Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Broadcast News (1987)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Broadcast News (1987)

In James L. Brooks' romantic comedy/satire of TV news:

  • the ironic prologue illustrating the formative childhoods of the Oscar-nominated trio of future broadcast news professionals:
    - young Tom Grunick (Kimber Shoop), speaking to his father Gerald Grunick (Stephen Mendillo) in 1963 about his good looks: "What can you do with yourself when all you can do is look good" - in the future, the good-looking, airhead, narcisistic, slightly dumb news anchor Tom Grunick (William Hurt)
    young Aaron (Dwayne Markee) who was 15 at his high school graduation in 1965, and beaten up afterwards by older upperclassmen - in the future, the insecure, serious, intelligent, uncharismatic network news reporter Aaron Altman (Albert Brooks)
    - young Jane (Gennie James), in
    a wordy argumentative discussion with her father (Leo Burmester) over the word 'obsessive' in 1968 - in the future, the fussy, driven, brilliant and strident network news producer Jane Craig (Holly Hunter)
Future Professions
  • the classic scene in which wacky news assistant director Blair Litton (Joan Cusack) painfully rushed to get a finished tape to the control booth in time for broadcast - running into a garbage can and a file cart, slipping on papers under an opened file drawer, jumping over a toddler and her mother, and slamming into a hallway water fountain
  • the scene of quick-thinking Jane cleverly feeding Tom information via his earpiece during a special live news report on a Libyan attack on US bases in Sicily, and Tom's gleeful reaction of thanks to Jane afterwards at her desk: ("You're an amazing woman. What a feeling having you inside my head... It's like indescribable -- you knew just when to feed me the next line, you knew the second before I needed it. There was like a rhythm we got into... it was like great sex!")
  • the scene of Jennifer Mack (Lois Chiles) playfully asking nude Tom about his prominent penis shadow in silhouette after sleeping with him: "Do you do bunny rabbits?" - after he told her about her open clothes closet: "You can see everything you have"
  • the famous scene of uncharismatic, nervous Aaron's debut attempt at anchoring the weekend news when he sweat profusely ("flop sweat") while a producer commented: "This is more than Nixon ever sweated" - and Aaron's aside as the news went to a commercial after he reported: " least 22 people dead" - I wish I were one of them"
  • the scene of Tom and Jane's passionate outdoor kiss when he suggested sex to her in obvious terms: "I've been wondering what it'd be like to be inside all that energy"
Aaron to Jane: Comparing Tom to the Devil
  • the scene of Aaron's desperate attempt to dissuade Jane from a relationship with media-friendly Tom by comparing him to the devil: "Tom, while being a very nice guy, is the devil...I'm semi-serious here...He will be attractive, he'll be nice and helpful...He'll never do an evil thing. He'll never deliberately hurt a living thing. He'll just bit by little bit lower our standards where they're important. Just a tiny little bit. Just coax along. Flash over substance...And he'll get all the great women" - when Jane accused Aaron of being the devil, he countered that her assertion was impossible: ("You know I'm not...Because I think we have the kind of friendship where if I were the Devil, you'd be the only one I would tell...Give me this. He personifies everything you've been fighting against - And I'm in love with you. How do ya like that? I buried the lead")
  • shortly later as they parted in a difficult farewell scene, Aaron delivered a bitter, sour-grapes prediction to Jane about their future, five or six years later, when she asked what would happen to their relationship as friends if they ran into each other: "Anyway, I'll be walking along with my wife and my two lovely children and we'll bump into you. And my youngest son will say something, and I will tell him it's not nice to make fun of single, fat ladies"
  • the anguish and anger Jane felt when she realized Tom unethically faked tears in a cutaway shot for an interview - "It made me...ILL...You can get fired for things like that...(Tom's retort: "I've gotten promoted for things like that!") You totally crossed the line"
  • Jane's confrontation with Tom at the airport, telling him that they were so mismatched that she would not join him for a vacation during her time-off
  • the poignant epilogue in which Jane, Tom and Aaron -- both men happily married with others (and Jane in a relationship) -- caught up about things seven years later
  • the pull-back shot of Jane and Aaron in the rain under a gazebo

Running with Videotape - Water Cooler Collision

"It was like great sex!"

Jennifer Mack
(Lois Chiles) - "Do you do bunny rabbits?"

Penis Shadow

Profuse Sweating: "This is More than Nixon Ever Sweated"

Tom and Jane's Passionate Kiss

Aaron's Prediction of Jane's Future

Faked Tears - On Cue

Airport Rejection of Tom For His Fakery

Jane and Aaron in Gazebo


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