Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cool Sacrifice

This weekend I watched the movie John Q for the first time. I’ve always heard that it’s a really great movie, but it’s one of those I just never thought to rent. Thankfully it was on TV this weekend, and I put off my homework long enough to watch it. And I must say, it was well worth my time. Denzel Washington is an amazing actor, and that movie really showcased his abilities. The reason I’m bringing it up now, though, is that Denzel’s role as John Q Archibald is a definite example of the “cool sacrifice” we discussed in class last week. In Casablanca, Humphrey Bogart’s character showed people not only how cool he could be as a tough guy, but also how cool he could be when making the toughest sacrifice of his entire life. He gave up the woman he loved and watched her walk away, knowing he’d never see her again. In John Q, Denzel Washington’s character is faced with the death of his only son because he can’t afford to pay for the heart transplant the boy needs. In order to save his son he holds the patients and doctors at the hospital hostage. So not only is he cool for being 100% devoted to his son and willing to face prison for him, but he was also willing to die. John put a loaded gun to his head and was more than willing to take his own life to give his son the heart he needed. That’s a truly cool dad in my opinion. He put his life and freedom on the line because he loved his little boy and wanted to give him a chance at a full life, and at the same time he was taking a stand for those everywhere who can’t afford healthcare when they really need it most.

Another example of this cool sacrifice comes from Bruce Willis. He, like Humphrey Bogart, has that rough exterior that makes him come off as the classic cool tough guy. That was the role he played in his action packed movie Armageddon. At first he wanted to act cool and distant towards his daughter’s boyfriend— the same emotional detachment Humphrey Bogart tried to show in Casablanca. In the end though, when the world was about to be destroyed by a asteroid, he makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Earth and ensure his daughter’s happiness. Rather than letting Ben Affleck’s character die to save the planet by staying behind to blow up the asteroid, Bruce Willis trades places with him. He gave his own life not just to complete the mission and save Earth, but to save the life of the man his daughter loved. All he wanted was to see his girl happy, and he knew that she would never be truly happy if the love of her life was dead. So much as Humphrey Bogart let his love walk away and John Q was willing to sacrifice himself, Bruce Willis did the ultimate in cool by giving his own life for the betterment of others.


  1. I want to see John Q now! It sounds like a great movie.

    Dads can be a great example of sacrifice. They are typically supposed to be the tough guy, but then they have this soft, devoted side to their families that just can't be described well enough.

  2. If dad's are so cool then why do so many guys in the poor, black community act like such poor fathers while still trying to be cool in other ways?

  3. Oh wow. Two Armageddons so far.

    Bruce Willis wasn't just cool because he gave his life for the betterment of others - he did it without crying or thinking twice. If he had shown any range of emotion, he wouldn't have been as cool for it.

    John Q. is an interesting example, but I don't know if it hits the sentiment of Cool Sacrifice on the head. It wasn't just the fact that Rick sacrificed whatever future he had with Ilsa - it was the manner in which he did it. He was cool for brushing it off, not for dwelling on it like John Q. Or do you still feel that John Q. fits the archetype?

    Good entry!

  4. Very interesting appreciation of a movie that doesn't have much of a critical reputation (John Q). Just a style tip -- the web lends itself to shorter paragraphs than the printed page. :)

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    Let's all do this, no matter where you are! Saturday, 28 March 2009. Lights off from 8.30pm to 9.30pm!
    Nature Concern