Have you seen these essential set-in-Seattle movies?

We know Seattle's a great place to live. These movies showed the rest of the world what they're missing

September 24, 2018
Movie theatre

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We're not super glitzy in Seattle. When a city's biggest industries depend on coders and developers and engineers, you know things are going to be casual, no matter how much money is pumping through the economy. So we don't have a huge "film industry" like some cities, but there are some worthwhile films that are set in Seattle (even though a lot of them use Vancouver or Los Angeles as stand-ins for the Emerald City and then throw in a shot of the Space Needle or Pike Place Market to try and give it that authentic feel.)

Anyway, Seattle Met put a pretty good list together called "A Beginner's Guide to Seattle Film", and they pretty much nailed it (with one exception, which I'll remedy in a minute.)

High on their list, and to me the movie that best captures a specific time in Seattle, is Singles. Maybe it's because the movie came out the year I moved from Chicago to Seattle, but it's a perfect snapshot of the city in 1992 at the height of the grunge frenzy, but before there were construction cranes on every other block of downtown Seattle and South Lake Union.  As the article says:

1992 Seattle—Fabio-haired grunge, flannel, coffee, yuppies—manifests in Singles. Is it truly a classic, casting off the calculated hipness of its setting to air deep human truths about young dating life? Nope. But you won’t be a Seattleite until you can glibly dismiss it. 

Which I guess means if we live here, we're supposed to be too cool to like Singles, but it sure is fun to watch, and to notice how much our city has changed in 26 years. Two things to notice in Singles: First, members of Pearl Jam and other grunge notables have bit parts in the movie, so it's fun to spot a very young-looking Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament of the fictional band Citizen Dick hanging out and goofing around. And then there's the idealistic urban planner played by Campbell Scott trying to pitch his far-fetched idea of a futuristic mass transit system for Seattle. If only! The dude looks like a visionary now.

A couple of other favorites on the list: Cameron Crowe's sweet Say Anything, with the iconic boombox scene featureing Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes."  The grunge documentary Hype! Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger playing paintball at Gasworks Park in 10 Things I Hate About You.

Here's the list, which, if you ask me, contains one glaring omission: Where's Sleepless in Seattle? Sure it's kind of a hokey rom-com, but I bet it's still the reason a lot of people want to come here and see the city for themselves. Visitors may be disappointed to learn that most of us don't live on houseboats, and anybody who tries to take a small motor boat from Lake Union to Alki in West Seattle will probably be surprised to discover they need to pass through the Ballard Locks, so it's a little bit geographically challenged, but Seattle sure looks great in the movie.

There are a lot more movies with Seattle or PNW  connections, from 1963's It Happened at the World's Fair starring Elvis Presley to  1982's An Officer and a Gentleman, which was filmed on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Townsend and Fort Worden. Click through this Wikipedia list and I guarantee you'll jog some memories.         

Set-in-Seattle Netflix marathon, anybody?