Day: April 24, 2017

Broadcast News – tape 1547

We’re having a mini movie marathon at the moment. This one, at least, as not recorded under dubious circumstances (see yesterday) as it’s from ITV. No, really, it’s true.

Aside: What the hell are they thinking squashing these bumpers vertically? Quantel picture stretching was all over the place in those days, and it’s horrible.

It’s a good thing the film is good. This recording isn’t, though. It’s wobbling a bit, and the sound has a horrible buzz on it, which sounds like bad tracking, or possibly dirty heads. I’ve tried to clean the recording heads on my VCR regularly as I’ve been archiving these tapes, but sometimes the tape itself just has dodgy sound.

I’m cheating and watching it on a streaming service.

Holly Hunter is a news producer. She’s serious and driven, cares passionately about serious news, hates the trivialisation of news.

After giving a talk on the subject, where her serious points about the news were overshadowed by a film of a domino topple, she meets William Hurt, who tells her he liked her talk. He’s a news anchor, but he’s conscious that he’s not that smart, and doesn’t always understand the news. He’s basically everything that she hates.

Oh, and he’s just got a job in her newsroom.

Albert Brooks is the nerdy intellectual reporter, and her best friend. He’s also in love with her but can’t tell her.

This is a film full of lovely moments. There’s the frantic last-minute editing of a news story, and Joan Cusack’s run to the broadcast gallery with the tape.

The special bulletin about airstrikes in Libya, where Hurt has to anchor, and Hunter has to guide him through the newscast. Brooks phones in information from home, and Hunter feeds it to Hurt, leading to my favourite line, and one I use all the time, as Brooks says “I say it here, it comes out there.”

The two men who are there to demo a potential new theme for the news.

It’s so good they even reprise it during the end credits.

Hunter tells her boss off when he won’t use Brooks for the report. He says “It must be nice to think you’re always the smartest person in the room.”

She replies “No, it’s awful.”

Jack Nicholson makes an appearance as the bigshot New York anchor. Hurt’s star-making story is a piece on date rape – a new phenomenon at the time, even Brooks is sneery about it. “You’ve really blown the lid off nookie.” But Nicholson’s anchor has an interesting reaction to the piece, a long pause before he carries on. My personal reading is that he’s a Bill O’Reilly type, guilty of exactly that kind of harassment. Later, there’s a very odd scene where he visits the Washington newsroom, and Joan Cusack introduces herself to him, in a very pointed way, suggesting they have a history. I reckon he’d harassed or assaulted her at one point.

Brooks gets a chance to anchor the weekend news, and ends up in the most horrendous flop sweat.

The newsroom lays off a large number of people, and Nicholson comes down to show solidarity. But not too much solidarity.

“It’s a brutal layoff” he says to the station chief.

“You could make it less brutal by knocking a million or so off your salary.” replies the chief.

As he’s laying off an older staff member he asks “If there’s anything I can do for you?”

“Well, I certainly hope you’ll die soon.”

And Hunter’s outrage as she realised Hurt had faked crying for his reaction shot in the date rape news report.

The only things I don’t like about it are Hunter’s frequent ‘crying breaks’ where she takes some time out of her busy schedule to just sit and cry. Not over anything specific, it would seem, just random crying. I just don;t understand that.

And Albert Brooks comes very close to being the awful ‘nice guy’ who turns on the woman because she won;t go out with him. He doesn’t quite fully go there, but he’s close a few times.

After the film, recording continues for a few minutes with the start of an episode of Prisoner Cell Block H.


  • Ford Mondeo
  • The Guardian
  • United Airlines
  • Midland Bank
  • Wall’s Pork Sausages
  • Boost – Vic & Bob
  • The Guardian
  • Heineken Export
  • BT
  • Impulse
  • Paul McCartney – Off The Ground
  • Vauxhall Corsa
  • trail: News at Ten
  • Reebok
  • BT
  • McDonalds
  • Nivea Visage
  • Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut
  • Findus Lasagne
  • Lucozade Sport
  • Blend 37
  • Castlemaine XXXX
  • Royal London
  • Comfort
  • BP
  • Crunchy Nut Cornflakes
  • trail: A Cut Above
  • trail: Taggart
  • Martini
  • BT
  • Paul McCartney – Off The Ground
  • Wall’s Pork Sausages
  • Slim-Fast
  • Corn Flakes
  • Anchor Spray Cream
  • trail: Body & Soul