552 Broadcast News

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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ianungstad
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Re: Forthcoming: Broadcast News

#26 Post by ianungstad » Thu Jul 08, 2010 2:13 am

HistoryProf wrote:rather lukewarm on this one. Just seems a rather odd choice - and i'd put money on it being a choice by someone at Criterion for whom it is a personal favorite.
While it could be a favorite film of a Criterion staff member, I would say it's very likely that James L Brooks got the ball rolling on this project after working with Criterion on Bottle Rocket, which he produced. Don't know how involved he was with the production of the Bottle Rocket dvd but at the very least he wrote the essay for the booklet and was interviewed in the making of. Who knows, maybe he has some pull at Sony and was part of why Criterion were even able to license the film in the first place and Criterion felt like returning the favor?

Anyways, never seen this film but more than willing to give it a blind buy.

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justeleblanc
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Re: Forthcoming: Broadcast News

#27 Post by justeleblanc » Thu Jul 08, 2010 11:20 am

Polly Platt may have also had something to do with the release.

Perkins Cobb
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Re: Forthcoming: Broadcast News

#28 Post by Perkins Cobb » Thu Jul 08, 2010 12:32 pm

So basically we're back to 1992 and the days of laserdisc, where Criterion could get pretty much any studio title because the studios couldn't be bothered. Is there a "gory firearm suicide" emoticon?

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dustysomers
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Re: Forthcoming: Broadcast News

#29 Post by dustysomers » Thu Jul 08, 2010 1:51 pm

To quell any worries that this might be SD-only.

From Facebook:
Ben R-n wrote:So Criterion... Everyone is obviously saying Broadcast News will only be on SD because the image isn't blue... Is that the case, or can we stop worrying and expect it in on BluRay on the same day?
The Criterion Collection wrote:We think maybe the faraway gnu is inwardly blue, but doesn't want to show it in front of the camera.

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agnamaracs
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Re: Forthcoming: Broadcast News

#30 Post by agnamaracs » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:24 pm

Perkins Cobb wrote:So basically we're back to 1992 and the days of laserdisc, where Criterion could get pretty much any studio title because the studios couldn't be bothered.
Except that in 1992, laserdisc was a "new" * medium that the studios were afraid to support, whereas in 2010, from what I'm reading on this forum, they seem to believe DVD and even Blu-ray are already old hat.
*asteriskShow
even though laserdisc had been around since 1978 and was more or less created by MCA/Universal

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Venom
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#31 Post by Venom » Sat Oct 23, 2010 3:29 pm

James L. Brooks seems to have lost his touch nowadays (that new film coming out looks horrid), but I did love The Critic. If this is anything like that, I'll give it a shot.

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hearthesilence
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#32 Post by hearthesilence » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:14 pm

Interesting choice. I'm not the biggest fan, but I remember Broadcast News being fairly entertaining.

Rosenbaum gave it a glowing review, but he also put Spanglish and As Good As It Gets on his respective top-ten-of-the-year lists, so....

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Tom Hagen
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#33 Post by Tom Hagen » Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:12 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Rosenbaum gave it a glowing review, but he also put Spanglish and As Good As It Gets on his respective top-ten-of-the-year lists, so....
Spanglish is a load of limousine liberal nonsense, but I legitimately love As Good As It Gets.

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Noiretirc
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#34 Post by Noiretirc » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:04 am

"Look who it is son...."
"It's the Big Joke."

I never laughed so hard in my life. This is a superb film, and Hunter is beyond brilliant in it. We've all struggled with pretty/shiny things that are not right/good for us.

And whoever said that 80s films in general were terrible can lick my arse. (Or maybe start a new thread about it.)

criterionsnob
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#35 Post by criterionsnob » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:19 pm


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domino harvey
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Re: 552 Broadcast News?!

#36 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 13, 2011 3:25 pm

30 minutes of deleted/alternate scenes?! Has Criterion peaked already this year?!

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mfunk9786
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#37 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 5:53 pm

criterionsnob wrote:Beaver
Criterion's obsession with color bars has not subsided - they seem to work them into the menu design of any film that could remotely be associated with them.

