McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Civil War 25th Commemorative Edition DVD & Blu-ray Oct 13Aquarius: The Complete First Season DVD & Blu-ray Sep 15Justified: The Complete Series on Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13The Surface on DVD, VOD, and DIGITAL HD Sep 1

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Kathie Lee Gifford's Family Reveals Her Late Husband Fr...
American Music Awards 2015: Proximity to action matters...
Brad Pitt Says He's 'Angry' at the Finance Industry Aft...
Adele Speaks Exclusively on New Music:'The Most Poignan...
'The Walking Dead' reveals Glenn's fate ...
Adele Performs on Saturday Night Live: Video ...
Blacklisted: The Inside Story of Dalton Trumbo and the ...
Ryan Seacrest Confirms All American Idol Judges Will Re...
Fargo' Preview: 5 Reasons You Should Be Watching This S...
Bruce Willis makes Broadway debut...

Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif

(Criterion Blu-ray)

Studio: The Criterion Collection
Year: 1987
Cast: William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Holly Hunter, Joan Cusack, Jack Nicholson, Lois Chiles
Director: James L. Brooks
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Rating: R for
Run Time: 02h:12m:18s
Genre(s): romantic comedy

Paul: It must be nice, to always believe you know better. To always believe you're the smartest person in the room.

Jane: No. It's awful.
- Peter Hackes, Holly Hunter


Buy Now @ Amazon


James L. Brooks demonstrates why his nonpareil touch with romantic comedy outlasts any medium, especially one as ephemeral as network—network!—news broadcasts.

Movie Grade: A

DVD Grade: A

It's hard to muster up sympathy for what a tough time James L. Brooks must have had after his maiden voyage as a feature filmmaker, but here we go: following unparalleled success in television, especially with The Mary Tyler Moore Show, his debut feature, Terms of Endearment, was both a critical darling and a commercial hit. He got lots of money and lots of Oscars and was (rightly) praised to the heavens. How in the hell do you do something after that? What can you do that will not disappoint?

But here we are, with his second film, Broadcast News, which is remarkable on all kinds of levels. It's easy to see the dinosaur aspects of it: it was made at a time when the nightly news was at the hub of the media universe, not an early evening ratings loss leader packed with ads from denture creams and erectile dysfunction medications. But this isn't a documentary about an industry in transition; it's a carefully honed romantic triangle, one that is a worthy heir to films like His Girl Friday and The Philadelphia Story. (Both of which, not incidentally, have journalists and press coverage as crucial aspects of their stories.)

It's also a chance to see some of the very best actors in the kind of multidimensional roles they all pine for, but rarely find; and that few of them have the chops to pull off. But my goodness, is the cast of this movie fantastic. William Hurt was surely the biggest star at the time, and it's kind of great that he plays, basically, the bad guy—his Tom Grunick is the pretty boy brought in to appeal to the right demographics. He's got no journalistic pedigree, and he knows it—his candor about knowing what he doesn't know is winning, but it's still kind of astonishing that the guy probably would have had a hard time on his high school paper. Having it in for him particularly is Albert Brooks as Aaron Altman, workmanlike reporter, who's bright and smart, but guilty of one of the cardinal sins of our time: he's just not very good on television. Which, you know, is kind of a problem, if your line of work is, um, television.

But this isn't just a Nielsen throwdown: coming between them is Jane Craig, in the movie's bust-out, star-making performance, by Holly Hunter. She's obviously a kindred spirit with Mary Richards—heck, she's got spunk—but she's really just a firecracker in her own right, a woman of high standards, a workaholic and perfectionist, and deep in her heart, a hopeless romantic. (Is there any other kind?) She ping pongs between the boys, and the movie doesn't play favorites—you can see that the spark is there with Tom, but can you really fall for someone for whom you've got no professional respect, if you are your work?

I could go on and on. But I will not. Of course the movie is of its time in many respects—lots of video cassettes, for instance, and unfortunate shoulder pads, on the women especially. More generally, it's from a time when anchormen and newspapers were at the center of our national dialogue, and when massive layoffs were a scandal, not just another day at the office. Brooks shot in sequence, and on location, and it shows; cinematographer Michael Ballhaus's work looks fantastic, even coming from a time when film stocks were bleeding out all over the place. And the cast is chock full of great smaller performances, too—Jack Nicholson gets his Chet Huntley on as the forbidding anchorman, up in New York; Joan Cusack is vintage wacky in the newsroom; and I especially adore Robert Prosky as the bureau chief, a wonderfully avuncular presence, who was always fantastic in everything he was in.

