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What Is--and Isn't--Said in TV Film Reviews

January 03, 1988

Here are the transcripts of two actual TV reviews: Gary Franklin on "Empire of the Sun":

KABC co-anchor Paul Moyer: And a look at the calendar points up an immediate irony to Gary Franklin's movie review tonight. This is Pearl Harbor Day. His focus is on the Steven Spielberg World War II epic called "Empire of the Sun." Here's Gary.

Franklin: Well, Paul, it's no secret that I'm not an all-out Steven Spielberg fan, or, more accurately, of the movies he directs. I think the reason is that Spielberg films never seem to go beyond childhood. Even "The Color Purple," in which most of the blacks were childlike.

His latest, opening Wednesday, "Empire of the Sun," is another movie about a child, in this case a British boy, caught up in the turmoil of Shanghai in the late '30s just as the invading Japanese were about to enter the city. They do, the rich British boy is interned separately from his parents. In this scene he defuses a raging Japanese officer. Go.

FILM CLIP: "Empire of the Sun."

Franklin: At one point, the Shanghai internment camp is hit by American planes, P-51s. The kid is beside himself. Planes are planes, P-51s are kamikaze Zeros. He doesn't discriminate.

FILM CLIP: "Empire of the Sun."

Franklin: There are some great, almost classic scenes in "Empire of the Sun." Also some flaws, some of those great scenes not really flowing together. And then, especially ironic on this Pearl Harbor Day, there's an attempt to make you feel sympathy for Japanese kamikaze pilots getting ready to make their suicidal flights which will kill many, many Americans. I think it's still too soon to forget that.

So on the Franklin scale of 1 to 10, 10 being best, "Empire of the Sun" gets an 8.

David Sheehan on "Broadcast News":

KNBC co-anchor John Beard: And finally tonight, rumors abound that the new movie "Broadcast News" really looks like a sure winner. David Sheehan's here to give us his expert opinion on this matter. David.

Sheehan: That opinion having nothing to do with that commercial that was very strategically placed just before this. Wonder how they knew I was going to review it tonight, huh? Well, "Broadcast News" does indeed look like it is going to be the most unanimously well-received movie of the entire year.

And deservedly so, I think, because it is bright, witty, upbeat and up-to-date, a mostly realistic romantic comedy of the '80s if ever there was one--which means, by the way, that "Broadcast News" is not quite as much about broadcasting news as its title would indicate.

FILM CLIP: "Broadcast News."

Sheehan: There is plenty of behind-the-scenes actuality of what goes on in any TV newsroom since that is where the story happens, but it's really more about the news people than the news broadcast, specifically three news people caught up in the strangest of would-be love triangles as only the emotional climate of the late 1980s could produce.

FILM CLIP: "Broadcast News."

Sheehan: Albert Brooks is truly a genius as the highly skilled correspondent vaguely in love with Holly Hunter, who's dynamite as a highly aggressive news producer.

FILM CLIP: "Broadcast News."

Sheehan: Brooks has been hesitant to make a romantic play for this most significant lady in his life, feeling a lot safer with just a close-friend situation, until this new pretty-face-with-few-brains anchorman--beautifully played by William Hurt--stumbles onto the scene.

FILM CLIP: "Broadcast News."

Sheehan: There really is a terrifically entertaining abundance of humor and truth in "Broadcast News," mostly because these characters haven't been created as a comment on TV news people but as a comment on any people in their late 30s and 40s who are filled with the workaholic fervor of getting ahead in the '70s and looking for love along the way. And there's a great little cameo by Jack Nicholson, who plays a cross between Dan Rather and John Beard. . . .

Co-anchor Kelly Lange: All right. Thank you very much, David.

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