Broadcast News + Pretty in Pink

Double feature: “Broadcast News” and “Pretty in Pink” are most obviously linked by their common depiction of that oft-instantiated shape, the love triangle.

The romantic configurations in both films could be described as obtuse triangles, as much for the lack of awareness with which all three sides tend to their hearts as for their structural asymmetry.

In both,  single-minded devotion makes a friend attempt the pole vault from taken-for-granted to…taken, while the chemistry of difference leads two opposites to venture something on neutral ground. Of the two films, “Broadcast News” squares its triangle with a greater degree of honesty.

But these films are also linked by their foregrounded moral stances, which – from their very first scenes – reveal an uncompromising line distinguishing the upright from the corrupt.

In the case of “Pretty in Pink,” the line of opposition, taking literal form in the train-track running through town, separates creators from consumers.  “Broadcast News” keeps the consumers offscreen, opposing creators who have paid their dues with substance to those who have short-cutted with style. In both films, the former group is frustrated by their conviction that what the latters have is not only under-appreciated, but also unearned.

Both films argue that if you want something enough, it should be yours.  Yet both provide convincing evidence that this dictum, while potentially true for matters of the mind or wallet, is patently untrue for matters of the heart.

For a marathon: “Broadcast News” worries about our carrying over the traits sustaining professional success into our personal affairs, which they are apt to jeopardize.   In a way, “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” does the same, but with less wallowing (and more octopus.)

“Pretty in Pink”‘s Andie Walsh basically grows up to become the titular Betsy of “Betsy’s Wedding,”  complete with a fairly Blane-ish betrothed.

The teen angst of “Pretty in Pink” and the workplace sobbing of “Broadcast News” may be less operatic and vividly-paletted than the emotions in “Talk to Her” – another exploration of un-encouraged devotion – but they are no less keenly-felt.

Stay on the path of woefully misdirected affection with “The Story of Adele H.”

(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “ReeseCLloyd” and “DBDuo Photography” at Flickr)

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