John Q was one of the most touching father-son stories that had ever hit theaters. The willingness for a father (Denzel Washington) to go to great lengths — taking a hospital and its remaining patients hostage to trying to take his own life so his son can take his heart — for a son who needs a new heart are truly priceless.
You can tell that he's broken and feels that he's running out of not just options, but time. He's stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to come to terms with something many parents around the world struggle with, the impending death of a child. And right as he plans to take his life, his wife runs in and yells "John, it's a miracle! They found a heart!"
This moment is a guaranteed tear jerker. But the most full circle moment of all was seeing his son watch his father be taken away in the police car, because eventually John still had to give up his life for his son.
Detective Alonzo Harris teaches LAPD officer Jake Hoyt some major lessons on the job. Specifically requesting Jake smoke narcotics in the car, and pulling out his piece when he declines. Jake quickly realizes working with Harris will not be easy once he finds out that the marijuana he smoked is laced.
Denzel Washington plays a flight captain who is also a functioning addict. But life seems to take a drastic turn when his flight takes a devstating crash. As he comes to terms with who he is as an addict, his team tries to find every best possible way to keep him away from alcohol and drugs. But as his court hearing approaches, the team quickly comes to find that he is just not ready to be sober.
Frank Lucas, played by Denzel Washington, goes from chauffeur to one of most powerful mobsters. Frank knows how to play the game and uses strategy to implement strict business practices and takes over the inner city.
Frank finds himself face to face with Tango, who owes him money. And to prove a point to anyone who crossed him, he kills Tango right in broad daylight, with everyone around.
Fences was a powerful movie, about a working-class African-American family trying to raise their family in the 1950s, while also coming to terms with the not-so great events that impacted and continue to impact their lives.
As Troy (Denzel Washington) gives his best attempt to tell Rose (Viola Davis) he's cheated on her because he feels like his life is stagnant. And the woman he's found gives him a new feeling, a feeling of life he feels like he hasn't experienced.
Spike Lee tells the story of Jesus' (Ray Allen) pressures as the nation's best high school basketball player and his very complicated relationship or lack there of with his father (Denzel Washington), who gave him the fire and passion to play ball. Jesus hasn't connected with his father in a while, because his father is doing time for murdering his wife, Jesus' mom, and Jesus hasn't fully dealt with how it all happened.
His father was tough and pushed him extremely hard to be the best at basketball, even if it meant roughing him up a bit. As Jesus faces picking a school he'd like to attend to play ball, his father is released on a short leave from prison to try to convince Jesus what school to play for. But, Jesus is less than excited to face his father and all that scheming people who are trying to dictate his choices.
In Mexico City, a former assassin (Denzel Washington) is hired to protect a family who's daughter (Dakota Fanning) is kidnapped by killers. He swears to seek revenge on the group who has commited this unspeakable act against the family.
The killers have the daughter Pita up for ransom, and they won't stop terrorizing the family until someone dies. So his last obstacle he's tasked with is trading his life for the little girl's, and it gives her another chance at life.
In 1971, after football coach Yoast led his team to 15 winning seasons, he gets demoted and replaced by Herman Boone, a tough, opinionated, black coach. The story highlights how these two men overcome their differences and try to help a group of hostile young football players learn to work together and make history.
(Photos from left: Outlaw/Warner Bros/REX/Shutterstock, David Lee/REX/Shutterstock)