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“Broadcast News” at the Latchis
January 7, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
“Broadcast News,” the next movie in the Journalism Film Discussion Series at the Latchis Theater, is both a time capsule and a work of prophesy.
This 1987 dramatic comedy starring Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, and William Hurt will be shown at the Latchis on Sunday, January 7, at 4 pm. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.
The 1980s were a period of transition for broadcast journalism. It was the last decade, before the rise of the internet and 24-hour cable news channels, when the news operations of the three major television networks delivered both prestige and profits and tens of millions watched the evening news each night.
But many of the pioneers of television news in 1950s and 1960s were leaving the scene, and a new generation of broadcast journalists was taking over. Selling the sizzle, not the steak, became the new goal of television news.
Written, directed, and produced by James L. Brooks, the multiple Emmy Award-winning creator of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “Rhoda,” “Lou Grant,” and “Taxi,” “Broadcast News” received seven Academy Award nominations.
On the surface, “Broadcast News” is a classic love triangle played out in a workplace setting, in this case, the Washington bureau of a network news operation.
But, as the late film critic Roger Ebert described it, the film is really about “three people who toy with the idea of love, but are obsessed with the idea of making television.”
“Anyone who has worked in journalism will tell you that the rush of working on deadline on a big story is as good as and, sometimes, surpasses the rush of great sex,” said Randy Holhut, news editor of The Commons and host of the journalism film series. “The main characters in ‘Broadcast News’ are focused on their work, and romance is way down on the list of priorities.”
Along the way, the film slides in some bigger topics, such as journalistic ethics, the clash of profits with news gathering, and why the “pretty boys” seem to get all the career breaks in TV news.
The series is being produced by a coalition composed of the Friends of Brooks Memorial Library, Brooks Memorial Library, The Commons, the Brattleboro Reformer and the Latchis Theater.
The first season of the film series will conclude on February 25th with the 2015 Academy Award for Best Picture winner “Spotlight,” which tells the story of how the investigative journalists of The Boston Globe exposed a massive scandal of child molestation inside the Catholic Church.