Our annual Legislative Day is set this year for May 1-2 at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. When you are thinking of coming to Washington, I thought I would offer some Washington movie trivia to ponder. As an avid HBO, Showtime, Netflix and Amazon user, my movie watching has greatly increased now that I’ve become better able to maneuver my way around.
Legislative Day in Washington brings to mind some of my favorite films that were filmed right in Washington. If you have time to watch them, you may see some familiar sights.
Here are a few:
Charlie Wilson’s War - This is a 2007 American dramedy based on the story of U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson and CIA operative Gust Avrakotos. In addition to the lifestyle portrayed on screen by Tom Hanks, the real Charlie Wilson had a DUI hit-and-run charge on the Key Bridge, leading to Georgetown. He was never indicted; otherwise, he may have been far less successful securing money for his project in Afghanistan. The History Channel documentary about his life suggested that he drank that night (and other nights) to ease the pain he felt for the Afghan people.
The American President - This 1995 American rom-com drama film stars Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, and Richard Dreyfuss. In the film, President Andrew Shepherd (Douglas) is a widower who pursues a relationship with environmental lobbyist, Sydney Ellen Wade (Bening), who has just moved to Washington, while at the same time attempting to win the passage of a crime control bill. In the 2016 Presidential election, candidate Ted Cruz paraphrased a portion of The American President when then fellow candidate, Donald Trump insulted Cruz's wife. Cruz stated, "...and if Donald wants to get into a character fight, he’s better off sticking with me because Heidi is way out of his league,” referencing the speech President Shepherd made about the attacks on Sydney Ellen Wade. Do you think Cruz was a movie buff?
LBJ - is a American political drama film starring Woody Harrelson, Richard Jenkins and Bill Pullman to name a few. The story centers on the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency after President Kennedy was assassinated in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson works to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy’s historic Civil Rights Act.
Jackie - After her husband's assassination, Jackie Kennedy's (Natalie Portman) world is completely shattered. Traumatized and reeling with grief, over the course of the next weeks, she must confront the unimaginable: consoling their two young children, vacating the home she painstakingly restored, and planning her husband's funeral. Jackie quickly realizes that the next seven days will determine how history will define her husband's legacy, and how she herself will be remembered.
The Exorcist - One of my personal favorites, novelist William Peter Blatty based his bestseller on the last known Catholic-sanctioned exorcism in the United States. Blatty transformed the little boy in the 1949 incident into a little girl named Regan, played by 14 year-old Linda Blair. Suddenly prone to bizarre behavior, Regan proves quite a handful for her actress-mother, Chris MacNeil (played by Ellen Burstyn. The famous Exorcist steps seen in the movie connect at the intersection of 36 Street NW and Prospect Street near the Georgetown University campus with Canal Road near Key Bridge.
I’m sure you can think of some movies too. If you are arriving by train at Union Station; many movies have used this location. From the classic Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, to the more recent The Wedding Crashers, Hannibal and Collateral Damage had scenes filmed there.
The Lincoln Memorial is a great spot. You may have seen it in Forrest Grump, The Long Kiss Goodnight and G.I. Jane. It makes great background scenery. I recently watched John Grisham’s The Pelican Brief and spotted the old Riggs Bank and Dulles Airport.
Being in our nation’s capital is always exciting and I look forward to seeing you Washington DC this year for Legislative Day.