Written and directed by James L. Brooks
Starring: William Hurt, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, Robert Prosky, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson
Broadcast News is the creation of James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment), who both wrote and directed the film. The movie stars Albert Brooks (Drive), Holly Hunter (The Firm), and William Hurt (The Big Chill). In addition, Robert Prosky (Dead Man Walking), Joan Cusack (Grosse Pointe Blank), and Jack Nicholson (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) are also featured. This film was a critical success, earning seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
This is a fantastic story that blends comedy and drama into a romantic story with a very unique setting. The opening scenes do a nice job setting the tone for the rest of the movie. The characters are wonderfully written, with unique voices that are clear from the beginning. The dialogue is nicely written throughout this one, with laughs mixed in at all the right moments. There are also a number of more serious scenes that hold up just as well. One of best aspects of the story is the way the world is created with a sense of authenticity. This doesn’t feel like a parody of the broadcast news world, but rather a real depiction of how things might have gone. Overall, this one is a rich and wonderfully written story that shares a tone with films like The Big Chill.
The actors really brought something special to this film. Before I even get into the individual performances, it’s important to note how much chemistry this one has. The performances are connected and the character relationships have a unique level of honesty. While some of this is the great writing, the actors really brought out all the right notes. William Hurt does a great job with a unique and surprisingly complicated character. On the surface his role seems pretty straightforward, but the twists in the story really work due to the adjustments he makes.
Holly Hunter also does a great job with her role. She really seemed to understand the conflicts and desires of her role, bringing them out with a powerful honesty. Albert Brooks rounds out a trio of solid performances that lead this one. His role feels complicated from the start, and he lets the emotions of his character shine. The success of these three actors really make this a special film. Their work earned them all Oscar nominations. (Hurt for Best Actor, Hunter for Best Actress, and Brooks for Best Supporting Actor.) They’re joined by a really great cast that includes a small yet effective performance by Jack Nicholson. Additionally, Joan Cusack and Robert Prosky also do a great job in this one. Overall, this movie doesn’t have any weak performances. They took great writing and turned in incredible performances that are worth watching.
This one looks really good. Cinematographer Michael Ballhaus (The Age of Innocence) did an excellent job adding a unique level of tension through some really dynamic camera work. This unique visual approach gives the movie a different feel that makes the mix of genres far more effective. (The movie makes excellent use of the split diopter. Something fans of Brian DePalma should know about.)
The film lives within sets and locations that feel authentic to the story. The editing also does a nice job keeping the tension intact and the pace steady. The rest of the production is equally good. The film would earn nominations for Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing.
This film is not talked about as much as it should be. The story is fantastic and the acting and production work bring home something special. If you’re a fan of drama you need to see this. I would also definitely suggest this one to fans of any of the stars. While the ruling genre is drama, keep in mind that there are elements of comedy and romance that mix in throughout the movie. I give this one 5 out of 5 stars.