p.; William Hurt; Holly Hunter; Albert Brooks; Joan Cusack; Robert Prosky; Jack Nicholson; Lois Chiles; John Cusack
/10 8

The romantic and career troubles of a star TV news producer (Hunter). Albert Brooks is the veteran reporter and aspiring anchorman with whom she has a strictly platonic friendship, and William Hurt is the newly-hired telegenic but extremely dim anchor with whom she becomes smitten. Jack Nicholson is the network’s current star anchor, Joan Cusack is a production assistant, and John Cusack appears from behind in a walk-on (“Angry Messenger” during the layoff scene, credited as “John Cusak”). Written, directed, and produced by James L. Brooks.

You have to feel sorry for William Hurt’s character, who, while no genius, isn’t as stupid as all that. I think there is a certain logic in prioritizing appealing mannerisms and a good voice in a news presenter, and having people like Albert Brooks act as their Cyranos (Cyrani?). By all means, respect my intelligence, but don’t respect it so much that you don’t even try to make the news presentable. Comparative advantage is what makes the world go round.

But the movie is good—if nothing else, then for an insight into the weird, weird consciences of reporter-types. James L. Brooks has problems wrapping it up (as he did in As Good As It Gets), but the beginning and middle are solid.

2h13m; 1987; Colour; Oscar nods for Best Picture, Actor (Hurt), Actress (Hunter), Supporting Actor (A. Brooks), Screenplay (J.L. Brooks), Editing, Cinematography