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dad1153
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#38 Post by dad1153 » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:27 pm

Got the BD of "Broadcast News" yesterday afternoon and watched it last night. I saw it twice before (both VHS rentals in the late 80's/1992-ish) but at the time I remember not being very impressed because it didn't feel to me like the movie taught me anything meaningful about the TV business (was a Media Communications college student). Yes, I was a dumb punk back then. A lifetime later I realize that "Broadcast News" is the "Bull Durham" of TV newsroom media: just because it's happening in the background while the leads go through their relationship/professional troubles doesn't mean they don't love their work and appreciate it, it's just so common to them they rarely stop to think about it until it's either too late or they miss it. Plus, since I got my degree in Communications and work at a small TV production company in NYC (more toward the direct response commercial aspect of the business than news), it resonates to me on both a personal and professional level. It's like a mainstream Whit Stillman movie, except with the pretentious quasi-intellectual arguments among elite New Yorkers replaced by personal discussions between the working class Washington elite. And thank God there are no cameos by political/media personalities of the day, like in Ivan Reitman's "Dave" (which feels older and more dated than this 1987 movie).

I love "Terms of Endearment" and "As Good As It Gets" is OK (Jack's the man!), but to me the name 'James L. Brooks' always conjurs images of one of my favorite TV shows of all time, Fox's "The Tracey Ullman Show." While some wacky sneaks into "Broadcast News" (Cusack's famous videotape run, Marc Shaiman/Glen Roven's news theme demonstration, etc.) the movie is actually pretty serious and heartfelt about the emotions of Tom, Jane and (though he masks it well with them one-liners) Aaron feel for each other as well as their work. I remember not liking back then that these guys didn't seem to have an interest in the politics of the day or anything outside their immediate needs/relationships. Now I realize Brooks has written (and the actors bring to life) such competent professionals that we're asked to take for granted that Aaron and Jane follow world events and are smart in and outside of work (while Tom, while not being dumb, certainly prioritizes practicing news delivery in front of the mirror over reading National Review). That's also why I liked the epilogue and prologue about the trio of leads; it mirrors, without calling attention to it, how fleeting a moment in time is yet it's profoundly changing the world of TV news. Brooks was smart to avoid trying to show how news media had changed 'Seven Years Later' with technology; Tom Grunick rising to network anchorman was all we needed to see to know how far news standards had fallen since 'the present.' I couldn't help but be reminded of Brian Williams, whom I watched as a local NYC anchorman on WBCS-TV, being groomed to take over Tom Brokaw as I watched the ascencion of Tom Grunick to the network anchor position when William Hurt and Jack Nicholson shake hands (it's almost a throwaway scene but the close-up of the handshake is powerful).

William Hurt and Albert Brooks are great (Lois Chiles is also very good; I laughed out loud at the way she pronounces 'Alaska' when filing that serial killer news report) but for the life of me I couldn't bring myself to like Holly Hunter. Especially after seeing the Criterion bonus features where they profile Susan Zirinsky, Hunter's portrayal of Jane Craig comes off as an uptight nervous wreck in her private life that only a colleague like Brooks' Aaron (or a doofus like Hurt's character) would find likable by virtue of her professional competence. I didn't hate Jane as much as she didn't do anything for me. Jane became the cipher that could make or break the lives of Tom or Aaron. It's Aaron's heartbreak I cared about after he bombs anchoring the weekend news, not Jane's when she comes over to his place afterwards. Bill Conti tries hard (and mostly fails) to emulate the score from "Terms of Endearment" but it's an OK score. Whatever film stock Michael Ballhauss was using back in the 1980's really brings out the grain because, even with a 4K transfer (per Criterion's manual), this movie looks older than '87. It's detailed enough to get by and reflects how the negative actually looks (I shudder to think about the Fox people that DNR'd "Predator" getting a hold of this) but this is not a show-off movie. The Washington newsroom set is ugly as hell (just like they were in the 70's and early 80's) but the TV set from where Hurt and Nicholson (who makes for a surprisingly believable network news anchor in his few scenes) do their TV broadcasts looks great. Great supporting work from the Cusacks (yes, John is in it for like half-a-second), Robert Prosky, Stephen Mendillo (as Tom's father in two key scenes), and Amy Brooks (her deleted scene is a winner, even Brooks laughs out loud rewatching it).

