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Broadcast News


sewhite2000
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Haven't seen this on any other thread. I was floored when I saw obvious shots of William Hurt and Holly Hunter from BROADCAST NEWS in that month of March TCM promo. I don't do a ton of looking ahead on the Website. As night after night after night of March rolled on, I began to think I was hallucinating those brief clips.

 

But now I finally see it's airing on Monday. Pretty sure it's a TCM Premiere. Can't remember ever seeing it even during an annual 31 Days presentation, which is usually when you would see a multiple Oscar nominee from post 1965 or so. I hope even the naysayers will check it out. It is, in my opinion, a really, really great movie. All three leads very deservedly got Oscar nominations. Though he's not seen in the brief TCM promos, the great, great Albert Brooks is maybe the best reason to watch this movie. Although Hurt and Hunter are fantastic as well. I think it's James L. Brooks' best movie. Of course, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT is right up there, but I like this one even more.

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One of the beautiful things about "Broadcast News" is that Holly Hunter was allowed to be Southern -- she's from Conyers, Georgia, not far from Atlanta. Her accent in the movie is authentic, and she's been very lucky that she's been able to use it throughout her distinguished career.

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One of the beautiful things about "Broadcast News" is that Holly Hunter was allowed to be Southern -- she's from Conyers, Georgia, not far from Atlanta. Her accent in the movie is authentic, and she's been very lucky that she's been able to use it throughout her distinguished career.

 

Not that "y'all" might have a natural affinity to think this way, right jakeem?! ;)

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Not that "y'all" might have a natural affinity to think this way, right jakeem?! ;)

 

It's just rare to see a Southern actress stick with an authentic accent and thrive in the industry. Sissy Spacek, who was born in Texas, comes to mind, too!

 

Just check out the late Mary Ann Mobley -- from Brandon, Mississippi -- minutes before she was crowned Miss America 1959:

 

 

 

And then consider what she sounded like after years of being a Hollywood actress:

 

 

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Well, first jakeem, just wanna say...ahem, excuse me...just WANT TO say here what a beauty I always thought Mary Ann was.

 

And secondly, yes, from your examples here I can see how she "toned down" her drawl over time. However, over the years I have met a number of people from other regions of our country and not just from The South who have taken elocution lessons in order to lose their accent, and who have felt by doing such has contributed to a greater success in their professional lives...and not just in the entertainment field.

 

In fact, one particular lady I once met told me she hailed from New Jersey originally and went on to say she got tired of being kidded about her accent after moving away from there, and so she took steps to lose it. After she told me that, all I could think of was THIS...

 

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Well, first jakeem, just wanna say...ahem, excuse me...just WANT TO say here what a beauty I always thought Mary Ann was.

 

And secondly, yes, from your examples here I can see how she "toned down" her drawl over time. However, over the years I have met a number of people from other regions of our country and not just from The South who have taken elocution lessons in order to lose their accent, and who have felt by doing such has contributed to a greater success in their professional lives...and not just in the entertainment field.

 

In fact, one particular lady I once met told me she hailed from New Jersey originally and went on to say she got tired of being kidded about her accent after moving away from there, and so she took steps to lose it. 

 

Ha! That was a good example! How did Jean Hagen not win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress that year? I would never knock Gloria Grahame, but she was more deserving of an Oscar for "In a Lonely Place" (1950) or "The Big Heat" (1953).

 

Still, I've always admired the fact that filmmakers have pretty much let Holly Hunter be Holly Hunter. It's interesting, though, that she's been nominated for Oscars four times, and her one win was for playing a character who cannot speak!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO1Vyb8ANvA

 

 

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One of the beautiful things about "Broadcast News" is that Holly Hunter was allowed to be Southern -- she's from Conyers, Georgia, not far from Atlanta. Her accent in the movie is authentic, and she's been very lucky that she's been able to use it throughout her distinguished career.

Quite interesting.  Actors in Great Britain face the same pressures to lose the regional accents and adopt the more generic central London'ish' accent.  That is unless they are cast in Eastenders or Corrie Street.

Some of the great Irish actors sound more English for the same reason.

I'm told that there is a certain Bollywood accent in India as well.

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One of the beautiful things about "Broadcast News" is that Holly Hunter was allowed to be Southern -- she's from Conyers, Georgia, not far from Atlanta. Her accent in the movie is authentic, and she's been very lucky that she's been able to use it throughout her distinguished career.

