Which movie wins the superlative for “most Seattle film”?
It isn’t a trick query. You in all probability already know the reply.
After watching greater than a dozen movies primarily based within the Evergreen state and unintentionally omitting “Singles” (1992) off of a “Washington motion pictures checklist” earlier this yr, I am issuing an official mea culpa in print: “Singles” ought to be the primary film each Seattle newcomer watches.
Thanks, Seattle Instances readers, for sending this Seattle beginner this checklist of Washington film suggestions. Most of those movies don’t comprise important classes about Seattle, however it’s enjoyable to see cameos of native landmarks. How does “Singles” rank in your “most Seattle film” checklist?
Plot: Cameron Crowe’s cult traditional and precursor to the sitcom “Mates” follows Janet (Bridget Fonda), Cliff (Matt Dillon), Linda (Kyra Sedgwick), Steve (Campbell Scott) and Debbie (Sheila Kelley) as 20-somethings residing on Seattle’s Capitol Hill.
Instructional worth: Very excessive. A number of flannel button-downs and boxers? Test. Establishing pictures of the House Needle, Pike Place Market, the Neptune and Jimi Hendrix’s grave? Test. A tutorial on tips on how to correctly pronounce UW? Test. (For the file, it is “You Dub.”) Kissing within the rain with out umbrellas? Test. Cameos from distinguished Seattle grunge icons like Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains? Test. “Singles,” which got here out 30 years in the past this September (Glad belated anniversary, “Singles“!), could be the quintessential set-and-filmed-in-Seattle film, which unapologetically screams “I’M FROM SEATTLE.”
We’re occupied with transportation continually
Campbell Scott’s character Steve, who thinks an excellent practice may clear up Seattle visitors woes endlessly, cannot cease occupied with congestion. Is he unsuitable? Who hasn’t been late to a gathering as a result of they had been caught in visitors from an accident or building on Interstate 5? I’ll have by no means skilled a pre-pandemic Seattle, however I’ve seen folks plan dinners round nonpeak journey hours, keep away from West Seattle as a result of the bridge was closed and select work inside their very own neighborhoods to keep away from lengthy commutes.
Parking can also be an enormous problem
I would not have totally understood the importance of the characters sharing storage door keys with potential love pursuits with out making an attempt to park on Capitol Hill myself. Let me take our tremendous practice/light-rail system to Cap Hill over making an attempt to park there any day.
We’re nonetheless occupied with the Seattle SuperSonics
Steve is in mattress with Linda when he is requested what he is occupied with. The movie then cuts to an interview clip of the Sonics’ Xavier McDaniel. Thirty years later—greater than 14 years since Seattle’s NBA staff relocated to Oklahoma Metropolis—fictional Steve might be nonetheless occupied with the Sonics and tips on how to carry them again.
Plot: Angela Childs (Zoë Kravitz), a high quality management employee for the KIMI digital assistant (suppose Amazon Alexa knockoff), hears one thing she’s not imagined to.
Instructional worth: Excessive. Angela’s condo, which was filmed in Los Angeles, is far larger than something I’ve personally seen in Seattle, however this film a couple of metropolis full of tech staff captures what it feels wish to be in an early-pandemic King County.
Seattle is a walkable metropolis
“KIMI” is an commercial for King County’s public transit system, that includes recognizable spots just like the Worldwide District/Chinatown light-rail cease. The King County Administration Constructing can also be a protest web site.
“Cinderella Liberty” (1973)
Plot: Whereas on go away in Seattle, US Navy sailor John Baggs Jr. (James Caan) meets single mom Maggie Paul (Marsha Mason) and her 10-year-old son, Doug (Kirk Calloway).
Instructional worth: Low. This film options Pike Place Market and Submit Alley (with out the long-lasting gum wall) and a ferry (“Gray’s Anatomy’s” Dr. McDreamy, a ferry fan, could be pleased), however it may have taken place in some other coastal US metropolis and it would not have modified a lot.
Key takeaway: None.
“The Vanishing” (1993)
Plot: Diane Shaver (Sandra Bullock) vanishes from a North Bend fuel station after a visit to Mount St. Helens with boyfriend Jeff Harriman (Kiefer Sutherland). Three years later, Jeff is relationship Rita Baker (Nancy Travis), however he is nonetheless on the lookout for solutions to Diane’s disappearance from her when Barney Cousins (Jeff Bridges) contacts him.
