Coronado Island Film Festival is all about movies, so naturally we love it when we find one that gets everything right: the writing, the directing, the acting, the cinematography, the location, everything. “Broadcast News” (1987) is one of those.
Even though it was nominated for seven Academy Awards and five Golden Globes, we had almost forgotten about it until we were scrolling through Facebook and came across a post by Ken Fitzgerald that he’d watched it with his family and “it still holds up.” You know Ken – a well-written political opinion piece with his name on it is most likely included in this week’s edition of this newspaper. You’ll also find his name on just about every top-lawyer award list there is, and he’s a professional musician - currently principal trumpet of the La Jolla Symphony. And, as our luck would have it, Ken Fitzgerald is also a good friend to CIFF. He and his wife, Coronado City Architect Ruby Carr, have generously sponsored the prestigious Emerald Award at our film festival every year, which offers a cash prize for the one film that stands out above the others to remind us that each of us has the power to be a force for good in the world.. Thanks again, Ken and Ruby!
“Broadcast News” is a wonderful, fast and funny rollercoaster of a film starring Holly Hunter, William Hurt and Albert Brooks, written and directed by James L. Brooks, and even including an un-billed appearance by the great Jack Nicholson in a minor role (unpaid at his request). Some of Hollywood’s top talent together right there. Hunter, Hurt, Albert Brooks and James Brooks were all nominated for Oscars.
The film is set in glorious Washington, D.C. at a time when television news was just that – news – which America tuned in to every night to learn what had happened in the world that day. It was devoid of “opinion,” those nice days before we were inundated by today’s 24/7 tedium of cable news networks trying to tell us how to think.
Hunter is perfectly cast as Jane Craig, a pretty, brainy young television news producer who really knows her stuff. She inadvertently finds herself at the center of a news station love triangle with her “best friend” Aaron (Albert Brooks), who is secretly, hopelessly in love with her, and Tom (William Hurt), the handsome, inexperienced, not-so-brilliant new anchor who is used to “getting the girl.” Jane, as we come to realize, is mostly in love with her job, a woman who is the smartest person in the room and knows it. What’s fun to see, looking back from today’s vantage point, is that Jane got to where she is completely on her own, with her own wits and determination, and the men around her recognize, respect and applaud that, and collectively stand a bit in awe of her.
James L. Brook’s one-liners come at you fast and furious, brilliantly written and brilliantly executed. Albert Brooks, one of Hollywood’s most gifted actors, writers and directors, nearly steals every scene he’s in, such as when he plaintively asks the question, “Wouldn’t it be great if needy were a turn-on?” His “sweating scene” will have you laughing out loud.
We found “Broadcast News” on Amazon Prime for a small, well-spent rental fee. Enjoy the ride.
As summer is officially upon us, CIFF is in the process of exploring some great, innovative ways to safely celebrate our fifth anniversary come Nov. 11-15. We’ll keep you posted as plans develop. Please be a regular visitor to our website – it’s constantly updated with news and new opportunities, www.coronadofilmfest.com.
We have been humbled during these past several months to witness this community coming together in support of one another, and we are honored to be part of a city that embraces the Cultural Arts as a vibrant and vital part of the quality of life so unique and treasured in Coronado!
Meantime, we hope this finds you healthy and safe as Coronado continues to navigate these uncertain COVID times. Please keep supporting our local restaurants and businesses, and remember, “Masks are cool”…. Just ask any super hero!
Doug St. Denis is the founder and chairman of Coronado Island Film Festival and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org