 

Holly Hunter is a conservatory trained actor (she trained at Carnegie Mellon). She has played many roles on stage and on film in which she speaks convincingly in accents other than Southern (film examples include ONCE AROUND, WOMAN WANTED, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, COPYCAT, LIVING OUT LOUD, THE INCREDIBLES ----yes she's the voice of Elastigirl!---- and the TV movie WHEN BILLE BEAT BOBBY).

What's impressive is that when she does play a character from the American South, she uses authentic Southern accents. Contrast that with Julia Roberts (who's also from Georgia) and her awful, fake-sounding Southern accents in STEEL MAGNOLIAS and CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR).

 

Holly Hunter's work in BROADCAST NEWS is at a level so rarely seen in a mainstream American movie in a "non-showy" role: a truly amazing and seamless blend of technical and emotional acting---creative and unexpected line interpretations and behavioral choices rooted in reality matched with a visceral inner life.

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Quite interesting.  Actors in Great Britain face the same pressures to lose the regional accents and adopt the more generic central London'ish' accent.  That is unless they are cast in Eastenders or Corrie Street.

Some of the great Irish actors sound more English for the same reason.

I'm told that there is a certain Bollywood accent in India as well.

 

That must be the "posh" accent that everyone talks about. I believe even the great Sir Michael Caine had to use one in "Zulu" (1964), which was one of his first big movies.

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That must be the "posh" accent that everyone talks about. I believe even the great Sir Michael Caine had to use one in "Zulu" (1964), which was one of his first big movies.

Well Posh might be considered a tad OTT.  Quite fitting for the toffee-nosed role Caine played in Zulu.

Perhaps more like Pierce Brosnan's middle of the road English accent.  Which is quite good for an Irishman.

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Holly Hunter is a conservatory trained actor (she trained at Carnegie Mellon). She has played many roles on stage and on film in which she speaks convincingly in accents other than Southern (film examples include ONCE AROUND, WOMAN WANTED, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, COPYCAT, LIVING OUT LOUD, THE INCREDIBLES ----yes she's the voice of Elastigirl!---- and the TV movie WHEN BILLE BEAT BOBBY).

What's impressive is that when she does play a character from the American South, she uses authentic Southern accents. Contrast that with Julia Roberts (who's also from Georgia) and her awful, fake-sounding Southern accents in STEEL MAGNOLIAS and CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR).

 

It's possible that Julia Roberts lost all traces of a Southern accent after she moved to New York and began taking acting classes there. Or maybe she's not as skillful at switching between accents as, say, Joanne Woodward was.

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Broadcast New really changed my life.   I was engaged to be married and my finance and I went to see this movie.   We were discussing the movie and she felt the Hunter character made a big mistake by dropping the Hurt character.    She really didn't understand why.   Well I was way more like the Brooks character than the Hurt one.   My finance use to date Hurt type guys as portrayed in the movie) and was always making it clear she wanted me to dress better,  drive a nicer car,  etc.      Hey, I was an artistic and intellectual type of guy (OK close to a nerd but a musician can't be a nerd!),    and not a pretty boy type.    Substance over style was how I rolled.

 

Well the wedding was 3 weeks away and I just couldn't get this movie and our discussion out of my mind.    She really didn't love me but instead her ideal of what her man should be.    I called the wedding off.   Best choice I ever made!     

 

 

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It's possible that Julia Roberts lost all traces of a Southern accent after she moved to New York and began taking acting classes there. Or maybe she's not as skillful at switching between accents as, say, Joanne Woodward was.

 

It's perplexing  that Julia Roberts was compelled to use a "fake" Southern accent for STEEL MAGNOLIAS rather than the real one she had at the time she was making the movie. 

Note her accent when she's accepting her Golden Globes for STEEL MAGNOLIAS and for PRETTY WOMAN.

 

 

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I thought it was OK, but it didn't "grab my heart" as much as it had other's.  Of course, for MY money, Hurt's easier to take than Will Ferrell's Ron Burgandy(or whatever).

 

 

Sepiatone

I was not impressed with a dull flavorless ,,comedy'' where the big joke is that Hurt does not understand the news that he is reading.

Where do I go to reclaim the time that I wasted watching movies that I loathed? (five sour faces)

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I was not impressed with a dull flavorless ,,comedy'' where the big joke is that Hurt does not understand the news that he is reading.

Where do I go to reclaim the time that I wasted watching movies that I loathed? (five sour faces)

 

Wow Palmerin! So you didn't even like all the great sarcastic lines Albert Brooks delivers so well in this thing, or his flop-sweat scene while presenting the news???