Now for the true gold of this Criterion release of "Broadcast News" (which, unless you're a diehard JLB fan, I'd suggest you buy when it's on sale or cheaper than retail): the alternate ending and 20 minutes worth of deleted scenes, a lot of which is pretty damn good and well-acted. There's an entire subplot involving a whistleblower named Buddy that becomes Tom's source/friend (which helps explain why Tom was liked in the Washington newsroom and so well prepared when he had to anchor the special report) but also colors Hurt's character with a lot more shades of grey than what appears on the movie. Tom goes from naive to gentle to stone-cold (the handshake!), all for being nice to a gay guy that needed a friend. A lot of these Buddy scenes would end up, reshaped and re-written, into the Greg Kinnear character from "As Good As It Gets." Brooks claims in the deleted scenes commentary that Buddy's scenes were removed for time and other tone reasons, but I just don't see Buddy's homosexuality going so well on a Hollywood mainstream movie in Reagan's America (plus they also make Tom seem a lot dumber and ruthless than the dude we see in the rest of the movie). We get two versions (deleted scene and then alternate ending) of basically the movie ending with Tom and Jane together, and they're both OK but then betray Aaron and the movie's epilogue (which reminds me: did Tom become a better reporter and that's why Jane decided to accept his managing editor offer? Or did Jane surrender her principles in order to climb the professional ladder by becoming the managing editor of Tom's watered-down newscast?). Basically there's no satisfying ending to "Broadcast News," but that didn't bother me since getting to spend time in James L. Brooks' pre-"I'll Fly Away" mindset is such a cozy and fun place to be. Feauturettes and Brooks' commentary to come, (no) film at 11.
Last edited by dad1153 on Fri Jan 28, 2011 6:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Lemmy Caution
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#39 Post by Lemmy Caution » Wed Jan 26, 2011 6:26 pm

I'd never seen the film until last night and came away pretty impressed.
I didn't care much for the epilogue, but it was short even if the reunion of the 3 is rather forced and nothing. It also achieved symmetry with the cute, humorous opening bit.

I thought the interesting thing about Holly Hunter's character is how she is tough and in control and tense in the newsroom, depressed and given to crying fits when alone (so these remain hidden to others), and tries to be flirty and charming socially. So there are three sides to her, some of which burst in on each other. I foundher a very interesting character, as she isn't even really in control of herself, or able to integrate her various selves.
She's somewhat unsatisfying as a lead character precisely because she is dissatisfied.

All three of the lead characters reminded me of someone that I knew, which is an achievement. And I found it very interesting to focus so much on the guy friend. Unusual for a movie to investigate a guy who is close friends with a woman but unable to translate the relationship into more. The Albert Brooks role captures well the sensitive male of the 80's. Holly Hunter put me in mind of Sally Fields at times.

I'll check out the alternate ending. Glad you mentioned it.
I had intended to simply skip the extras disc.
Edit: didn't get much from the alternate ending or deleted scenes, but I did quite like the Susan Zirinsky extra which provided some good context.

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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#40 Post by cdnchris » Sat Jan 29, 2011 9:41 pm


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movielocke
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#41 Post by movielocke » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:12 pm

I was surprised and delighted to see the transfer began as a 4k harvest of the o-neg that was downrezzed and finished in 2k. I hope that's the direction criterion is going in for their future projects, and 4k harvests aren't just limited to projects that rely on studio best practices telecines criterion receives for projects like this.

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andyli
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#42 Post by andyli » Sun Jan 30, 2011 4:53 pm

movielocke wrote:I was surprised and delighted to see the transfer began as a 4k harvest of the o-neg that was downrezzed and finished in 2k. I hope that's the direction criterion is going in for their future projects, and 4k harvests aren't just limited to projects that rely on studio best practices telecines criterion receives for projects like this.
I don't think this can be generalized as a direction for Criterion yet. Otherwise how do you explain Broadcast News is done in 4k instead of probably more desired and important pictures like Amarcord or The Double Life of Veronique? My take is that The Broadcast News being from 4k scan has more to do with Fox than with Criterion, just like Bigger Than Life, The Thin Red Line, etc.

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dad1153
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#43 Post by dad1153 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:13 pm

Or maybe Brooks (who has fattened corporate parent Newscorp's wallets considerably over the past few decades with "The Simpsons," which he co-developed with Groening and Sam Simon) had stipulations written into his contract that "BN" be mastered at 4K or the highest-possible re-mastering process available. Then again, maybe now James doesn't have the pull with movie studio he did back in the 80's and 90's.

