FlipSide: Triumph of the ‘Hunt’

When Federal Computer Week began its brackets competition to determine the best government-themed movie, no one in our office imagined any scenario in which “The Hunt for Red October” would win it all.
Sure, it’s an intelligent thriller featuring a fine performance by Sean Connery. But it hardly stood out in a field that lacked neither thrills nor award-winning performances. And as noted last week, it’s difficult to imagine how a story set in the Cold War could resonate in an era when everything has changed.

“Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” on the other hand, with its story of one man’s battle against the entrenched powers in Washington, seemed perfectly in tune with election year politics. Sure enough, Frank Capra’s 1939 film won handily round after round, always racking up 60 percent or more of the votes. Why would the final match be any different?

But it was. When we called the race, as planned, at 11 a.m. Thursday, “The Hunt for Red October” had won with 51 percent of the vote, the slimmest margin of victory for any movie since the second round, but a victory nonetheless.

Did military voters make the difference? Perhaps. But one FCW staff member, not blinded by nostalgia like some of us, suggested a more cold-hearted interpretation: When we crossed into the 21st century, “The Hunt” made the cut and “Mr. Smith,” alas, did not.

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