 

Well, maybe you didn't, but I gotta say I enjoyed revisiting this film again last night and after not seeing it since its initial theatrical release.

 

(...but as they say, "To each their own", I suppose)

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I was not impressed with a dull flavorless ,,comedy'' where the big joke is that Hurt does not understand the news that he is reading.

Where do I go to reclaim the time that I wasted watching (BROADCAST NEWS)

I've been hesitant to post my feelings about the movie, but I have to say that you and I are in the exact same camp.

 

it made absolutely no impact on me. I couldn't get into it. I didn't laugh once. I didn't "root for" or care for a single character. I really just didn't "get" a lot of it.

 

I felt like the souffle just did not rise; generally classified as a "romantic comedy" it was decidedly short in both the comic and romantic departments; it was like watching an aggressively humorless, glacially paced, dimly lit version of "His Girl Friday" where none of the characters is likeable and Roz Russell starts breathing into a brown paper bag and bursting into tears every 10 minutes.

 

Albert Brooks annoyed me. Holly Hunter really really really annoyed me (with her clipped, icy, terse delivery she always seems to me in every film she's in to be quite visibly annoyed that she's in it) and I don't understand why her character had to be having these constant nervous breakdowns (the reason for which I could never figure out) one wonders if the character had been a man whether they would have taken the same approach.

 

and really I'm fine with stories about intelligent, emotional, grounded, firm, strong women: even women who shunned thhe traditional role of being motherly or nurturing or warm. (what I'm trying to say is: I'd like to think my motivations for disliking the film and her character are not rooted in sexism.)I just cant explain it: there is something about Hunter as an actress and her character in this film that just turns me off.

 

In the end, my reaction was pretty much the exact same as the bored audience during Hunter's didactic, dull, and condescending lecture before the Broadcast association at beginning of the film. and I'll even admit I turned it off after about an hour.

 

I did not like one single thing about this film (and please believe me: I wanted to.)

 

I guess the biggest surprise for me was that Lois Chiles (who was a terrible, terrible actress) was actually pretty decent in this.

 

Sorry.

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Well, since I'm the one who urged everyone to watch this film, I feel obligated to say a few words in its defense. A few broad points:

 

1) I don't know that there is a character to "root" for, per se. I don't know that every good film has to have one. To me, the film is essentially about two things. It's a commentary on the shifting state of TV news, an industry in which Brooks used to work, toward a more "style over substance" mindset. Certainly, anyone who has watched TV news at all as it has progressed over the past half century can't help but notice that the anchors and reporters, male and female both, have incrementally gotten better and better looking and have increased their efforts to project themselves into the stories on which they report to the point of manufacturing emotion to get a rise out of the audience. The Hurt character, it was rumored at the time, was supposed to be Peter Jennings, who was also not a college graduate. People used to say about him his greatest gift was his voice and his ability to read well and that perhaps he should have been in the books on tape business rather than one of America's three nightly news anchors.

 

The second theme is the potential tragedy of mixing your professional and personal lives. For the sake of sanity, I think most people seek romantic partners outside of their work environment, but maybe when your work is all-consuming, as it appears to be for most or all of these characters, you look for love where it's convenient. It doesn't work out well for any of our three principles, and at times they're not particularly nice to each other, but I personally found them all to be fascinatingly flawed and human.

 

2) I can't help if you went into the movie with the idea that it was going to be a romantic comedy. Sometimes films don't always truly represent themselves in their promotional material. I saw this film originally in the theater when I was a freshman in college. I went into it with the idea that it was going to be a James L. Brooks movie. At that point, there had only been one other, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, which had romantic and comedic moments but was mainly, in my opinion, a pretty heavy drama, full of bitter exchanges and messy emotions, so I was expecting more of the same. BROADCAST NEWS doesn't have the colossal, overarching tragedy of its predecessor, but it's filled with small tragedies, the failures of the leads to make any genuine connections.

 

3) You didn't laugh once? Wow. Everyone has different senses of humor, I guess. I laughed a ton, particularly any time Joan Cusack was on screen. Her mad dash through the newsroom. Her wonderful exchange with Albert Brooks at the party. When she tells Holly Hunter, "Except for socially, you're my role model". When the engineer guy thanks William Hurt for being the first human ever to ask his opinion about something. When the regional boss suggests Jack Nicholson could have spared all the corporate heartbreak by shaving a million or two of his salary and Nicholson's reaction to that statement and the boss' reaction to that reaction. The guy who tells the boss "I hope you die soon" when he asks if there's anything he can do for him. When the boss tells Hunter it must be wonderful to always believe you're right, and she, utterly incapable of recognizing his sarcasm, responds with heartfelt sincerity and genuine personal anguish, "No, it's AWFUL!" That last scene got a massive roar from the crowd when I saw it in the theater.

