HTF REVIEW: "John Q." (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Jul 6, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein

    John Q.

    Studio: New Line
    Year: 2002
    Rated: PG-13
    Film Length: 112 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)

    Give a father no options and you leave him no choice.
    John Quincy Archibald (Denzel Washington) is a
    loving father with a loving wife (Kimberly Elise)
    and a son, Michael (Daniel E. Smith). Times are
    tough on the family. John is only working 20 hours
    a week at the factory. Bills are piling up. Their
    car has just been repossessed and John is waiting
    paycheck by paycheck to cover the family expenses.
    During a peewee baseball game, Mike suffers a
    heart attack. After rushing him to the hospital,
    John discovers his insurance will not cover the
    heart transplant his son needs to live via the
    hospital’s insurance liaison, Rebecca Payne
    (Anne Heche). The boy's transplant will cost
    the family $250,000. Until John can come up with
    the money, the hospital refuses to put put Mike's
    name on the donor list.
    Frustrated and at his wit’s end, John does the
    unthinkable....he takes the emergency room hostage
    until the doctor (James Woods) agrees to perform
    the transplant. Tensions mount and the police are
    brought in, headed up by the veteran hostage
    negotiator Frank Grimes (Robert Duvall). Soon, the
    media becomes involved in the fiasco and John
    quickly becomes elevated to hero status amongst
    the crowd outside.
    So what's wrong with John Q.? The one
    credit I give the film is that it brings out
    the absurdities of our Health care system. It's
    the story of what happens when an average American
    is pushed into doing the unthinkable. It makes
    us think. Any one of us could be a paycheck away
    from being a John Q. The problem is, this is
    certainly not subject matter for an entertaining
    film as it comes across as a very preachy,
    unsatisfying experience.
    How is the transfer?
    You begin to realize what a drop-dead gorgeous
    transfer this is from the film's opening moments
    as a car drives into a mountain valley. Colors
    are full of life and there isn't a hint of video
    noise. Fortunately, the rest of the transfer
    remains this good. In the outside shots of Mike's
    peewee game, we are treated to the bold oranges
    in the Oriole's uniform. When we go into the
    hospital, the blue colors inside give a nice
    warmth to the transfer. Facial tones remain
    extremely accurate -- especially noticeable in
    Anne Hecht's lighter skin shade. Even the color
    of Anne's deep blue eyes are brought to the
    foreground. You couldn't ask for a more accurate
    and perfect transfer.
    The 5.1 DTS mix is very aggressive. The film's
    score is well balanced and evenly distributed across
    the 5 channels, with the rears providing as much
    robust sound as the fronts. Every single piece of
    effects sound is clearly heard through the rears...
    from the sounds of the school bell to the whistle of
    the factory to the sounds of police helicopters
    buzzing overhead. As with most DTS tracks, the
    sound becomes more spacious to the ears. Even the
    LFE channel kicks into gear on occasion, pulsating
    and rumbling when the score makes its accents known.
    Special Features
    New Line has released John Q. under its
    Infinifilm banner. This feature takes
    you beyond the normal movie viewing experience
    and enables you to branch out and watch features
    that are relevant to the film.
    From the Main Menu, the viewer has the ability
    to watch this film normally, or in infinifilm
    mode. In this special mode, a prompt will appear
    during the feature that will enable you to hit
    ENTER and watch a branching feature that pertains
    to the scene you are watching. For example, in
    the opening sequence, you can watch how a car
    crash was staged. In another sequence, you can
    watch audition footage of Daniel Smith. You can
    even access press kits for all the principal actors
    in the film. There's even branching that concentrates
    on health care issues as you are taken into an
    actual hospital hearing first-hand how a hospital
    evaluates finances of organ transplant patients.
    You can even learn about Medicaid coverage for organ
    transplant patients. There's a wealth of information
    here, and I expect that this could become a handy
    tool for anyone who has a relative facing a possible
    The film features a full-length commentary
    with Director Nick Cassavetes, Screenwriter James
    Kearns, Producer Mark Burg and Director of Photography
    Rogier Stoffers.
    Fighting for care documentary starts with
    the startling fact that there are currently 80,000
    people waiting for an organ transplant. Donor
    shortage has reached critical porportions in this
    country and there is a constant struggle with the
    insurance companies to secure financing for the
    patients that need the transplant. The American
    system does not provide universal access to any
    kind of care. In this documentary, we meet the
    administrators, the doctors and the patients who
    take us through the process of organ donations and
    transplants and the costs and red tape involved.
    It is suggested by a leading Physician that most
    Americans are unware of the gaps in their insurance
    coverage and would be very surprised if they read
    it thoroughly. This documentary becomes a very
    uneasy sitting as it covers all the angles of what
    it takes to be able to qualify for a transplant.
    (length: 34:26)
    The Behind The Scenes of John Q reveals why
    Director Nick Cassavetes was so immediately struck
    with the screenplay of this film. His daughter
    has heart disease. His own personal experiences
    with his daughter led him to drive this film into
    an almost personal crusade. Cast members Duvall
    and Liotta compliment the directror on bringing a
    very relaxed and fun feel to the set. Denzel
    Washington absolutely loves his young co-star,
    admiring the strong "light" inside the boy. The
    two are seen on the street between takes having
    a fun time together. From behind the camera, we
    watch the filming of the peewee game tragedy. In
    separate interviews with Anne Heche and James Woods,
    both actors acknowledge that the characters they
    play are not going to be likeable ones, but they
    represent the truths of the medical field.
    Rounding out this documentary, we learn how the
    effects team was able to create a heart transplant
    that looked all too real in the film. James Woods
    is absolutely beside himself that he performed
    surgery in this film much to the snide remarks of
    co-star Anne Heche.
    (length: approx. 16 minutes)
    There are nearly 20 minutes of deleted scenes.
    These scenes include:
    * The hostages talking about the pitfalls of
    HMOs. Reviewers bashed this scene as they felt
    it was unrealistic, and the Director felt that
    it weighed down the film.
    * Mitch giving a speech to John about the error
    of his ways and why he is no better than anyone
    * Mitch, tied to a railing, tries to appeal
    to his girlfriend, Julie, but it seems she is
    a lot smarter than him.
    * Kneeling before a cross, John prays to God
    in a lengthy but emotional scene.
    * In an extension of the final transplant scene,
    Mike flatlines.
    All these scenes are in finalized form, presented
    in widescreen. These scenes can be played with or
    without the aid of Director's commentary.
    The Original Theatrical Press Kit contains
    notes on The Production, as well as separate
    Cast and Filmmaker filmographies.
    Finally, the film's original theatrical trailer
    is included.
    Final Thoughts
    It's amazing to see the care that gets put
    into New Line's infinifilm series. The
    studio absolutely stops at nothing to offer the
    best transfer, DTS sound, and a feast of added
    supplements that can be accessed through branching.
    It's a shame, however, that all of this great
    material is wasted on a film like John Q., a
    film that is nothing more than sappy and unrealistic
    with hardly a true moment anywhere in it. In fact,
    The only real truths can be found in the wealth
    of educational supplements that New Line has
    Worth a rental, nothing more.
    Release Date: July 16, 2002
  2. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Dang, I was acually looking forward to seeing it, but both you and DVD File hated it, so another DVD down the drain. But your review system is getting better, Ron, keep it up. [​IMG]
  3. Craig S

