Not having seen Broadcast News for a decade or so, I rented it for a 24-hour iPhone viewing. And about six or seven minutes in, after the final kid sequence (i.e., the young Holly Hunter‘s) ended and the narrative was about to begin, I was reminded of how nicely Bill Conti’s theme music sells this film from the get-go.

It doesn’t kick in until the last 20% of this mp3 file, or during the final 25 seconds.

It’s just a mild little TV-series melody, but the last twelve notes soothe you down and put you in some kind of mood. For no good reason, I mean. They just sink in and somehow tell you, “The film’s gonna work and you’re gonna be fine…trust us.” And I remembered this same thought flitting through my head when I first saw it 23 years ago. “This movie may or may not be as good as I’m hearing,” I said to myself, “but I like it right now…it’s a light, schmaltzy-sounding tune, okay, but those four chords from those violins and bass violas end the melody with a slight touch of class, and so, nonsensically, I’m ready to roll with whatever the film is doing.”

And all because of fucking Bill Conti. Curious but true. And I’m saying this as someone who can’t stand to listen to Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” Rocky tune.

There have been other movies and other lulling, curiously charming musical scores, I’m sure. But this is the one I’m thinking of right now.

When was the last time a film as smart and wise and amusing and morally affecting as Broadcast News opened? Movies of this sort are quite rare. You could say they’re close to being extinct.

Holly Hunter: “So…you like me, huh?” William Hurt : “I like you as much as I can like anyone who thinks I’m an asshole.”