John Q: The Ultimate Dad Movie.
Happy Belated Father’s Day folks! Due to unforeseen circumstances this is coming a few days late but that doesn’t matter because we’re gonna celebrate what I consider the ultimate dad movie that perfectly fits the whole Father’s Day vibe. This 2002, Denzel Washington underrated gem has had a powerful effect on me ever since I was a kid. The story of John Quincy Archibald’s extreme yet heroic act to save his son Michael’s life is a powerful and inspiring drama with Denzel Washington at his best.
Our story centers on a man whose nine-year-old son is in desperate need of a life-saving transplant. When he discovers that his medical insurance won’t cover the costs of the surgery and alternative government aid is unavailable, John Q. Archibald (Denzel Washington) takes a hospital emergency room hostage in a last-ditch attempt to save his child.
Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, James Woods, Ray Liotta, Anne Heche, Eddie Griffin and Kimberly Elise all in one film? Sign me up! The casting of this film was top notch. As we all know, Denzel is a force of nature and can command the screen like nobody’s business, but in this film he’s given support from such phenomenal actors from the A-listers to the then newcomers, including a remarkable performance from the young Daniel E. Smith whom knocked his role right out of the park, quite impressive for a newcomer, especially one that was ten years-old at the time. Another performer who shined brightly was the then up and coming Kimberly Elise as Denise Archibald, the tough but loving, strong willed Christian wife and mother of John and Mikey. Elise’s performance was heart wrenching and so believable that you forget that the woman was acting. I don’t think there’s anything more to be said about Robert Duvall and the late great Ray Liotta is there?
John Q was very much a father\son story about the absolute depths a father would go through to save his child, but it was also very much a timely story about health care and the lack thereof for people who made a certain amount of money. The film tells this topical story without coming off as too preachy, which takes a well written script and quality actors to pull off.
Why it’s the ultimate dad movie:
Without taking anything away from the amazing power and love of a mother, a father’s power and love is equally important in any child’s life and specifically significant in an entirely different way, especially for a young man whose role model is the father. John Archibald is a prime example of what a father could be and should be willing to do to protect their child. Sure his actions were a bit drastic, but if you’ve seen the movie you totally understand all that pushed John to that point and root for him to succeed. Even as a kid I was highly impressed with the film and Denzel’s John Q’s devotion to his family and protecting them at all costs. What more perfect a day to celebrate John Q than Father’s Day. John Archibald is one of the all time greatest dads in film history, and John Q is most definitely the ultimate dad movie.
I dedicate this article about a truly great dad to three other truly great, devoted and loving dads that I owe so much to: My father Mitchell David Rivers and Grandfathers Willie C. Brown Jr. and Gilbert Franklin Rivers Sr. Three great men who I’m sure wouldn’t hesitate to hold up a hospital to save the lives of myself or anyone else in my family.
’Til next time, folks! And again Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there.