CLASSICS: Broadcast News

Broadcast News
Directed by: James L. Brooks
Written by: James L. Brooks (screenplay)
Starring: Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks, William Hurt and Joan Cusack

From a modern perspective, this monologue by Albert Brooks in the last third of James L. Brooks’ Broadcast News is cringe-inducing, because it became true:

“What do you think the Devil is going to look like if he’s around? Nobody is going to be taken in if he has a long, red, pointy tail. No. I’m semi-serious here. He will look attractive and he will be nice and helpful and he will get a job where he influences a great God-fearing nation and he will never do an evil thing… he will just bit by little bit lower standards where they are important. Just coax along flash over substance… Just a tiny bit. And he will talk about all of us really being salesmen. And he’ll get all the great women. ”

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ARCHIVE REVIEW: A History of Violence

Image courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes

A History of Violence
Directed by: David Cronenberg
Written by: Josh Olson (screenplay), John Wagner & Vince Locke (graphic novel)
Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello, Ed Harris, and William Hurt

When David Cronenberg decided to direct this brutal, idealistic masterpiece in 2005, it was snubbed royally by both the Academy Awards and general public.  As time wore on, though, and the end of the decade lists needed to be made, A History of Violence rightfully appeared on them.

Once you see the movie, the title will evoke Howard Zinn’s People’s History of the United States.  That’s how definitive it is on the subject.  Cronenberg knows that violence is a part of human DNA, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.  He uses this to create a visually stunning, relentlessly violent assault on the typical American family.

The Stahls are that family.  Once the film moves past it’s brutal introduction, we see that almost too perfectly.  They banter carelessly, the children are obedient stereotypes, and the couple are hopelessly in love.  Thankfully, Croneneberg doesn’t stay there for long.  We see Tom (Viggo Mortensen) and Edie (Maria Bello) engage in wildly erotic, kinky sex after the kids are gone.  We see their son Jack (Ashton Holmes) do well in gym class and then almost get pummeled.

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