DEFENDING YOUR LIFE
1991, Warner Bros., 112 min, USA, Dir: Albert Brooks

When ad exec Albert Brooks dies in a car accident, he learns what the afterlife is really like - a combination theme park and Hollywood screening room, where the deceased are forced to "defend" moments from their lives in the way that Hollywood directors have to defend their work from critics and studio executives. Brooks finds love with Meryl Streep, another of the recently departed, but their relationship is complicated by the fact that Brooks suspects they might be going on to very different places. Brooks' masterpiece is not only a witty philosophical comedy but perhaps the best love story of the 1990s.


BROADCAST NEWS
1987, 20th Century Fox, 133 min, USA, Dir: James L. Brooks

“He personifies everything that you've been fighting against. And I'm in love with you. How do you like that? I buried the lead.” In James L. Brooks’ groundbreaking, astute critique of televised media’s slippery transition from hard news to fluff pieces, Holly Hunter, Albert Brooks and William Hurt make up the three points in a wonderfully complex love triangle. Jane Craig (Hunter) is an endearingly neurotic and talented broadcast news producer, whose close friendship with bright but sparkle-lacking correspondent Aaron Altman (Brooks) is thrown into trouble when a handsome, charismatic and simple-minded rookie anchor (Hurt) becomes the sensation of their show - and a confusing romantic interest for Jane. All three leads were nominated for Oscars, with additional nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. With Jack Nicholson in an unbilled role as intimidating, god-like anchor Bill Rorich.


HIDE-OUT
1934, Warner Bros., 81 min, USA, Dir: W.S. Van Dyke

On the lam from the cops, ladies man and racketeer Jack “Lucky” Wilson (Robert Montgomery) is wounded by a bullet and taken in by a farmer. As it turns out, a farm is the perfect hide-out for a crook, and Lucky stays on with the chickens and roosters while the police unsuccessfully look for him. But when Lucky meets and falls for the farmer’s lovely daughter Pauline (Maureen O’Sullivan), he must somehow reconcile his double life - his gangster ways and his current cow-milking - so that he can be with the woman he loves. A wonderfully funny crime comedy from director W.S. Van Dyke (THE THIN MAN)! With Mickey Rooney and Edward Arnold.


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