To Be Dated or Not to Be Dated: Broadcast News

In some ways, James L. Brooks’ comedy Broadcast News (1987) is an outmoded look at how newsrooms and personal relationships intersect, yet it is entertaining nevertheless.

Naturally, the best character is the reporter played by Albert Brooks…

…who is incapable of anchoring the weekend news because of his ungodly amount of perspiration and need for shoulder pads (one of which “drowns”).

William Hurt’s character is, in all ways, well-suited for the job. (Except for not knowing the news, which is not considered an obstacle by the Powers That Be.)

The relationship – or lack thereof – between Hurt’s and Holly Hunter’s characters has an interesting dynamic: she has no respect for him since he’s gotten by on looks alone, and yet she can’t deny that he obviously cares for her as a person, warts and all.

Hurt might not be as intellectual as Hunter, but he can read people. He knows what her weaknesses are and calls her out on them. Dating will, of course, prove to be tricky territory, given how prickly and stubborn she is.

Ultimately, what you can take away from watching Broadcast News is the realization that the process of making nonfiction news reports is as much of a show as fiction film or TV. It is impossible to separate the personal from the professional, either on air or off.

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