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movielocke
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#44 Post by movielocke » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:19 am

andyli wrote:
movielocke wrote:I was surprised and delighted to see the transfer began as a 4k harvest of the o-neg that was downrezzed and finished in 2k. I hope that's the direction criterion is going in for their future projects, and 4k harvests aren't just limited to projects that rely on studio best practices telecines criterion receives for projects like this.
I don't think this can be generalized as a direction for Criterion yet. Otherwise how do you explain Broadcast News is done in 4k instead of probably more desired and important pictures like Amarcord or The Double Life of Veronique? My take is that The Broadcast News being from 4k scan has more to do with Fox than with Criterion, just like Bigger Than Life, The Thin Red Line, etc.
that's sort of what I was getting at, the studio made telecines they get are 4k, which when downrezzed to 2k will yield a better 2k image than a native 2k harvest. just as a 2k harvest yields a better 480p DVD image than harvesting at 480p natively. I wish criterion would move to 4k scans, but oh well, even at 2k scans, their transfers still count amongst the best and most filmlike.

Amarcord and Double Life I presume are being made from the same HDCAMSR CTM made when the last dvd editions were released.

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manicsounds
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#45 Post by manicsounds » Mon May 30, 2011 8:00 am

Watched it the other day and thought it was a well made, well acted, with lots of incredibly funny dialogue (not over the top, not dirty), but like mentioned before, didn't exactly push boundaries in filmmaking. But prophetic in many ways about the TV news industry. Guess the movie (and the thread) just got forgotten about so quickly being up against "Last Emperor" and being overshadowed by other films.

Extras were far and beyond great. Brooks is always a great commentator, deleted scenes that were actually really good, and worth checking out.

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Gregory
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#46 Post by Gregory » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:17 am

I finally got around to seeing this a couple of weeks ago. My expectations weren't too high, so I was completely amazed by how good it was. I still find things in it coming back to my mind, and I can't wait to see the Blu-ray. So now I'm wondering about James L Brooks's other films.
Before this, I was only really familiar with Brooks as a writer, through some of his television work: The Simpsons, mainly, but I also watched quite a few episodes of Taxi as a kid. But I was in no rush to see this film because I knew that his film previous to this one was Terms of Endearment. And I saw part of Spanglish on a plane once and thought it seemed stupid, though of course that's not a fair judgment on my part.
So, does any of Brooks's other work as a writer and/or director really reach the same level as Broadcast News?
Last edited by Gregory on Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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knives
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#47 Post by knives » Sun Jun 05, 2011 12:23 am

The easy answer is no, this is his best film work. The harder answer is that obviously you have to look towards television as that's where a lot of his masterpieces are with the majority of his film work not up to snuff. There are one or two other films by him I like, but they're very light and none of them could be considered up to this film's level even by the loosest margin.

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domino harvey
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#48 Post by domino harvey » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:23 am

Gregory wrote:So, does any of Brooks's other work as a writer and/or director really reach the same level as Broadcast News?
The closest he came before was his script for Alan J Pakula's Starting Over, which is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest films I've seen. Like Broadcast News, it depends on an observant humanism to succeed, and the trio of performances central to the film are all stellar (and two of the three got Oscar nommed-- sorry Burt Reynolds!). Of particular note is Candice Bergen as a wannabe chanteuse who has what has to be the funniest, most awkward seduction scene of all time.

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manicsounds
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#49 Post by manicsounds » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:51 am

I think most people thought "As Good As It Gets" was overrated, but I remember liking it at the time (although I wasn't a film buff at all then), and I'd like to give that film a revisit. Still think the Mandarin Chinese title of that film is best: "Mr. Cat Poop" (seriously)

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Roger Ryan
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#50 Post by Roger Ryan » Sun Jun 05, 2011 3:13 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Gregory wrote:So, does any of Brooks's other work as a writer and/or director really reach the same level as Broadcast News?
The closest he came before was his script for Alan J Pakula's Starting Over, which is one of the laugh-out-loud funniest films I've seen. Like Broadcast News, it depends on an observant humanism to succeed, and the trio of performances central to the film are all stellar (and two of the three got Oscar nommed-- sorry Burt Reynolds!). Of particular note is Candice Bergen as a wannabe chanteuse who has what has to be the funniest, most awkward seduction scene of all time.
I agree that STARTING OVER is his second best work in film (even if he was just responsible for the screenplay). Despite the mawkishness of TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, there are quite a few nuances that enrich that film. BROADCAST NEWS is the best overall. Since then it's been all downhill. AS GOOD AS IT GETS was mostly mediocre, SPANGLISH was offensive and unfunny and HOW DO YOU KNOW? was downright infuriating.

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