Brooks' participation in this release make it an especially welcome and informative package. He and Richard Marks, the film's editor, provide a commentary track, which is largely a valentine to the cast—Brooks reports that he hadn't seen the film for years, so hearing him consider it afresh is great, but it also means we get an occasional bit of grasping at distant memories. Most intriguing of all is certainly the alternate ending, and Brooks' heartbreaking story about how a crew member inadvertently botched a careful setup; the director also provides commentary for 11 deleted scenes, many of which fill in gaps about things alluded to in the feature, but not seen.

James L. Brooks: A Singular Vision (36m:06s) is a career overview, and a celebration of his work first in TV, then in film, and then as a mentor: we get representatives from all aspects of his career, including Marilu Henner, Julie Kavner, and Wes Anderson (Brooks' Gracie Films produced Anderson's first feature, Bottle Rocket). It's definitely a kick to see superagent Jeffrey Berg on camera; but I think there's a bit too much of critic Ken Tucker, who seems to fancy himself Brooks' Boswell.

In an extended interview (17m:02s), associate producer and former CBS News producer Susan Zirinsky talks about having been the model for Hunter's character. (She clearly was, and the resemblance is frequently uncanny; but it's not just her life up there, goodness knows, a point that Brooks makes on the commentary.) There's also a hokey promotional piece (07m:56s) from the film's original release; better still are on-set footage and interviews (18m:38s), which are much more process oriented. There really is just a treasure trove of stuff to work through on this release, maybe the best of the year so far. How do you like that? I buried the lead.

Posted by: Jon Danziger - April 25, 2011, 11:41 am - DVD Review
Keywords: romantic comedy, brooks, hunter, journalism

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90


Microsoft Store


television, frank gifford, nfl hall of famer, sportscaster, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, kathy lee gifford, american music awards, talor swift, one direction, jennifer lopez, selena gomez, nicki minaj, justin bieber, movie, the big short, steve carell, ryan gosling, christian bale, michael lewis, brad pitt, music, adele, hello, 19, 21, 25, the walking dead, amc, davod alpert, glen, heads up, saturday night live, 25 album, skyfall, nrj awards, graham norton, herbert biberman, john howard lawson, lester cole, ring lardner jr., samuel ornitz, adrian scott, albert maltz, alvah bessie, edward dmytryk, dalton trumbo, reality, american idol, ryan seacrest, mariah carey, ellen degeneres, harry connick jr., keith urban, simon cowell, paula abdul, randy jackson, steven tyler, kara dioguardi, televison, fargo, fx, kirsten dunst, jesse plemons, jean smart, jeffrey donovan, bokeem woodbine, brad garrett, patrick wilson, celebrity, bruce willis, laurie metcalf, misery, broadway debut, paris tragedy, u2, foo fighters, steven spielberg, natalie portman, book, the diary of anne frank, otto frank, swiss foundation, daytime talk, 2000 shows, justin timberlake, jennifer aniston, sequel, animated, finding nemo, finding dory, disney-pixar, diane keaton, eugene levy, inventor, hedy lamarr, google doodle, ecstasy, samson and delilah, bbc music, angelina jolie pitt, by the sea, troubled marriage, mr. & mrs. smith, gwen stefani blake shelton, country music awards, the voice, miranda lambert, jon stewart, john oliver, hbo, wonder woman, nicole kidman, amazonian warrior, gal gadot, chris pine, nick lachey, 98 degrees, pot grower, ohio, nanette lepore, oscar robertson, frostee rucker, the red bulletin, james bond, daniel craig, naomi harris, bond girl, a. o. scott, 1977, star wars, elvis, beatles, sesame street, j.k. rowling, israel, palestine, culture for coexistence, harry potter and the deathly hallows, ricky gergais, 2016 golden globes, hollywood foreign press association, jessica biel, 2015 fashion group international night of stars gala, flip phone, the power of love, huey lewis, michael j. fox, back to the future, carrie, bipolar disorder, quinn, saul, jonas, comedy

On Facebook!
Promote Your Page Too



Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store