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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Black Hat
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Re: Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987)

#76 Post by Black Hat » Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:24 pm

How can it not be about her job when it is her career that defines who she is? Her ethics, her values, her outlook on life have been entirely shaped by her profession or more specifically her idealistic view of what her job stands for. Remember this is a person who even as a little girl was driven to have the career she wound up having.

I'd also disagree and say she did like Tom's personality quite a bit precisely because he was a contrast to Aaron and I'm sure every other man in the Washington world. The film I felt went out of its way to show us her affection for him on an emotional level time and again. That's what made the payoff, her refusal to sacrifice her professional principles for him, resonate so much. If she didn't really care that much for him outside of his pretty face then why does the audience care? Because we're all wrapped up in the tension of this ethical dilemma? That's a bit of not seeing the forest for the trees. There would be absolutely nothing at stake emotionally during what was a highly dramatic airport scene.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987)

#77 Post by Mr Sausage » Sun Mar 16, 2014 5:02 pm

Black Hat wrote:How can it not be about her job when it is her career that defines who she is? Her ethics, her values, her outlook on life have been entirely shaped by her profession or more specifically her idealistic view of what her job stands for. Remember this is a person who even as a little girl was driven to have the career she wound up having.
I suppose I disagreed because that phrasing makes it sound as tho' it's about her job or her career specifically, when it's more about her ideals for the profession and everyone in it in general, and therefore her ethics and ideals more than any specific part of her day-to-day job or hopes for her own, individual career.
Black Hat wrote:I'd also disagree and say she did like Tom's personality quite a bit precisely because he was a contrast to Aaron and I'm sure every other man in the Washington world. The film I felt went out of its way to show us her affection for him on an emotional level time and again. That's what made the payoff, her refusal to sacrifice her professional principles for him, resonate so much. If she didn't really care that much for him outside of his pretty face then why does the audience care? Because we're all wrapped up in the tension of this ethical dilemma? That's a bit of not seeing the forest for the trees. There would be absolutely nothing at stake emotionally during what was a highly dramatic airport scene.
Not really. See: when she barges in on him, and the subsequent reaction of Tom's father. She pulls away from him any time he tries for some kind of emotional engagement (and usually to run off to Aaron). Also, the idea that he's a contrast to the other men in Washington is unlikely, as tho' he were the first person like that to waltz through there. Jane and Tom don't truly connect on an emotional level, although that could as much be from her being too scared to do so as anything. Her emotional engagement with Aaron is considerably deeper, tho' unburdened by physical attraction.

Most of Jane and Tom's key scenes are defined by an intense physical attraction, from the fact that she takes him back to her apartment, but pushes him away when he bares himself, to their big News crisis, which he compares to great sex, to when he gropes her after they leave the dinner, but he doesn't kiss her until told, and of course she runs off to Aaron soon after he begins talking and then pushes him further away over the phone. There is no scene of deep emotional intimacy between them--which could be either of their faults (it's probably both), but the fact remains.

I assume the audience investment comes from two things:
A. the mechanisms of romantic comedy are used so well that you just instinctually root for a will they/won't they couple (tho' you can also root for her not to go, too, the film leaves that option open).
B. Because the movie isn't overt about the superficial nature of their attraction, and lets the leads' chemistry heavily suggest a possible happy ending (tho', again, it leaves us room to doubt it, too, both overtly and covertly).

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Black Hat
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Re: Broadcast News (James L. Brooks, 1987)

#78 Post by Black Hat » Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:06 am

I would agree with your explanation for audience investment but remain unconvinced about the level of Jane's affection. Emotional connection unfortunately doesn't always manifest itself in healthy or happy ways. As you said her inability to let herself go is due to fear. The fact that we're let in on her fear, let in on her insecurity is showing that this emotional connection exists. If she didn't feel anything what would she be afraid of? Why would she care what his father thinks of her? Why would she be upset when Tom's with the other reporter? Why would she breakdown to her best friend over it?* Usually these kinds of insecurities derive from emotional investment, not physical. I would argue that there is no scene of deep emotional intimacy because she was unable to let her guard down, not because a connection didn't exist between the two. In fact their airport scene was all full of deep emotional intimacy. All that she had suppressed and idealized bubbled over in disappointment. A disappointment that would not exist if Jane felt only a physical attraction.

*This might be over top but I'd even go as far as to say that the entire way Jane handled the final scene, immediately telling Tom about her boyfriend of four months as if that's some sort of accomplishment before running away from him to play with Aaron's son showed that she still feels something for him and hasn't ever really gotten over it. On the opposite end it seemed pretty clear that he was overwhelmed with the feeling of 'what might have been'.

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bearcuborg
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#79 Post by bearcuborg » Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:28 pm

Also worth checking out is this great James L Brooks interview on Kevin Pollak's podcast/vlog.

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flyonthewall2983
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#80 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:42 pm

Picked this up in the latest B&N sale. I watched the documentary about Brooks' career, and I have a question. Has Criterion ever used clips from films they don't have releases for in interviews or documentaries before, specifically from major studios?

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cdnchris
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#81 Post by cdnchris » Fri Jul 15, 2016 1:53 pm

Before this it was certainly rare, even if the clip was part of a documentary they licenced and not just something they made. Since then, though, I think it's been a bit more common. They even showed clips from The Road Warrior in the Coen brother feature found on Inside Llewyn Davis, and I'm not sure if that's one Criterion would have got from Warners.

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Timec
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Re: 552 Broadcast News

#82 Post by Timec » Fri May 17, 2019 8:27 am

For those in the area, the AFI Silver in Maryland will be hosting a Q&A with James L. Brooks and NY Times journalist Jane Mayer following a screening of this film.

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