Broadcast News (1987)
One might label James L. Brooks' follow-up to his hugely successful debut Terms of Endearment as a serious and cerebral romantic comedy, and although this might describe Broadcast News, it wouldn't quite do it justice. Again Brooks creates a film so rich, insightful and nuanced that he leaves the viewer pondering just about every scene. Broadcast News is arguably the most intricate look at the medium of television ever to hit the big screen, and as for his characters, we get so close and so intimate that we're able to live it and sense it. We're left watching an everyday work situation without having a director or a screenwriter trying to be flashy, which is quite a relief.
The clever script plants theses, discusses them, teases with solutions, but ultimately leaves every conclusion to the viewer. It's delicately playful. And the love triangle, which ultimately comprises the essence of the film, has most any level of relationship basis merged into it. The vivid characters are not your everyday neighbours, they are arguably far more eccentric than that, but they still possess every ordinary human weakness you've come across. While watching Broadcast News, one should be careful not to misinterpret or underestimate the three lead characters. The William Hurt character isn't quite the intellectual or the idealist the two others are looking for, but he's still brighter and more considerate than most. That's what makes Brooks' statement so powerful - most of us are ultimately selfish, even if we're quite nice and helpful. Exactly the same can be seen through the wonderful Albert Brooks character. A man of immense idealistic conviction, who still - while facing defeat - becomes a fairly primitive and selfish human being. Albert Brooks' work here is among the finest of the decade. His acting is courageous and intimate. Neither of the two other leads can boast those qualities, but they provide exquisite, spirited and warm performances. It gives James L. Brooks the basis for his playful, but ultimately sombre look into idealistic journalism vs. commercialism and mating ritual vs. sophisticated life. And ultimately, Broadcast News is quite fascinated with both battles.