Page 2 September 30, 2021
Run This Town is a Biting Political
Thriller for the Millennial Generation
By Peter Mitchell.
Writer-director Ricky Tollman’s feature
debut Run This Town is a political thriller
mixed with biting commentary on the state
of the millennial generation. Set in 2013
Toronto, the story centers on the lead up to
the explosive substance abuse scandal that
ensnared the controversial Mayor, Rob Ford.
Tollman’s film explores how the millennial
generation navigates the halls of power in
politics and media. Rob Ford (Damian Lewis,
unrecognizable under prosthetic makeup),
as a sort of dumb-politics John the Baptist
presaging Donald Trump, makes for the
perfect fulcrum for a millennial-focused
political-scandal movie. The film’s performances
illustrate how familiar millennial
archetypes make compromises with, and are
compromised by, the structures that allow a
Rob Ford to come to power in the first place.
The plot focuses primarily on Bram (Ben
Platt), an eager but slightly incompetent young
journalist interning at a Toronto newspaper.
With his eyes on something bigger than the
best-brunch-spot listicles he’s being assigned,
Bram, by sheer dumb-luck, ends up getting
a tip that there might be something strange
going on in the Mayor’s office. Kamal (Mena
Massoud), an immigrant working for the
virulently anti-immigrant Ford, is the Mayor’s
Special Assistant and the ringleader of the
young political staffers, including the hypercompetent
Ashley (Nina Dobrev). The staffers
are shown to be doing the actual work of
governing the city—all while putting out the
fires started by PR nightmare Mayor Ford.
The stories of Bram, Kamal, and Ashley
represent the ways that the ambitions of
their generation are undercut by their elders
and institutional forces beyond their control.
Whether it’s the pernicious incompetence and
vitriolic political leadership of Rob Ford, or
the explosive growth of clickbait “journalism”—
unstoppable despite the best efforts
of Bram’s editor Judith (Jennifer Ehle)— the
deck is in so many ways stacked against the
young people in Tollman’s film.
1h 39 min. ‘Run This Town’ is rated R for
language and sexual references. Available to
rent digitally on Amazon Prime. •
Run This Town, courtesy Oscilloscope.
Your Neighborhood Therapist
Dear Neighborhood Therapist,
I have some big decisions to make, and I
keep putting them off. The problem is that
they seem to weigh more and more on me
every day, and my anxiety goes through the
roof when I think about them. I wonder if I
secretly hope that I will get out of making
these decisions! Time is passing, and the
anxiety is getting worse. Can you help?
– Unbelievably Undecided, El Segundo
Dear Unbelievably Undecided,
Making a decision to pursue one career
path at the expense of another, move to another
city, get married, get divorced, or any
other big life crossroads can be incredibly
intimidating and stressful. You’re not at all
alone in what you are experiencing.
The bad news is that you cannot escape
this: not deciding is also a decision. The good
news is that once you do make a decision,
even if it’s not perfect, you’ll probably feel
better. This is because indecision is usually
(but not always!) a bad idea. Here is a partial
list of its effects:
First, indecision takes up a lot of mental
space: you could be thinking about something
else, but you’re not, and you know it. This
is gasoline for anxiety. Maybe shouldering
this anxiety is worth not having to decide,
but usually it is not.
Second, prolonged indecision increases the
odds that the choice will be made for you.
Maybe you actually want that, especially
when the stakes are low and you would
rather not have to take responsibility for a
decision. Perhaps your partner really cares
about where you go out for dinner tonight,
but you do not. Great time to let them make
the decision, but make sure you don’t then
complain! With decisions big or small, you
must be prepared to accept an outcome you
did not influence.
Third, indecision gives time for other options
to open up or present themselves. Some
new options may become available, but of
course current opportunities may cease to
exist. How likely do you assess these probabilities
to be? Are you willing to roll the
dice with what the future presents?
Once you’ve decided to decide, here’s how
to feel better about it: first, make sure it’s
a good time to make the decision. (Hint: it
probably is.) You mentioned the anxiety is
getting worse. Take your best guess: are you
very likely to gain something that makes the
anxiety worth it? If not, then it’s time.
Next: gather as much information as you
reasonably can (reasonable is the key - you
can never have all the information), so that
you will know you made the best decision
you could based on the information available
at the time you make your decision. Write
down your thought process, including how
you weighed the pros and cons and what was
important to you. If things don’t work out, you
can refer to your answers. They will comfort
you. This is your biggest hedge against regret.
And what about regret? We all have regrets,
but they often don’t feel as bad as we fear
they will. How heavily do your regrets so
far weigh on your day to day experience of
life? Certainly the answer lies somewhere
between “completely debilitating” on one
side and an occasional “meh” on the other. If
they are not debilitating, is there good reason
to believe future regrets will be different?
Take comfort that you can never, ever be
totally sure something will work out.
Take comfort that few decisions are irreversible.
Don’t fear regret. You may not have great
options, but the best bad option is probably
better than not deciding at all.
Please write to tom@tomandrecounseling.
com or text to 310.776.5299 with questions
about handling what is affecting your life,
your family, the community or the world.
Tom Andre is a Licensed Marriage & Family
Therapist (LMFT119254). The information
in this column is for educational purposes
only and nothing herein should be construed
as professional advice or the formation of a
therapeutic relationship. •
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