Although based on Nathanael West's novel that essentially trashes the journalist's trade as cold-hearted and Machiavellian, director Michael Dinner has opted to make his journalist a pathetic figure instead. The story centers on a reporter who is trapped into writing the "Miss Lonelyhearts" column for a local newspaper and then slowly comes apart emotionally and psychologically as he gets involved with the troubles of his readers. While the plot of the film remains solid, the characterization of the journalist changes the intent -- and whether that is for better or worse will depend on the viewer.
The film portrays a fictional nuclear war between NATO forces and the Warsaw Pact that rapidly escalates into a full scale exchange between the United States and the Soviet Union, focusing on the residents of Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as several family farms situated next to nearby nuclear missile silos.
High School student David Lightman (Matthew Broderick) has a talent for hacking. But while trying to hack into a computer system to play unreleased video games, he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department's war computer and initiates a confrontation of global proportions! Together with his girlfriend (Ally Sheedy) and a wizardly computer genius (John Wood), David must race against time to outwit his opponent.
High school senior Bobby Chrystal fails his French class, which will block him from entering Yale. His rich, authoritarian father hires an attractive 29-year-old to tutor Bobby over the summer and help him pass a make-up exam.