Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Comfort Food Cinema: Broadcast News

 Cranky Network Manager:  "It must be nice to always believe that you know better, to always think you're the smartest person in the room."

Jane Craig:  "No. It's awful."

Broadcast News (1987).
Find it in the catalog!

For many people the hey day of romantic comedies was in the 1930s and 40s.  And while I'm a huge fan of rom-coms from this period (His Girl Friday, The Philadelphia Story, anything with Jimmy Stewart), I'm also partial to romantic comedies from the 1980s.  While Broadcast News doesn't exactly fit the mold of romantic comedy perfectly; it's one of my favorites of the era. 

The film follows Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), a gifted, but neurotic news producer.  Her friend and frequent collaborator is Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a talented writer and investigative journalist who also has secret feelings for Jane.  However, her relationship with Altman, is challenged when her network hires the hunky, but less substantial journalist Tom Grunick (William Hurt).  Tom is a former sports reporter turned anchor  Though he is quickly promoted, he lacks the knowledge and integrity of a journalist like Jane or Aaron.  In spite of their different perspectives on journalism, Jane finds herself falling for Tom.

Albert Brooks really steals the show as Aaron Altman.  He's got some of the funniest lines in the movie.  Even though Altman can be smug and manipulative, it's really hard not to feel for the guy.  He's gifted, super smart, but gets passed over for a promotion because he lacks the charm and attractiveness of Tom.  This jealously towards Tom is only intensified because of his feelings for Jane, and her preference for Tom in spite of all the similarities she and Aaron share and their great chemistry as friends.  In one of the most cringe-inducing scenes of the movie, Aaron gets his shot at becoming an anchor, only to ruin it with an incredible flop sweat attack.

From the fashion to the technology, the film definitely is of the 80s.  Jane has one scene where she's dressed to impress, which does not translate at all to today's fashion.  However, the themes and relationships in the movie are still fresh today.  This is a wickedly funny movie that also has some real heartbreaking moments in it.  If you have not seen it before, or haven't watched it for a while, it's definitely worth checking out!