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flop sweat


Holly Hunter, William Hurt, Albert Brooks, Joan Cusack, Robert Prosky, Jack Nicholson

Tom: What do you do when your real life exceeds your dreams?
Aaron: Keep it to yourself.

A producer, Jane (Hunter), and a top reporter, Aaron (Brooks), at a TV news station fight against the dumbing down of the news as budget cuts to the station loom.  Meanwhile, a new reporter, Tom (Hurt), has been hired, without having the experience or qualifications for the job.  Despite him embodying everything Jane hates, she finds herself attracted to Tom, much to the chagrin of Aaron, who happens to be in love with Jane.

This may have been my first time watching this movie all the way through from start to finish, even though I’ve seen most of it many times before.

This is what good writing looks like.  Clever, insightful, real, romantic, etc, etc.  Plus, we get three great lead performances from Hurt, Hunter, and Brooks.  Normally William Hurt doesn’t impress me much in movies, but he’s just right for the underqualified Tom.  He’s not a moron.  He’s just not trained to do the job he’s been hired for.  He was hired for his looks and his ability to speak well on television.  This angers Jane and Aaron because it’s symptomatic of the fact that the news is turning into entertainment rather than being informational.

Holly Hunter pretty much rules this movie.  She is the chaotic center that everything else revolves around, and I can’t imagine any other actress pulling off this character the way she does.  How did she not win an Oscar for this?  For that matter, how did this movie not win ANY Oscars?  I guess I’d have to take a look at the competition in 1987.

As good as Hunter and Hurt are, Albert Brooks is the reason I love this movie.  The guy just knows how to make me laugh.  He has one great line after another and delivers them all perfectly.  Plus, the scene where he finally gets to anchor the weekend news and suffers a terrible case of “flop sweat” is an all time classic.

You don’t have to be interested in the news or TV in general to enjoy this movie.  The romantic story and the comedy are enough for me to recommend it to anyone.

Stick with what you’re good at.  Don’t strive for a higher position just because you think you deserve it.

10 – .7 for a few lapses into silliness/contrivance – .4 because I’ve never been too crazy about the final “seven years later” sequence = 8.9