Broadcast News

MV5BMTkxODk0NzExOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMjQyODQyNA@@._V1_SY317_CR5,0,214,317_AL_Broadcast News is the story of a love triangle between a dim-witted but good looking news anchor, Tom Grunick (played by William Hurt), a cynical, smart but average looking reporter, Aaron Altman (played by Albert Brooks) and a flighty, neurotic news producer Jane Craig (played by Holly Hunter).

Tom isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but he has the looks and ability to remain cool and calm on the air, so he is on the fast track to becoming the next big news anchor.

Aaron is smart (even intellectually arrogant) and an accomplished writer, but is average looking and worse, he can’t remain composed on the air. He is also in love with Jane, but lacks the confidence to tell her.

Jane is a neurotic mess;  a driven workaholic which makes her an effective news producer. She falls for Tom because of his looks and charming personality but unfortunately he represents everything she despises about network broadcast news: Tom is mostly style over substance and is none-too-bright.

Although Broadcast News was released in 1987, its central theme of trend of style over substance in the evening news is still timely. Sharp dialog and smart writing make this a wickedly funny movie:

Tom Grunick: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?

Aaron Altman: Keep it to yourself.

In another wickedly funny scene, Aaron is given a chance to read the nightly news, but fails miserably: he sweats so bad that his viewers call in expressing concern that he might be having a heart attack.

Underlying the comedy is a serious subject: dumbing down the news to the point where flash and style win out over substance, which is done by the gradual but constant eroding of standards bit by bit. This film was a harbinger of what televised news would become.

Worth a look if you like smart, intelligent comedic movies with a timely, serious subject.

Skip it if you are expecting a screwball comedy.

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