Broadcast News: A Comedy?

Broadcast News – 1987 – dir. James L. Brooks



I’m not sure why people call this movie a comedy. It’s a great film. Albert Brooks is hilarious (at moments) but as I was watching I noticed that a) I wasn’t laughing b) it wasn’t funny c) I’m enjoying this d) this film is really dramatic and powerful. I don’t think that Broadcast News is a comedy , but without a doubt it is a damn good film.

Holly Hunter is a produced, William Hurt is an anchor, Albert Brooks is a reporter hoping for a promotion. Brooks and Hunter are disdainful about the state of journalism (more flash less substance) while Hurt feels that the only reason he gets promoted is because he looks good despite his ignorance of the issues he’s reporting on. Hurt and Hunter are infatuated with one another while Brooks is infatuated with Hunter. While all of this seems like the set up for a standard romantic comedy, what sets this film apart is that it treats its characters (and the audience) like adults. People get angry over real things. There are no zany misconceptions or misdirections to create comedy. The characters have real flaws that lead to real conflicts. And while it’s not funny, it doesn’t have to be. This is a film for adults and I guarantee that most teenagers won’t understand it. I didn’t the first time I saw it. I’m still not sure if I totally do now.

But it’s nice to know that some people still make movies for a specific audience rather than a general one. 


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