News & Politics

The Most Washington Movie Ever: Round of 16

Welcome back to our quest to find the most DC film of all time.

As the bracket to determine the Most Washington Movie Ever continues, it is clear, from the remaining field of 16 that many of these matchups are going, almost automatically, to the predictable choices. While it’s relieving to see the can-do sappiness of Dave head for the bargain DVD bin, it deserved a bit better than losing to All the President’s Men by a whopping 73 percentage points. In fact, the four movies alive in the presidential quadrant are the top four intiall seeds: The American President survived Wag the Dog in a battle of Bill Clinton-era ambition and Bill Clinton-era sarcasm, Dr. Strangelove dispatched Nixon, and Lincoln routed The Butler.

The “Death and Destruction” section still has a bit of intrigue to it, though. While favorites Independence Day, Thank You for Smoking, and The Exorcist are still going strong, 14th-seeded Breach pulled off another upset, knocking off White House Down. (And adding another item to the Secret Service’s list of foibles.) Next up for the scrappy true-life tale of FBI subterfuge is The Exorcist, which unlike Captain America: The Winter Soldier and White House Down, is not a shoot-’em-up soft target. Will Breach do to Washington movies what the University of Alabama at Birmingham just did to all of our NCAA brackets?

The “Secrets and Lies” category is a bit more stable. Overall No. 1 DC Cab continues to trample the competition, sending off Damn Yankees, No Way Out slipped by The Good Shepherd, A Few Good Men got past Enemy of the State, and Minority Report beat Shattered Glass, saving me the agony of having to make any more New Republic jokes.

The “Blind Ambition” group, though, is where this tournament’s other overrated buzzsaw continues to toss off superior films. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, which glorifies stalling the gears of government more than any other movie in the history of the medium, obliterated In the Loop in the second round, despite the latter title’s far-more-accurate cynicism and scenery. (It wasn’t Jimmy Stewart attending that Cannabis Corpse show at the Black Cat.) Elsewhere in the quadrant, Being There snuck past Alexandria football drama Remember the Titans while Broadcast News topped St. Elmo’s Fire, ending the possibility of an all-Joel Schumacher final. (He also directed DC Cab.) But Round 2 also gave us our first tie of the bracket, between the post-war classic Born Yesterday and Petey Green biopic Talk to Me. By executive decision, Talk to Me will advance.

The following contenders are going at in the movie bracket’s Sweet 16. In the presidential quadrant, it’s All the President’s Men versus The American President and Dr. Strangelove versus Lincoln. In “Death and Destruction,” Independence Day will go up against Thank You for Smoking, while Breach tries to continue its Cinderella run against The Exorcist. The “Secrets and Lies” semifinals pit DC Cab against No Way Out and A Few Good Men against Minority Report. And in “Blind Ambition,” Being There takes on Broadcast News while Talk to Me bravely walks into the Mr. Smith buzzsaw. Polls close Friday at 4 PM.

“Presidents, Fake and Fictionalized”

“Death and Destruction”

“Secrets and Lies”

“Blind Ambition”

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.