Emily Russell Writes…About Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America poster

Freedom vs Fear

Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L Jackson, Robert Redford

Written By: Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, based on the character created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

Directed By: Anthony Russo and Joe Russo


Following the events of The Avengers Assemble (2012), Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) aka Captain America has continued to work for S.H.I.E.L.D, the government agency that deals with domestic, foreign, and alien threats. Rogers has been acclimatising to modern life, but finds himself unable to get in line with Director of S.H.I.E.L.D Nick Fury’s (Samuel L Jackson) latest plans. S.H.I.E.L.D has secretly been building enormous and powerful military hardware – three Helicarriers – that will target and take out a huge number of potential threats. Rogers is at odds with Fury over such a tactic, believing that someone should be proven guilty before force is used against them.

Rogers then finds himself on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D when Fury is gunned down after entrusting Rogers with a mysterious flashdrive. Assisted by super-spy and fellow Avenger Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and war veteran Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), Rogers begins to uncover what has been rotting at the heart of S.H.I.E.L.D for decades. He also has to contend with the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), a relentless emotionless assassin whose mission is to eliminate Rogers and who looks very familiar..

The world portrayed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is full of electronic surveillance and there are military and government secrets aplenty which a few individuals believe the world should be told about. It certainly fits theories that some people have in our own society about secret groups actually running the world and chimes with modern concerns about the secrets governments could be keeping. Such things are not portrayed in a positive light in the film. Rogers believes that he fought for freedom, for people being allowed to make their own choices. But HYDRA, the dastardly group he has long fought against, believes in making people’s choices for them, in guiding the world and getting rid of those who stand in their way, all in order to make a better purer world. ‘You’re holding a gun to everybody’s head and calling it protection,’ Steve observes, adding that ‘this isn’t freedom, this is fear.’ People might make mistakes but that is their right and how else will they learn? Choosing who should live or die before their own actions condemn them is an alien concept to Rogers, one that he fought against during World War II. In Rogers’ eyes, it seems as though the world has changed a great deal, but not completely. Some beliefs endure and will always need to be fought against; the need for people willing to fight them remains also.

Rogers is specifically told by Fury that he shouldn’t trust anybody. Rogers is himself a very honest genuine person, Romanoff observes that he is a bad liar; a trait that he doesn’t share with most of the film’s other characters. But he learns the wisdom of Fury’s order when he uncovers the HYDRA personnel hiding amongst S.H.I.E.L.D’s ranks. Who can he trust? Fury himself keeps secrets and frequently tells lies, pretending to be dead and not informing Rogers or Romanoff of his plan. But Fury discovers that even he is not immune to secrets and treachery when it turns out that he was wrong to trust his old friend Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford), senior S.H.I.E.L.D member and significant part of HYDRA too. Rogers finds out that he is always surrounded by never-ending layers of secrets and lies. A pretty neighbour is revealed to be a S.H.I.E.L.D agent stationed there to keep an eye on him, Rogers’ colleagues suddenly attempt to kill him, and his best friend Bucky Barnes turns out not to be dead after all but instead has become a brainwashed assassin intent on killing Rogers. Truly nothing is what it seems.

However, despite this painful lesson, Rogers doesn’t attempt to take on HYDRA alone. He’s a soldier and therefore knows the value of working as part of a team. He decides to trust Romanoff despite her talent and capacity for lying and connects with fellow war veteran Sam Wilson who is willing to help them even though he knows this means he’ll face very real terrifying danger. Despite the risks and the tiny group of allies, Wilson too wants to fight for what’s right. Rogers has got every reason to refuse help but he decides to stick to what he learned a long time ago; that while he could go through life alone, even in the most trying situations, he doesn’t have to.

There are overwhelming odds stacked against him but Rogers still has the courage and strength of belief in his own convictions to question his orders and to begin kicking over rocks, unafraid to dig out the unpleasant truth. He is told first by S.H.I.E.L.D and then by HYDRA that what’s being done to the world is for its greater good, that it will be made a better place by such a violent cleansing. But Rogers refuses to give in to such a perspective and despite the insurmountable enemy he faces, he fights hard for what he believes in. He believes that defending freedom and choice is worth the pain of facing his best friend in battle, that it’s worth the hugely dangerous fight against a much bigger and more powerful opponent. Rogers has experienced before how a handful of outnumbered individuals can make a real impact in the world if they are willing to keep trying, to use their unique abilities and work together against the odds. Just as HYDRA’s aims live on, so too does the belief that such people can and must be stopped. A difference can be made, if we’re willing to stand against the status-quo and endure danger and pain for what we believe is right, even if everyone else believes otherwise. As Rogers himself knows, some things are worth such a risk, some things are even worth dying for.

