John Kelly
John Kelly
Columnist

An unfamiliar Washington under attack on the big screen

So far this year, I’ve watched the White House get destroyed twice. In “Olympus Has Fallen,” the North Koreans were the bad guys. In “White House Down,” it was a motley collection of disaffected anti-government types.

The villains in both movies ultimately, and predictably, wanted to get their hands on the president’s nuclear launch codes, as if that’s all this country is good for: creating the means to blow up the world.

(Reiner Bajo/AP/Sony Columbia Pictures) - Jamie Foxx, left, and Channing Tatum star in “White House Down.”

Gerard Butler, left, and Aaron Eckhart star in “Olympus Has Fallen.”

Gerard Butler, left, and Aaron Eckhart star in “Olympus Has Fallen.”

What about our great spirit of innovation? Why not demand the formula for Coca-Cola? Or Secret Sauce? (Although I think if I had the government on its knees, I’d insist that the Nationals trade Dan Haren.)

I like a good B movie, even a bad one. These two are pretty bad: C movies graded on a curve. But as a native Washingtonian, I felt it was my duty to see them. I’m always curious how This Town is depicted by the people from That Town. It’s the same reason I had to see “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.”

Call these movies quasi-docu-entertrivia. Who among us hasn’t wondered what it would be like to watch the Washington Monument being toppled, something that happens early in “Olympus Has Fallen.” (I can’t remember why now, though I suspect it was for the same reason that people climb mountains: because it’s there.)

Both movies feature spunky, irritating kids and solitary Secret Service types who must save the president. I preferred “White House Down” because you got to see more of Washington — or at least more of computer-generated Washington.

There’s a scene in “White House Down” where we follow some Black Hawk helicopters as they swoop through downtown. There’s that glass skywalk over Techworld Plaza! There’s Greater New Hope Baptist Church! There’s the Chinatown Arch! I don’t think a Black Hawk helicopter could actually fit under the arch, but this is a movie where you must not only suspend your disbelief, you must carefully wrap it in a net and dangle it from the Key Bridge.

For example, the character played by Channing Tatum, star of “White House Down,” is supposed to be a native Washingtonian. He sounds like no Washingtonian I’ve ever met.

His character is said to be a graduate of “Hill High.” At least, I think that’s what they said. I guess the screenwriters figured no one would believe it if he said he’d gone to Cesar Chavez Public Charter School for Public Policy.

What’s in a name?

Several readers pointed out that there are precedents for Tuesday’s suggestion that the Redskins transform themselves into the Redhawks. Tom Hamilton of the District reminded me that in 1994, Wisconsin’s Ripon College changed its team name from the Red Men to the Red Hawks.

Three years after that, Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, went from the Redskins to the RedHawks — “and this with the approval of the Miami Tribal Nation that are represented on the board of Miami University,” wrote MU graduate Chuck Dougherty of Washington.

Blackberry picking

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the grand opening of a little watering hole on M Street NW. It was called Clyde’s, and you might say it was a success. Since it was founded in Georgetown in 1963, Clyde’s has spread its tasty tendrils throughout the Washington area, with 10 Clyde’s locations and four sister restaurants: Old Ebbitt Grill, the Tombs, 1789 and the Hamilton.

Clyde’s isn’t just of the community, it’s in the community, employing locals, feeding locals and buying local ingredients. For eight Wednesdays each summer, it prepares a special menu item in honor of our Send a Kid to Camp campaign. This Wednesday, it’s the Virginia blackberry salad. Order it at any Clyde’s, the Hamilton or Old Ebbitt, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Camp Moss Hollow.

Moss Hollow is the Fauquier County summer camp for at-risk kids that’s run by Family Matters of Greater Washington. Without the support of Post readers (and Clyde’s customers), many of these children wouldn’t have the chance to experience the great outdoors.

To make your donation, simply go to washingtonpost.com/camp and click where it says, “Give Now.” Or send a check, made payable to “Send a Kid to Camp,” to Send a Kid to Camp, Family Matters of Greater Washington, P.O. Box 200045, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15251-0045.

Reunited

These area schools are planning reunions:

Falls Church High Class of 1973 — July 26-27. Visit www.fchs73.com or

contact jlbuckley@aol.com.

Groveton High Class of 1963 — Sept. 21. Contact: Donna Krout Markland at donnamarkland@cox.net.

Francis C. Hammond High Class of 1963 — Sept. 27-28. Contact Chuck Sterling at: sterling9962@bellsouth.net.

Woodmont Elementary School, Arlington — October 2013, date TBA. Contact Lori Dolby Hoffer at woodmontreunion@gmail.com.

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com.

 
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