News & Politics

Vote: The Most Washington Movie Ever Tournament, Part 2

Choose the most Washington movies about death and destruction in our city.

Welcome back to Washingtonian’s inaugural movie bracket, where we work to determine what’s the Most Washington Movie Ever. Herewith, your second quadrant of 16 contenders. You can vote on this set until Wednesday, February 25, at 11:59 pm. For the full slate of competitors, click here. And if you haven’t voted on the first group of movies, click here.

1. Movie: Independence Day

Year: 1996

Stars: Bill Pullman, Will Smith, Jeff Goldblum

Plot: Aliens invade Earth, destroy most major cities, but are defeated thanks to fatal design flaws in their spaceship.

What’s Washington About It: Anyone who’s ever been held up by a presidential motorcade can support the aliens blowing up the White House.

16. Movie: Mars Attacks!

Year: 1996

Stars: Basically everyone who was famous in 1996 (and wasn’t in Independence Day)

Plot: Martians invade Earth, destroy most countries, but are defeated by a yodeling record.

What’s Washington About It: Metrobus driver Pam Grier just wants to make sure her kids don’t play hooky from school.

8. Movie: The Day the Earth Stood Still

Year: 1951

Stars: Michael Rennie, Patricia Neal

Plot: Religious aliens park their flying saucer on the National Mall and cause a blackout.

What’s Washington About It: Tourists stick to the Mall and the monuments and never get a taste of the real DC.

9. Movie: Logan’s Run

Year: 1976

Stars: Michael York, Jenny Agutter

Plot: Life ends at 30 in this hedonistic, post-apocalyptic future.

What’s Washington About It: Party-seeking 20-somethings discover their modern pleasure dome actually sits in the middle of the hollowed-out remains of a broken and neglected city.

5. Movie: Charlie Wilson’s War

Year: 2007

Stars: Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Julia Roberts

Plot: Texas congressman gets out of sex and drug scandals by pushing anti-Communist intelligence operations in Afghanistan.

What’s Washington About It: Nothing distracts from personal issues quite like a foreign-policy misadventure.

12. Movie: Idiocracy

Year: 2006

Stars: Luke Wilson, Terry Crews

Plot: Average 21st-century soldier is cryogenically frozen, wakes up in a future America where the morons reign.

What’s Washington About It: Ever been to Adams Morgan on a Friday night? All it’s missing is Brawndo.

4. Movie: Thank You For Smoking

Year: 2006

Stars: Aaron Eckhart, Katie Holmes

Plot: Tobacco lobbyist realizes the tobacco industry is bad and crooked, but not lobbying itself.

What’s Washington About It: You can quit smoking, but you can’t quit the hustle.

13. Movie: The Blair Witch Project

Year: 1999

Stars: Heather Donahue, Michael C. Williams

Plot: Film students enter the Maryland woods to look for a local mythical forest monster.

What’s Washington About It: Don’t write off Frederick County as a boring exurb where nothing happens.

3. Movie: Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Year: 2014

Stars: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson

Plot: Steve Rogers adjusts to life in the early 21st century, and discovers that SHIELD is actually a front for Hydra. I still have no idea how the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is going to reconcile with that plot twist.

What’s Washington About It: Sure, Captain America saved the day, but DC’s historic preservationists and other NIMBYs applauded loudest when he destroyed SHIELD’s flagrantly Height Act-violating headquarters on Roosevelt Island.

14. Movie: Breach

Year: 2007

Stars: Chris Cooper, Ryan Phillippe

Plot: An ambitious young FBI agent helps bring down a spy for the Russians.

What’s Washington About It: Anyone from Washington know it’s the mid-level functionaries who actually get shit done.

7. Movie: Burn After Reading

Year: 2008

Stars: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand

Plot: Clueless gym employees stumble into CIA internal politics.

What’s Washington About It: People stop worrying about the security of their shit, and that’s when things go off the rails.

10. Movie: Die Hard 2

Year: 1990

Stars: Bruce Willis, Dennis Franz

Plot: Drug dealers hijack a plane above Washington, and Bruce Willis must save the day.

What’s Washington About It: Anyone from here can relate to how miserable it is to have to drive to Dulles to pick up relatives in bad weather.

6. Movie: White House Down

Year: 2013

Stars: Channing Tatum, Jaime Foxx

Plot: Terrorists take over the White House.

What’s Washington About It: The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig would do some knockout reporting on how the Secret Service let this debacle happen.

11. Movie: Olympus Has Fallen

Year: 2013

Stars: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart

Plot: Terrorists take over the White House.

What’s Washington About It: The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig would do some knockout reporting on how the Secret Service let this debacle happen.

2. Movie: The Exorcist

Year: 1973

Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Max Von Sydow

Plot: An old priest and a young priest attempt to recover a 12-year-old’s soul from Satan.

What’s Washington About It: All these years later, William Peter Blatty is still trying to save our souls.

15. Movie: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Year: 2009

Stars: Ben Stiller, Amy Adams

Plot: Museum figurines who look like movie stars come to life and wreck the Smithsonian.

What’s Washington About It: The Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum really doesn’t compare to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.