 

4) I'm not a woman and probably can't speak with any authority on the portrayal of Hunter's character. It felt perfectly clear to me why she broke into tears all the time. She was lonely and miserable and felt she had no life outside of work. She was alarmed at the changes in the industry she was putting her life into and was met as we saw early in the movie with boredom and indifference from her colleagues. She ruins her chances to seduce a man by getting hung up on personal points of professional principle (how's that for alliteration?) and later ruins her chance at romance or at least a hot, sexy vacation with him because she once again gets hung up on personal principle. My experience in life has been women sometimes like to have a good cry for reasons that men like me don't understand. I didn't really find it odd that she was crying all the time when alone, but like I say, I can't speak to that personally.

 

On the other hand, I felt great empathy for the Brooks character, identifying with him as an intelligent, erudite man hopelessly in love with a woman who has forever locked him in the friend zone because she prefers dim bulb pretty boys as romantic partners. Story of my life, multiple chapters. He expresses both a heartfelt declaration of love to her in one scene and later a bitter prediction of her impending weight gain, emanating from a need to hurt her that he can no longer help.

 

Well, I've written enough. Hope something I've said makes you want to give the movie another chance. But I won't be upset if it doesn't. The world would be boring if we all had the same opinions about everything.

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If the movie was half as compelling as your excellent review, i'd've been utterly captivated.

 

if it airs again (and I hope very much that it does) i will definitely try to give it another shot.

 

full disclosure: I didn't really want to get into airing the deets of my personal life, but I've been on the losing end of a really bad battle with depression lately and I think that probably affected the way I viewed the film.

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I laughed a ton. The guy who tells the boss "I hope you die soon" when he asks if there's anything he can do for him. When the boss tells Hunter it must be wonderful to always believe you're right, and she, utterly incapable of recognizing his sarcasm, responds with heartfelt sincerity and genuine personal anguish, "No, it's AWFUL!" That last scene got a massive roar from the crowd when I saw it in the theater.

 

 

Also the boss's administrative assistant hiding her face in laughter when the guy (after he's been given "early retirement") tells the boss "I certainly hope you'll die soon."

 

Another great line of Holly Hunter's which she delivers with sincerity (making it all the more funny): "I have passed some line some place. I'm beginning to repel people I'm trying to seduce."

 

And when Hunter is producing the Libya story. She gets a call from a staff member about problems getting one of the guests to the studio in time. The boss witnesses her screaming into the phone: "Don't try. Do it! Or I'll fry your fat a-s-s, Estelle!" After Holly Hunter hangs up the phone the boss stares at her for a moment and then remarks to a colleague, "I had no idea she was this good."

 

And when Albert Brooks visits Hunter when she's getting ready  for the dinner with Tom (William Hurt): When Brooks refers to it as a "date," she says it's not a date, only co-workers attending a professional conclave. THEN we see her take a box of of condoms out of a bag and plop it into her purse. 

[When I first saw this movie on pan-and-scan VHS years ago I couldn't see exactly  what she was putting into the purse although I could guess ... but seeing it on widescreen HD this week and on my Blu-ray  I could see the Trojan's package very clearly.] 

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I should probably start a new thread for this, but I learned last night that I too can be left completely cold by a movie that has been lauded by others. I watched ZORBA THE GREEK for the first time ever, and to put it mildly, it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I had seen a handful of clips over the years and my whole life thought that it was uplifting and life-affirming. But what I watched last night was just depressing and occasionally really ugly, and the happy little dance to tie everything in a bow at the end was just .. yuck.

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One of the interesting aspects of Broadcast News is that this is the first film not set in the South where the smartest person in the room is a Southerner. This was absolutely new, and it represents the growing importance of the urban, educated South in national politics.

 

Holly Hunter's casting, very late in the day, and her use of her Southern accent give the film an added dimension.