Instructional worth: Medium. This US remake of a 1988 Dutch movie will get bonus factors for being grounded within the space. You get a glimpse of Mount Si and Snoqualmie Falls. Pike Place Market and Pioneer Sq. Station function recognizable landmarks. The House Needle additionally makes an look, looming from a shot exterior Jeff and Rita’s condo at 200 Aloha St. Regardless of the sense of place, “The Vanishing” does not have loads to say about Seattle; Nevertheless, the characters’ costume code of beanies and flannel appears like fashionable Seattle streetwear.
Seattle has a creepy historical past
Washington’s historical past of serial killers—like Inexperienced River killer Gary Ridgway and Ted Bundy, a UW graduate who grew up in Tacoma—might give credence to the movie’s plot (and the occasional debunked Seattle serial killer web rumor). Nevertheless, dated references to answering machines, automobile cigarette lighters and hitchhikers make you marvel if the occasions of the movie could be as believable as we speak. (A extra fashionable retelling must tackle “stranger hazard” and the invention of cellphones’ location monitoring options).
“Harry and the Hendersons” (1987)
Plot: A Wallingford household finds a Sasquatch within the woods throughout a searching journey and brings it to their Seattle neighborhood.
Instructional degree: Medium. Washington state could be very inexperienced with a wealth of wilderness. This was filmed at Washington websites together with the Okanogan-Wenatchee Nationwide Forest, North Cascades Nationwide Park, North Bend, Index and Seattle. Dad George Henderson (John Lithgow) wears a Seattle Seahawks shirt.
The Pacific Northwest is residence to Sasquatch sightings
Is Bigfoot actual? The bushy humanoid creature was supposedly noticed greater than 700 instances in Washington, surpassing sighting studies from different states, based on the Bigfoot Subject Researchers Group. The phrase “Sasquatch” comes from Native American tribes in northern Washington state and southern British Columbia.
“The Ring” (2002)
Plot: Seattle Submit-Intelligencer reporter Rachel Keller (Naomi Watts) tracks down a string of mysterious deaths surrounding a creepy VHS tape.
Instructional worth: Low. I watched this film a long time in the past and didn’t do not forget that it passed off in Seattle. There are a number of Seattle Easter eggs together with an commercial for the Seattle-based sitcom “Frasier” on a Seattle bus; nevertheless, the American remake of the 1998 Japanese horror movie does not train us loads about Seattle moreover that it is darkish and wet. Kudos to this movie for holding a number of landmarks together with Harbor Steps flats, the Westin towers and the Seattle Middle Monorail. This movie may additionally offer you nightmares about useless horses whereas boarding the ferry.
It rains loads
The Pacific Northwest, identified for its seasons of rain, supplies an additional layer of gloominess to the movie.
“Harry in Your Pocket” (1973)
Plot: Sandy (Trish Van Devere) loses her belongings in Seattle after confronting Ray (Michael Sarrazin), a broke and incompetent pickpocket with a want to get higher on the commerce. The pair staff up with achieved pickpockets Harry (James Coburn) and Casey (Walter Pidgeon) to earn cash.
Instructional worth: Low. This movie presents sights of Seattle’s Union Station, the Fairmont Olympic Lodge, Pier 57 and Seattle-Tacoma Worldwide Airport, however this movie additionally makes you’re feeling like a vacationer. Seattle is only a place on a map and never integral to the movie’s plot.
Key takeaway: None
“Captain Implausible” (2016)
Plot: Ben (Viggo Mortensen) and Leslie (Trin Miller) raised their six youngsters to be freethinking survivalists and hunters in Washington’s wilderness removed from fashionable civilization. After his spouse dies, Ben and his youngsters go away their created utopia and return to the town for her funeral.
Instructional worth: Low. This could be the most effective film out of this batch, however this fish-out-of-water story additionally feels very faraway from actual life. The movie does showcase Deception Move State Park, Mt. Baker Nationwide Recreation Space, Sea-Tac Airport and different locations round Washington state. Liberal cities like Seattle may additionally appeal to folks like Ben; his father-in-law describes him as a “hippie.”
The PNW is an out of doors vacation spot
Washington’s pure magnificence has drawn hunters and hikers for hundreds of years.
Word: That is an incomplete checklist of Washington-based motion pictures. What are your favourite suggestions?
Correction: Ted Bundy was not a College of Washington legislation pupil as written in an earlier model of this story. Bundy was a College of Washington graduate who attended the College of Utah legislation faculty.