I just finished watching the second half of one of my all time favorite movies. There’s no doubt I love Broadcast News because of Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks and the characters they portray.
There’s little I don’t like about Hunter. She’s very attractive, though not quite as attractive as the character she plays here.
In one of the early scenes (maybe the first – it was on before I tuned in tonight) she walks up to a bank of curbside newspaper vending boxes and buys a paper from each one. So, she’s attractive, intelligent, aggressive and principled… the total package.
Albert Brooks plays an intellectual, nerdy reporter. His inability to deal with any transgression from idealism is his undoing.
When I first saw the movie, I saw myself in much of what Brooks played. Maybe, I flatter myself too much.
There was a time when I would stand on principle no matter what the consequences. Now, I’m more willing to balance my reaction. That’s good and bad. Bad, because it means I let stuff slide. Good in that I’m not confrontational to the same extent I was earlier in my life.
It is a more adult way to deal with the imperfections of life. It is not a better way – just an adult way.
Toward the end of the picture, as Brooks is losing Holly Hunter (and my heart is breaking for him), he talks about the devil. His purpose in the film is to lessen (the character played by) William Hurt. Still, it’s a great speech.
Paraphrasing – the devil looks like us. The devil doesn’t act in broad strokes but eats away at the moral high ground a little bit at a time. It’s an impassioned speech based on the fears of the idealistic. It’s sad because it’s so true.
Broadcast News made broadcast news look quite romantic. It actually is.
Though I work much farther down the food chain than the second rate national network portrayed, it’s still a cool profession. There are few jobs where you are watched, while you work by your ‘customers’. So much of individual success depends on the public’s trust in you. The most successful are those who value that trust.
In broadcast news, idealism is not misplaced. It’s just in short supply.