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Well, since I'm the one who urged everyone to watch this film, I feel obligated to say a few words in its defense. A few broad points:

 

1) I don't know that there is a character to "root" for, per se. I don't know that every good film has to have one. To me, the film is essentially about two things. It's a commentary on the shifting state of TV news, an industry in which Brooks used to work, toward a more "style over substance" mindset. Certainly, anyone who has watched TV news at all as it has progressed over the past half century can't help but notice that the anchors and reporters, male and female both, have incrementally gotten better and better looking and have increased their efforts to project themselves into the stories on which they report to the point of manufacturing emotion to get a rise out of the audience. The Hurt character, it was rumored at the time, was supposed to be Peter Jennings, who was also not a college graduate. People used to say about him his greatest gift was his voice and his ability to read well and that perhaps he should have been in the books on tape business rather than one of America's three nightly news anchors.

 

The second theme is the potential tragedy of mixing your professional and personal lives. For the sake of sanity, I think most people seek romantic partners outside of their work environment, but maybe when your work is all-consuming, as it appears to be for most or all of these characters, you look for love where it's convenient. It doesn't work out well for any of our three principles, and at times they're not particularly nice to each other, but I personally found them all to be fascinatingly flawed and human.

 

2) I can't help if you went into the movie with the idea that it was going to be a romantic comedy. Sometimes films don't always truly represent themselves in their promotional material. I saw this film originally in the theater when I was a freshman in college. I went into it with the idea that it was going to be a James L. Brooks movie. At that point, there had only been one other, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, which had romantic and comedic moments but was mainly, in my opinion, a pretty heavy drama, full of bitter exchanges and messy emotions, so I was expecting more of the same. BROADCAST NEWS doesn't have the colossal, overarching tragedy of its predecessor, but it's filled with small tragedies, the failures of the leads to make any genuine connections.

 

3) You didn't laugh once? Wow. Everyone has different senses of humor, I guess. I laughed a ton, particularly any time Joan Cusack was on screen. Her mad dash through the newsroom. Her wonderful exchange with Albert Brooks at the party. When she tells Holly Hunter, "Except for socially, you're my role model". When the engineer guy thanks William Hurt for being the first human ever to ask his opinion about something. When the regional boss suggests Jack Nicholson could have spared all the corporate heartbreak by shaving a million or two of his salary and Nicholson's reaction to that statement and the boss' reaction to that reaction. The guy who tells the boss "I hope you die soon" when he asks if there's anything he can do for him. When the boss tells Hunter it must be wonderful to always believe you're right, and she, utterly incapable of recognizing his sarcasm, responds with heartfelt sincerity and genuine personal anguish, "No, it's AWFUL!" That last scene got a massive roar from the crowd when I saw it in the theater.

 

4) I'm not a woman and probably can't speak with any authority on the portrayal of Hunter's character. It felt perfectly clear to me why she broke into tears all the time. She was lonely and miserable and felt she had no life outside of work. She was alarmed at the changes in the industry she was putting her life into and was met as we saw early in the movie with boredom and indifference from her colleagues. She ruins her chances to seduce a man by getting hung up on personal points of professional principle (how's that for alliteration?) and later ruins her chance at romance or at least a hot, sexy vacation with him because she once again gets hung up on personal principle. My experience in life has been women sometimes like to have a good cry for reasons that men like me don't understand. I didn't really find it odd that she was crying all the time when alone, but like I say, I can't speak to that personally.

 

On the other hand, I felt great empathy for the Brooks character, identifying with him as an intelligent, erudite man hopelessly in love with a woman who has forever locked him in the friend zone because she prefers dim bulb pretty boys as romantic partners. Story of my life, multiple chapters. He expresses both a heartfelt declaration of love to her in one scene and later a bitter prediction of her impending weight gain, emanating from a need to hurt her that he can no longer help.

 

Well, I've written enough. Hope something I've said makes you want to give the movie another chance. But I won't be upset if it doesn't. The world would be boring if we all had the same opinions about everything.

 

 

No need “defending” a very well written/dialog story well portrayed by its movie characters – for me, I loved the “wit” admirably written and delivered throughout Broadcast News as I “rooted” for Jane and Aaron to make that romantic connection that seemed so fitting of their characters, which ultimately became a huge letdown when it didn’t happen at the story’s end – I though Blair Litton (Joan Cusack) character was too over-the-top dramatized, a slapstick-type character portrayal against a witty-type story theme seemed way out of place – I would recommend viewing Broadcast News to others, while hoping that TCM will re-air Broadcast News in the not too distant future.

 

Sewhite2000 – appreciate your review which pretty much touched upon much of what Broadcast News was about and why it is/was (at least for me) an interesting, entertaining watch.

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