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Emily Russell Writes…About The Bourne Legacy

bourne legacy

A Lasting Legacy

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

Written By: Tony Gilroy, Dan Gilroy, based on the Bourne series of novels by Robert Ludlum

Directed By: Tony Gilroy

The fourth in the Jason Bourne series of films – and the first not to star Matt Damon as Jason Bourne himself – The Bourne Legacy reveals that there was actually more than just one secret government programme providing enhanced individuals to do the USA’s dirty work. Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) is part of Operation Outcome and is a below-average soldier who, thanks to the pills he regularly takes, has enhanced physical and mental abilities. But Bourne’s explosive actions during the series’ previous films have brought the Treadstone programme that shaped him into the public eye and the subsequent investigation into Treadstone could uncover other black-ops programmes. So Eric Byer (Edward Norton), who oversees the CIA’s more secretive operations, decides to have all staff and soldiers who are part of the other programmes killed so that the CIA can secretly start up the process again elsewhere and continue to prevent the public from knowing about such activities.

Unlike other programme participants, Cross manages to escape the military drone sent to kill him and, fearing that his abilities will disintegrate without more pills, he goes in search of Dr Marta Shearing (Rachel Weisz), one of Outcomes’s scientists, who has narrowly avoided elimination herself. Cross is amazed to find out that she knows nothing about Outcome’s activities beyond her lab and that he has been permanently physically enhanced by a virus without his knowledge. Together, they make for Manila, where Shearing can infect him with another virus which will permanently enhance his mental abilities too, helping them both stay one step ahead of Dyer who is determined to wipe the pair out. The layers of Treadstone are being peeled back and investigated, the CIA doing its best to prevent its secrets from getting out.

Both Aaron and Marta are forced to start questioning their lives. Aaron began asking questions before, trying to get a fellow programme participant to examine what they do and why, but it’s clear that he is unusual in questioning his orders and life. The enhanced soldiers are drilled to simply obey; they are viewed as weapons in the hands of the CIA. Meanwhile Marta’s whole world is consumed by her laboratory work; she doesn’t question what the enhanced men do once they leave her lab. “I don’t make policy,” she retorts when Aaron expresses disbelief at her ignorance, and his reply is the stinging “No, you just load the gun.” Ignorance of how our actions, no matter how well-intentioned, can cause pain and even destruction, is inexcusable. There is great danger in questioning the status quo and in trying to gain answers that people in power want hidden, but it is also presented as important. If there are casualties caused when fulfilling an order in the name of peace and countrywide safety, is the greater good so great after all? Should scientific discovery and advancement be pursued so far when its implications can be so devastating? Asking such questions can mean pain and paranoia, even death – those trying to uncover the hidden truth in the Bourne universe are usually dealt with violently – but Cross believes that asking questions and pursuing answers are worth the risk. The truth is worth it.

Dyer strongly believes that what the black-ops programmes do is nasty but necessary. ‘We are the sin-eaters. It means that we take the moral excrement that we find in this equation and we bury it down deep inside of us, so that the rest of our cause can stay pure,” he tells Cross “That is the job. We are morally indefensible and absolutely necessary.” Keeping their country safe is the number one priority, meaning that whoever and whatever gets destroyed in pursuit of that priority is acceptable collateral damage. A great deal of good has come from the programmes – one army commander tells Dyer how well the enhanced individuals have done with solving problems overseas. But despite how much good the programmes have done, they’ve done so at a great cost of human lives; those who have died and the entirely manipulated lives of the programme’s soldiers themselves. Whilst the work the secret departments do clearly saves lives and ends terror in many parts of the world as well as in America, the film shows that the cost of this work is too high. There must be another way.

Aaron and Marta, both separately and together, go through extremely testing and painful times. They both suffer great losses and equally big changes in their lives. Their lives are thoroughly devastated but by surviving such circumstances, they demonstrate how much they are both truly capable of. Whilst Aaron might be expected to be extraordinary due to his enhanced abilities, Marta is a talented scientist used to being at her best only when in a lab. Yet when expelled from the environment in which she excels, she saves both their lives more than once and most tellingly, when told by Aaron to leave him, for her own safety, she refuses, staying despite how likely it is that her life is in serious danger by doing so. Her inner strength has been revealed and refined by this extreme experience. She is not just a scientist, she is a survivor, a warrior according to Aaron, and she is capable of feats that she probably didn’t realise she could achieve before. It is particularly telling that together, Aaron and Marta manage to stay safest; their lives appear to be in the most danger when they aren’t by each other’s sides. Their skillsets have both expanded and strengthened thanks to the time they have spent together, determined to survive, and they have also discovered that whilst being together might bring more attention and danger, they are stronger as a partnership than when they are alone.

For all the impressive technology and scientific advancements we see in The Bourne Legacy, it is two people on the run without any back-up who somehow manage to survive against supremely impressive opposition. Not only do they survive, but they succeed, by sticking together, plumbing ingenuity, and caring for something more than themselves and their work. The Outcome staff are all seen to be consumed by their jobs, no family or loved ones or any outside interests are mentioned at all. They’re clearly excellent at what they do, but it’s all that they appear to have. Marta and Aaron, facing overwhelming odds and stark constant danger, have discovered something that the Outcome staff, for all their advancements and power clearly haven’t yet truly understood – that having each other is the best kind of advancement that either of them could ever possibly need.

