| April 1, 2005

Johnson & Johnson Spotlight Presentations has made some very good original cable television movies. I have very much enjoyed the last two I saw, The Winning Season with Matthew Modine and the unforgettable Emmy-winning Door to Door with William Macy. So much for the old saying, “Three Times A Charm.”
14:Hours is the micro story of the evacuation of a hospital played against the background of the macro story of a tropical storm. But once you get past the wonderful setup in the first 30 minutes, all you are really seeing is a parade of patients leaving the building. And none of them look like Elvis.
14:Hours is based on the events of June 2001 when Tropical Storm Allison stalled over the city of Houston, pouring nearly 30 inches of rain on the city in a 4 day period. The story begins as Allison seems to be moving away from Houston. Jeanette Makins (Jo Beth Williams from Poltergeist, Fever Pitch), a nurse at Memorial Hermann Hospital, arrives for what she expects to be a normal day. But Allison drifts back south and dumps so much water that floodwaters inundate the lower levels of the hospital.
As the hospital loses main and backup power (a la every other episode of Star Trek), Makins and surgeon Dr. Foster (Rick Schroder from NYPD Blue) make the decision (well, railroad the administration) to evacuate the hospital. And the parade begins. This movie is mild drama. The story lines are lukewarm warm and the tension between characters is very much over done and unoriginal. Kris Kristofferson, who plays the head of the emergency preparedness center is actually responds to one of his subordinates “I don’t care about that, I just want to know how long it will take to get this city back in order.” He even makes a cameo appearance at the hospital after all the patients have been removed to meet the doctor who was so insistent as to get his help. I expected a hug, but it didn’t arrive. Neither did 14:Hours.
If nothing else on the TV schedule captures your attention, tune this one in for 30 minutes to watch the effects, which are great for television, but after that, turn to Sportscenter.

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