    Craig S Producer

    Mar 4, 2000
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    League City, Texas
    Real Name:
    Craig Seanor
    Ron, another nice review. I couldn't agree more with your assessment of the film (which I saw during its theatrical release).
  4. Andy_MT

    Andy_MT Second Unit

    Jun 23, 2001
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    Ron, just curious (and not a criticism), why do you write all your reviews in such a narrow column ? makes the old eyeballs ache after awhile, what with all that left,right,left,right business.
    thanks for the review anyway [​IMG]
  5. JeffreyMercado

    JeffreyMercado Second Unit

    Feb 1, 2002
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    I have to disagree, I thought the film really hit home. The supporting cast gave a sad situation some comedy relief. Denzel gave another great moving performance. My Dad even liked it and he's not even a moviegoer. It was intense, and very believable. Nice suspense at the end, it had me worried. All and all I liked the movie, and since Ron loved the transfer I will definately buy this movie. I recommend it.
  6. Kenny Goldin

    Kenny Goldin Second Unit

    Sep 3, 2000
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    I have heard from friends this thing is incredibly preachy as Ron said, and more of an advrertisement for liberal thinking, so I'll pass. I am not interested in any film that tries to throw blatant political thought at the viewer, no matter which side of the aisle it is coming from.
    Seems like a good premise though, wish thyey would have toned down the politics (again, from what I have heard).[​IMG] May give it a rental.
  7. Luis Cruz

    Luis Cruz Stunt Coordinator

    Jul 23, 1999
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    I guess I'm in the minority on this one. I thought this was a good film. The cast was top notch. I thought the story was good as well. It was a realistic story which was a bit preachy so to say, but I never see that as a bad thing in a movie. All in all a good flick and definately worth the purchase in my opinion.
  8. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
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    Nice review Ron, but I too liked the film when I viewed it during it's theatrical run. Judging from the large movie audience that was with me, they liked it too. Was it realistic? No, but I was entertained which I expect and demand above all other variables from any commercial film, I paid my money to see.

  9. Quint van der Vaart

    Quint van der Vaart Second Unit

    May 25, 2001
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    I found John Q to be good as well.
    It's a film in which Denzel Washington realy does act very well in and the topic is also very interesting.
    So I will be buying this one [​IMG]
  10. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

    Jan 20, 2001
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    I liked this film and even got a little choked up during some parts. A little message filled? Yes. However, there was still good acting and suspense across he board on this one. Ron you mean to tell me you didn't get a little choked up on any of the scenes? There was one in particular that had the whole movie house choked up, including myself.

    Consider this one bought!!
  11. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

    Apr 8, 1999
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    David Scarpa
    Not to get political, but you notice that people throw the term "liberal" around these days with the same flamboyance that "Archie bunker" used to use ? I think I'm more of a middle of the road type of guy but it seems like anyone that questions a "System" these days, be it medical or Political is branded a liberal, with all it's supposed Negative connotations.

    Off my Soapbox.
  12. BobH

    BobH Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 30, 2000
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    Now what am I going to do?! I always go the opposite direction from your reviews and here you pan a movie I was sure was a sappy overblown mess. So I buy it? Nah, we just must agree once.

    By the way, despite 80,000 people waiting for transplants, the real statistics show that transplants are by and large unsuccessful. Short lived and poor quality of life. Even sadder reality that I am sure the movie skips.

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