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January 07, 1988 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1988-01-07

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, January 7, 1988

Page 7

'Broadcast News

covers

human

interest

By Lisa Pollak

If Broadcast News was a real
news broadcast, and not a movie,
we'd all know the difference, right?h
The handsome, albeit unintellec-
tual anchorman Tom Grun ick
(William Hurt) wouldn't be pro-
moted to the network for his refined .'."'
ability to cooly "sell" the news to
the viewer. Aaron Altman (Alb ert
Brooks) would earn a bundle of
h awards and' all the appreciation he ~.2
deserves for his brilliant political re-
porting. And as for Jane Craig
(Holly Hunter), well, we'd never
xeven see this comically neurotic
producer's quest to make her lovelife
as successful and ethically perfect as
her work.
Writer-Director James Brooks'£
film is a funny, wise, and insightful
look at the codes of ethics that gov-
ern the businesses of news and rela-
tionships. It takes us into the news-
room, but it isn't real news, not in
the sense of political campaigns and 4
missile treaties. After al, anne Aaron (Albert Brooks), Jane (Holly Hunter), and Tom (William Hurt) admire their work on a national
Four gives tours if all you want to broadcast of the evening news.

see is what a Teleprompter and an-
chorperson's desk look like. Broad-
cast News takes us into the news-
room, but it doesn't offer much in
the way of a "story;" in fact, the plot
is little more than the conflicts of
the love triangle and the day-to-day
operations of a fictional network
newsroom.
What makes Broadcast News a
great movie (there you have it; like
Aaron I "buried the lede") is that it
takes us into the newsroom, past the
stories, behind the desks, and into
the characters' minds - where we
end up seeing ourselves, our minds,
and our stories in real life.
Broadcast News may only be a
movie, but the acting, welL-written
dialogue, and the characters are in-
finitely more real to viewers than the
far-away stories on nightly televi-
sion news.
There are those who say only
people intrinsically tied to the news
business will find themselves relat-
ing to the on-screen characters. The
average viewer, unlike Jane Craig,
doesn't begin the day with a sched-

uled bout of crying before flying to a
Central American country to film
fighting. But James Brooks, who
directed the Oscar-winner Terms of
Endearment, is more interested in
the subtleties of relationships -
that anyone can relate to - than the
settings. Besides, you don't have to
battle deadline pressure yourself to
enjoy watching these characters
make their own frenetic attempts. As
Tom tells Jane, the rhythm of their
broadcast was "like great sex "-
an obviously stated but clever
metaphor.
Brooks sprinkles the elements of
the broadcast news business through
his film like a secret ingredient. We
laugh at haughty anchors and tena-
cious reporters. But we also see a
film that is cheerful, fast-paced, and
concise - the ultimate "happy talk"
drama, a true "human interest" fea-
ture.
Real life or news? Broadcast
News offers some of both. And it's
the differences between the two that
tie the film together. Television
news might give us "film at I1."
But this time it's Hollywood that
delivered the film.

. Records

Sting
...Nothing Like the Sun
A&M Records
Those of you who have heard
"We'll Be Together" on the radio
probably think Sting's new album is
more of the same that made his first
solo album such an immense hit.
Think again. Sting's first album
Dream of the Blue Turtles was a
jazz-fusion based record with varied
tempos and feels. On the n e w
album, the jazz feel is gone (with
the exception of an occasional sax
solo from Branford Marsalis), and
has been replaced by a ver y
electronic, distinctive pop sound.
Just about all the songs on ...

Nothing Like the Sun have the
same tempo. The album was
conceived, written, and recorded
while Sting's aging mother lay sick
in England. As a result, there are at
least a half dozen songs that deal
with the heartache of losing a loved
one, and the record has a mellow,
remorseful tone.
Sting includes several songs in
which he makes specific political
statements and voices his opinions.
"They Dance Alone," with Eric
Clapton and Mark Knopfler on
guitar, is a song about the "Gucca
Solo," a dance performed by Chilean
wives, daughters, and mothers of the
"disappeared." The lyrics openly
criticize Chile's leader Pinochet for
the tortures and murder squads in his,

country. "History Will Teach Us
Nothing," lists the wrongdoings of
kings and queens and says we need to
make our judgements based on
today's morals, not yesterdays.
"Fragile," protests the killing of Ben
Linder in Nicaragua and others who
have been "mistakenly" killed in the
war-torn areas of the world.
Sting also includes a timely slam
on TV evangelism with the upbeat
"Rock Steady." But the m o s t
exciting song on the album is a
cover of Hendrix's "Little Wing,"
with the help of Gil Evans and his
orchestra. This is Sting's best vocal
effort. He displays an impressive
range and tone in his voice which
has not been heard on previous
albums.

...Nothing Like the Sun presents
twelve superb songs in styles that
are very new for Sting. He seems to
be determined to create an innovative
sound on each new album - which
is an asset when used to provide one
of the best pop albums today,
-Robert Mittra
Game Theory
Lolita Nation
Enigma Records
Trouble with most of these
double albums is they always leave
the buyer asking that clich6d
question "why'd they make a double
album outta this?" Not that this new

collection from Came Theory is
really an exception. Indulgent? Yes.
Overblown? Sure. But enjoyable
anyway? Absolutely.
Lolita Nation showcases every
quirky tendency Game Theory have
tampered with on past LPs, while
highlighting the band's skill for
writing really catchy melodies. The
solid tunes, heady lyrics, and super
hooks are still intact. But on this
outing they're mediated by arty,
spacey, Mitch Easter manipulated
collages of the band's imagination
- often mixed with swatches and
swipes of their older material.
Game Theory continue to be
directed primarily by the suburban
conscience of Scott Miller - a
gifted songwriter who listens to Big

Star and thinks too hard. His honest,
painful cross examinations of
relationships (with females,
relatives, and friends) and dizzy
perspectives are at the heart of his
wordy lyrics, which are juxtaposed
with raucous guitars, harmonies, and
keyboard noodlings.
Miller's wordy songs always
shimmy close to the edge of mass
appeal, but never seem to bounce off
the college charts. One glance at his
titles reveals where his thoughts
drift, and also displays his earnest
studies of pop culture. A computer
programmer by day, he toys with
ideas and fragments as if he were,
well, devising his own political
science "game theories." "Plopse
See RECORDS Page 8

'ou

-A

"
1c an

'111011

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