Fizz spent the weekend at the movies.
Earlier this year, we asked the mayoral candidates to pick their favorite political films and Northwest Film Forum agreed to screen them all in a summer series that NWFF program director Adam Sekuler dubbed Mayoral Movies.
At each screening, after the candidates introduced and explained their picks, Josh did a Q&A about the film's connection to local politics.
He had to stretch it some, like when he asked city council member Bruce Harrell how Papillon, a strange two-and-a-half-hour '70s prison break movie about solitary confinement, sanity, and friendship (Harrell stressed the friendship part) starring Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen, could shed any light on Harrell's contrarian position that Mayor Mike McGinn didn't go far enough in standing up to the Department of Justice's consent decree over the SPD. (Most people say McGinn undermined the effort by being too resistant.) Harrell said forcing more litigation between the DOJ and SPD would have led to a more collaborative process.
Speaking of friendship, we also asked Harrell how he felt about his City Council colleague Tim Burgess endorsing state Sen. Ed Murray (surely Dustin Hoffman would not have done the same to Steve McQueen in Harrell's favorite prison buddy movie, which he said he watched repeatedly in high school with his pals).
Harrell said Burgess told him that he really really wanted to get McGinn out of office—and seeing the establishment coalesce around Murray made Burgess think Murray had the best shot. Harrell said he didn't take it personally, adding that in politics you find out you have "a lot more acquaintances than friends."
Of course, the key question for Harrell was if he felt like being a city council member was like being in prison.
Mayor McGinn picked To Kill a Mockingbird, translating the film's story of standing up for what's right in the face of a hostile conventional wisdom into a lesson about fighting against "car culture," alluding to his battle against the downtown tunnel.
"I'll get in trouble for going here," he joked, as his wife, also goofing, called out for Josh to give him the hook.
Murray picked The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a movie about destructive and tragic infighting during Irish resistance to British control, saying he was frustrated with Seattle liberals fighting Seattle liberals— rather than being united around common progressive goals such as police accountability and transportation.
Asked to respond to McGinn's criticism that his penchant for compromise only leads to collaborating on building more roads, Murray said he's the only one in the race who's actually secured dollars for transit while McGinn has only laid out plans.
Kate Martin picked the Watergate thriller, All the President's Men, but somehow ended up criticizing the Families and Education Levy. She said it was too broad without deep funding to make any specific project more successful. We're not exactly sure how the discussion landed on the families and ed levy (her suggestion was to locate health centers off-campus), but she did use the movie's focus on the media to launch into a critique of local media for ignoring her campaign.
The final show of the series is tonight at 8 pm. Former City Council member Peter Steinbrueck will explain why he picked Buddy, the Rise and Fall of America's Most Notorious Mayor.
We simply can't imagine what Steinbrueck will say a movie about a controversial mayor has to do with Seattle.
Footnote: For kicks, we also asked this year's most notorioius local politician—state Sen. Rodney Tom (D-48, Medina)—what his favorite political movie was.