Still Lucky Jim?

Comedy czar James L. Brooks tries to fix the movie that used to be a musical

Jim Brooks doesn't want to let go of people. Especially the people he creates. As TV's most admired comedy writer-producer-impresario, he has lived intimately with such enduring characters as Mary Tyler Moore's Mary Richards, the Taxi drivers and all the Simpsons. For years on end, he has stage-managed the human crises, triumphs, compromises that keep the best sitcoms fresh and true.

As a feature-film maker, Brooks is just as determined to hold on to his people. Terms of Endearment -- his first film as writer-director, which in 1984 earned him three Oscars, including one for Best Picture -- begins with the...

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