Making the Grades
While most of us have tuned into a morning show, at least for weather or traffic reports, Morning Glory’s behind the camera look at a newsroom is both enlightening and engaging, especially if you’ve never been on set. And despite the extensive secondary cast of cameramen, sound techs and story editors, the film manages to develop well-rounded central characters, some who of become almost likable in spite of themselves.
In the story, Becky Fuller (Rachel Adams) has something to prove. After being let go from her job at a small time TV station, the perky but prattling program director shamelessly implores IBS News executive Jerry Barnes (Jeff Goldblum) to give her a chance to produce his company’s faltering morning television show. Lagging in a distant fourth spot behind NBC, ABC and CBS’s early news programs, Daybreak is dying a slow and painful death on air, thanks in part to the rift between hosts Colleen Peck (Diane Keaton) and Paul McVee (Ty Burrell).
Given the chance to do something about it, Becky fires the show’s sexually deviant co-host Paul during her first day on the job. But filling his seat isn’t so easy. With no budget to hire new talent, she has to scrounge through the reporters that are already under contract to IBS. Eventually she offers the position to the cantankerous, hard-nosed and pompous newsman Mike Pomeroy (Harrison Ford). He reluctantly concedes to accept the position only after she threatens him with legal action.
However just because he is in the anchor’s chair doesn’t mean he is happy about it. And his less-than-charming personality only adds to the general despondency that afflicts his co-anchor and the rest of the crew who, unbeknownst to them, are about to lose their jobs. The company brass has given Becky a mere six weeks to turn the ratings around or face the show’s cancelation. Willing to do almost anything to prove her abilities, the young director pushes the on-camera talent out of their comfort zones—which results in a number of partially spoken sexual expletives by the weatherman (Matt Malloy).
And unfortunately that’s not the only dialogue to mar this movie. A well articulated sexual expletive, frequent swearing and moments of crass sexual innuendo also show up on screen. The needless content is an unwelcome addition in a film with a strong script and quality editing. Pitting the value of soft entertainment pieces against gritty, hard-hitting stories, the film also addresses the changing dynamics of broadcast news. Becky gains rating points by scoring a personal appearance by musician 50¢, while Mike bemoans the state of his career over drinks with renowned newsmen Bob Schieffer, Morley Safer and Chris Matthews who make cameo appearances.
But although Morning Glory will give audiences a new appreciation for early morning television and the people who produce it, this comedy will likely leave some parents looking for another option to tune into for their family’s viewing entertainment.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Morning Glory.
What lifestyle sacrifices do early morning hosts have to make for their job? What impact does Becky’s job have on her relationships? What other characters’ family are affected and how?
Mike tells Becky that he has won Peabody, Pulitzer and Emmy awards. Why does Mike see the position on the morning show as a step back in his career? Why are many programs becoming more entertainment oriented? Are you more interested in soft or hard news stories?
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