James L. Brooks
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Writer/director/producer James L. Brooks scores on all counts with this clear-eyed look at the television news business and the dysfunctional types who work in it. Brooks' intelligent script introduces us to Jane Craig (Holly Hunter), an ambitious producer at the network news division's Washington D.C. branch, who is calm under fire yet has a good cry at her desk every morning over her empty personal life. Jane works well with Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks), an excellent reporter who lacks the visual charisma to make him a star. Into their lives comes Tom Grunick (William Hurt), a regional newscaster who admits he can't write news and doesn't understand many of the events he's covering, but has the presence and physical appeal that the increasingly entertainment-oriented network wants for its news programs. Jane is also physically attracted to him, which drives her crazy, because Grunick stands for everything she's fighting against in the news business, while Altman is devastated by her attraction because he secretly yearns for Jane. As Grunick becomes a rising star at the network, and layoffs of the old guard loom, the three leads deal with their feelings for each other, their careers, and their values. Hunter, Hurt, and Brooks are all superb, as is the excellent supporting cast (including an unbilled turn by Jack Nicholson as the network's smarmy national anchor). Brooks' script is funny, poignant, gritty, and brutally honest in its examinations of the television industry and the ways in which professionals interact on and off the job.
Movie Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
- Reviews Counted: 41
- Fresh: 40
- Rotten: 1
- Average Rating: 8.1/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: The movie is a sarcastic and carefully detailed picture of a world Mr. Brooks finds fascinating and also a little scary.
Fresh: All the performers are tops.
Fresh: Enormously entertaining.
Fresh: The film is so ingratiatingly high-spirited, and the performances so full of sass and vigor, that in the long run it doesn't really matter much.
An Insightful Portrayal of the American Media
A scathing look at the dumbing down of the American Media made during a time when it was transitioning from esteemed reporters such as Kronkite to the infotainment brand that replaced it.
Best James Brooks ever made...
...might be the best *movie* every made: the best comedy, for my money. So smart, so funny - all the performances are spot on. It's one of those films, one of those GodBlessIt rare films, with substance and laugh-out-loud humor (quotable lines in almost every scene); and one where every performance is each actor in his or her top form. James Brooks is The Genius of smart, funny, "real" films. They're touching - sometimes a smack, sometimes an arm around the shoulder ("Terms of Endearment", "As Good As It Gets", [the under-rated] "Spanglish") - thoughtful and so funny. Broadcast News is Brooks at his best.
This movie was a sort of sleeper at the box office if I recall, but it ought to have been much more popular in its time. Ah well, history will note this indeed as one of the Top Ten films of all time, in at least my esteem, along with "As Good As It Gets," both flawless Brooks masterpieces. An overlooked director, but James Brooks is a pure film genius. My favorite lines: JANE: Hey, Aaron! I think you're the devil! AARON: You know I'm not! JANE: How do I know? AARON: Beacause I think we have the kind of relationship where if I were the devil, you'd be the only one I would tell. Just bloody perfect...