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Primaries Over--Need More Contests?

In case you're already going through withdrawal now that the presidential carnival has moved on to other parts of the country, I've got a couple of contests you can leap into:

--What's the best Washington movie ever made? We've discussed this from time to time over on Potomac Confidential, but here's your chance to vote on the question, choosing from this list (or adding your own entry):

1. An American President (1995)
2. All the President's Men (1976)
3. Advise & Consent (1962)
4. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
5. Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
6. Born Yesterday (1950)
7. Broadcast News (1987)
8. Primary Colors (1998)
9. The Candidate (1972)
10. Talk to Me (2007)

Feel free to quibble about those selections on the comment boards. The contest, by the way, is sponsored by the Avalon Theatre, the community-owned movie house in Chevy Chase, D.C., which will screen the winning movie on Saturday, March 1, at 1 p.m. as part of a campaign to raise $2 million to rehabilitate the grand old theater and retire the mortgage on the place.

--Contest #2: We ran our own version of this one here on the blog last month, but now the District government is asking officially for your ideas on what to put on the D.C. quarter that will, somewhat belatedly, join the U.S. Mint's state coins program.

While the winners in my contest were mainly the biting and nasty suggestions you would expect from this here blog, we did have a serious winner too, so we'll see if the D.C. government can do any better. You'll have to hurry: The deadline for entries in the D.C. contest is Feb. 22.

By Marc Fisher |  February 15, 2008; 7:08 AM ET
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Comments

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For "best Washington movie", do you mean the best movie that happens to include a DC setting, or do you mean the good or great movie that best portrays Washington and how it works? If it's the former, then I'd go with Dr. Strangelove, hands down, but I don't really think of it as a DC film. If it's the latter, I'd go with Advise and Consent. And don't get me started on Mr. Smith--I still can't believe they showed that piece of overrated silliness in a course on American government at my college.

Posted by: JJ | February 15, 2008 8:22 AM

I'm living "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"!

Posted by: Barack Obama | February 15, 2008 8:51 AM

For the purpose of this contest, an even better choice than Dr. Stangelove has to be Being There, another fantastic Peter Sellers movie.

I like to watch.

Posted by: JPM | February 15, 2008 9:07 AM

Houseboat (1958), starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren is set in Washington. It's about housing, not politics, a man trying to find a place with space to raise kids. There's an interesting scene of Washingtonians listening to a concert from steps on the Potomac near the Lincoln memorial; the orchestra is on a barge in the river and many spectators are watching from rowboats. That's how it was before the Kennedy Center.

"The More the Merrier" (1943) starring Jean Arthur and Joel McCrea is also about housing: Washington's housing shortage during WWII. A woman sublets a room in her apartment to a man who sublets half the room to another man -- romance ensues.

Posted by: ocouha | February 15, 2008 9:29 AM

If we're talking national politics and things, it's got to be "Wag the Dog"...

Posted by: kr | February 15, 2008 9:47 AM

What about "Dave" about an impersonator President who does a better job than the real thing.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2008 9:49 AM

This has almost nothing to do with Politics, but "Wedding Crashers" is based in the DC region.

The movie Dave also came to mind as a political movie.

Strangelove is probably the best out of the list of movie's above.

Posted by: Jon | February 15, 2008 9:50 AM

The Exorcist. Not just a great movie set in DC: the battle against demonic possession is great symbolism for the sickness infecting this town.

Posted by: Falling Down the Steps | February 15, 2008 10:02 AM

Funniest Movie set in Washington (and other places) "The President's Analyst" starring James Coburn. A brilliant and prophetic movie, one of all too few directed by the great Theodore J. Flicker. Also,it is very, very scary.
Second scariest DC movie: "The Day the Earth Stood Still". "Klaatu Baradu Nicto!"
Third Scariest DC Movie: "Seven Days In May". Frederic March as our best movie president.
Dishonorable mention: "Independance Day".

Posted by: LEX PK | February 15, 2008 10:31 AM

I would go for "Born Yesterday" or "The Day the Earth Stood Still"

They are both very good movies with talented actors, good plots and scripts, and tell stories about people and Washington DC.

