Although almost no one saw it, James L. Brooks released a film in December. Its name was 'How Do You Know,' and it disappeared after just a week or two without a trace, save for the news that came out about its spiraling production costs in relation to its (currently) $30 million gross in almost as many days. Brooks, meanwhile, was largely dismissed critically, and a lot of the coverage of the film focused on how out-of-date or faded his talents have become in the last decade. (Never mind the fact that audiences prefer much more simplistic, fantasy-filled depictions of romance now than they did in his supposed "heyday.")
As such, there couldn't be a better time for Criterion Collection to release their special-edition Blu-ray of one of his biggest successes, 'Broadcast News,' almost concurrently with 'How Do You Know.' Criterion's Blu-ray not only looks terrific, restoring and enhancing its no-frills cinematography (by future 'Goodfellas' director of photography Michael Ballhaus), but including a spectacular wealth of extra material, including an alternate ending, a series of deleted scenes, and an interview with Susan Zirinsky, an associate producer who served as a model for Holly Hunter's character. But of course the question remains, is it as good now as it was then? Or was it ever good? Inspired by both my pre-existing love for that film, and my continuing appreciation for 'How Do You Know,' 'Broadcast News' is the subject of this week's "Shelf Life."