Broadcast News (1987)
July 14, 2022 3:11 PM - Subscribe

High-strung network news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter) falls for new reporter Tom Grunnick (William Hurt), a pretty boy who represents the trend towards entertainment news she despises. Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), a talented but plain correspondent, carries an unrequited torch for Jane. Sparks fly between the three as the network prepares for big changes, and both the news and Jane must decide between style and substance.

Written and directed by James L. Brooks. Rated 98% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Currently streaming in the US on HBO Max and available for digital rental on multiple outlets.
posted by DirtyOldTown (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I recently rewatched this after not having seen it for decades. Holly Hunter is even better than I remembered! And of course Joan Cusack, who gets some inspired flailing slapstick.

But man, the Aaron character is much much worse than I had remembered--sometimes he even gives off proto incel vibes. He does carry an unrequited torch for Jane, as the description says, but while he says he's her friend, and she treats it as a friendship from her side, he really seems to be hanging around hoping that she'll suddenly come to her senses and have romantic feelings for him (which she has never had, and never will have). And when she still doesn't (as she has always honestly said she doesn't), Aaron makes it awkward for her, resents her, and eventually gets really bitter and aggressive at her.

That's not friendship; that's desperate entitled mistreatment.

The rest of the movie is still terrific! But Aaron's eventual dynamic with Jane is a fly in the ointment. I wish we weren't supposed to be on his side, but the movie doesn't seem to see any problem with him. At least she doesn't suddenly get together with him in the end, I suppose...that would certainly be worse.
posted by theatro at 8:01 AM on July 15 [9 favorites]

There's a discussion of Reality Bites in the Janeane Garofalo thread, and one thing that strikes me about this film and that one is the answer to the film's question of "which of these two dudes is right for her" is neither one. At least this film has the integrity to stick to the point.
posted by Gelatin at 9:46 AM on July 15 [8 favorites]

To this day, I do say to friends, “I’ll meet you at the place near the thing where we went that time.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:55 PM on July 15 [6 favorites]

I think the central question of nearly every Albert Brooks performance is either "Why are nice people sometimes built from such terrible parts?" or "Why are terrible people sometimes built with some likable parts?" I don't think he's ever given a straight likable/non-likable performance and that is by design.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:44 AM on July 16 [6 favorites]

My friend and I just discussing the now-demolished Whitlow's restaurant and therefore this movie which has scenes filmed there and he found a couple pics of that corner in DC, then:
posted by Rash at 9:22 PM on July 16

I tried to watch this about a year ago and stopped after about 30-40 minutes. It's boring, no one is likeable, and very predictable. I think this is a nostalgia piece for people, but I don't think it holds up.
posted by jeoc at 9:41 AM on July 17

The Internet has conveniently provided me with many useful clips and reaction gifs.

One notable absence is that when someone texts me 'How are you doing?', there's no link for me to reply with, to the scene where Holly Hunter comes home from work, disconnects her phone, has a quick uncontrollable sobbing ugly cry, then plugs the phone back in and gets back to it.
posted by bartleby at 10:09 AM on July 17

On the one hand, I get what theatro is saying; on the other hand, DirtyOldTown is right--Brooks is the kind of comedian who is willing to live in that neither-hero-nor-villain-but-usually-some-of-both comedic space. Not to make this too much about another movie, but Brooks' own Lost in America thrives in that space; his character lambasts his wife for blowing all their money at a casino--ignoring that casinos are exquisitely engineered to get people to do that exact thing--and then goes to the casino manager to try to get him to give their money back as a PR gesture (Garry Marshall's deadpan performance as the manager is itself a thing of beauty). Brooks being a Nice Guy who hopes to be promoted to a boyfriend isn't a bug, it's a feature.

The rest of the movie is good, although I will say that the scene where Brooks' character has to sub in as an anchor and sweats like crazy is just a bit overdone. On the other hand, I did like the scene that bartleby mentions above, and also, when Hurt's character cries during a difficult interview and the broadcast cuts back to Nicholson's anchor who is clearly affected by it until he regains his own composure.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:40 PM on July 17

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