Posted by: Historian | February 15, 2008 11:10 AM

Wow, got here too late today. I second "Wag the Dog" with an honorable mention to "The Exorcist."

Posted by: Leesburger | February 15, 2008 11:23 AM

You forgot "Kisses for My President" -- 1964, starring Fred MacMurray and, as the first female president, Polly Bergen. She leaves office after getting pregnant, a plot line that probably wouldn't work today...

Posted by: Movie guy | February 15, 2008 11:24 AM

Funniest line in "Dave" -- 'Who was she, Bill, some patriotic secretary?'

The real President, named Bill Mitchell who is a real schmuck, has a stroke while humping his secretary. The Secret Service finds a double to fill in while the real President is on life support and does a better job that the stroked-out President. Very good movie with good ending; several locals played bit parts in it.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2008 11:31 AM

I logged in just to suggest "Being There," but is see JPM already has. Very good, as are all the others mentioned!

Posted by: johng | February 15, 2008 11:32 AM

Regarding Washington D.C. movies, I personally liked the 1998 classic "Enemy of the State" starring Gene Hackman and Will Smith.

As to the D.C. coin, I think a depiction of either a crack pipe or bullets would be most appropriate...

Posted by: Robert Marley | February 15, 2008 11:38 AM

What about "The Contender?" It features Joan Allen, and William Petersen plays a smarmy politician who looks suspiciously like Bill Clinton. Another chameleon role by Gary Oldman as well.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 15, 2008 11:39 AM

There should also be a contest for the worst movies about Washington. I think that "Enemy of the State" was the movie that had a Metro station in Georgetown and was actually filmed in the Baltimore Metro. If that is the case, then it would go near the top of my list of worst DC movies along with the aforementioned "Independance Day" and "Wilson" a prententious, crashing bore. PS Honorable Mention "State of the Union". Not Tracy and Hepburn's best, but their first and more than decent. Directed by Frank Capra with Angela Lansbury and Van Johnson.

Posted by: Lex Pk | February 15, 2008 12:13 PM

Another vote for Being There. It's eerie watching the Pennsylvania Avenue scene and thinking of the differences.

BB

Posted by: Fairlington Blade | February 15, 2008 1:22 PM

No Way Out.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | February 17, 2008 12:19 PM

BEING THERE! And put Chance on the quarter.

Posted by: J. Kosinsky | February 17, 2008 12:25 PM

It's North Capitol Street, not Penn. Ave.

Posted by: P. L'Enfant | February 17, 2008 12:26 PM

It's North Capitol Street, not Penn. Ave.

Posted by: P. L'Enfant | February 17, 2008 12:26 PM
---------------------
Right, and Rhode Island Avenue too (remember the picture on the side of the building at 14th "Leon, the Main Man in Sound - with the little "tube" men?)

Posted by: johng | February 17, 2008 10:40 PM

How about "My Fellow Americans?" Two ex-presidents (James Garner and Jack Lemmon) find that they have been set up in major kickback scandal by the sitting president. The hook: One's a Democrat, the other a Republican, and they can't stand each other. But to clear their names they must work together. Hilarity ensues.

Posted by: jrmartin03 | February 19, 2008 11:35 AM

Echoing the lament of the winner of the "sincere" division of the Raw Fisher coin contest, this list of DC-centric films places far too much emphasis on the Federal presence.

So I would wholeheartedly reccomened the 1983 tribute to the DC working class: "DC Cab," starring Max Gail (Wojo, from Barney Miller), Gary Buesey, Mr. T, and a very young Bill Maher.

Whitman Mayo's turn as Mr. Rhythm offered sage, NSFW advice on setting life's priorites that I have carried with me to this day. An early scene also offers one of the most amusing grammar lessons you'll ever see.

The film also prominently features the World Famous Florida Avenue Grill among many other memory jogging DC externals.

Put it on your queue today!

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Posted by: Male Enhancement | March 5, 2008 4:51 AM

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