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Emily Russell Writes…About John Carter

John Carter

A Lost Cause?

Starring: Taylor Kirsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, Samantha Morton, Ciaran Hinds

Written By: Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, & Mark Chabon, based on the novel A Princess Of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

Directed By: Andrew Stanton

Since 1931, a film about heroic civil war soldier John Carter and his adventures on Mars had been in development in some form or another. Edgar Rice Burroughs, who also created the iconic Tarzan character, wrote eleven John Carter books and 2012 marked the centennial of the character’s first appearance. This film also marks the first time Andrew Stanton directed a live-action film, he had previously directed hugely-successful Pixar films Finding Nemo(2003) and Wall-E (2008). Sadly, John Carter did not reciprocate their success; it received very mixed critical reviews – many citing it as uneven and boring – and made a staggering loss at the box office.


When John Carter (Taylor Kirsch) dies suddenly, his nephew Edgar (Daryl Sabara) begins reading his fascinating journal and uncovers his uncle’s extraordinary adventures. Carter was a Captain in the American Civil War Confederate Army, broken by the loss of his family and fixated on finding a cave of gold. But when he stumbled upon such a cave, he also stumbled upon an alien being, whose medallion transported him to Mars. There Carter found that he was able to leap huge distances, thanks to his bone density and the planet’s gravity, and against his will became part of the Thark clan – a race of tall green warrior aliens. Struggling to comprehend what had happened to him; he learned of a vastly destructive civil war on Mars between the cities of Helium and Zodanga and met the Helium warrior princess and scientist Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins). Dejah believed that Carter’s unbelievable leaping ability would help turn the tide of war in Helium’s favour, meaning that she wouldn’t have to marry powerful Zodanga leader Sab Than (Dominic West) as a means of ending the thousand-years-long conflict. But Carter was not interested in fighting another war, caring only about getting home again to his gold. Meanwhile Sab Than was guided and empowered by the mysterious Matai Shang (Mark Strong), who for his own inscrutable reasons wished to ensure Than’s victory at all costs.


War is hell on two planets in John Carter. Carter himself has lost everything thanks tohis part in the American Civil War. He may have become a supremely talented soldier, but he has also become hollow thanks to the loss of his wife and child – ‘Whatever it is you suppose I owe you, our country, or any other beloved cause, I have already paid. I have paid in full, sir,’ he tells a Union Army commander. Carter is so empty and damaged that all he cares about now is finding a mythical cave of gold. Mars suffers too thanks to its own on-going civil war; many people and cities are destroyed. No matter who wins, there have been terrible losses on both sides. There’s a clear parallel between the two conflicts, as Carter says ‘War is a shameful thing.’ There has been both great physical and emotional devastation and achieving peace will not change that. Everybody loses in war.


Several characters observe that Carter is a lost soul. When he states to Dejah that war is shameful, she highlights what he is missing in life by replying ‘Not when a noble cause is taken up by those who can make a difference.’ Carter has no truly fulfilling goal in life; he does not want one, having lived through the loss that following such a cause can bring. But thanks to his growing feelings for Dejah and the Thark friendships he makes, Carter finds something important enough to fight for, he finds another cause, which turns his life around for the better. Another character who claims not to have a cause is Matai Shang, who reveals that his people merely watch conflicts, feeding off them and controlling who wins. ‘On every host planet it always plays out exactly the same, populations rise, societies divide, wars spread, and all the while the neglected planet slowly fades,’ he tells Carter, wanting Sab Than to win Mars’ civil war as he will be easy to control due to his simple desires for power and glory. But Carter is able to defeat and outwit Shang, proving that a single person can make a difference, and that fighting for what we believe in is vital, even when the odds are overwhelming. Dejah implores Carter ‘If you had the means to save others, would you not take any action possible to make it so?’ It’s a challenge that he eventually takes up and he comes to realise that despite the terrible loss and pain that dedicating yourself to a cause can produce, it can also be deeply fulfilling, resulting in positive far-reaching changes for others and bringing satisfying rewards.


It isn’t just Mars and its various races that are changed by Carter’s actions. He himself is transformed by the end of the film. He has a cause once more, something to truly live for. Without it, his life was empty and lonely. However, once Carter gains a goal in life, a purpose to strive for, his life does not become easier or peaceful. He gains a wife and many friends, but he also gains the challenge of living on a completely different world and the responsibility of helping lead it. The great change in his character is clearly seen when Shang sends him back to Earth just after his wedding to Dejah. He has no means of returning to Mars, to where he has decided to make his new home, but Carter does not give up, he doesn’t drown in despair as he might have done before. Instead, he concocts a daring far-fetched plan that takes years to come into fruition. He is determined and he succeeds, instructing his nephew to ‘Take up a cause.’ Carter has become a stronger man with a more positive attitude, having seen what a difference his actions have made to so many and what he can achieve by giving his all and not giving up, no matter what obstacles he comes up against. He now knows that nothing is truly impossible, but that achieving a lofty goal can mean heartbreak and many painful difficulties along the way. He also learns that it is worth it.

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Emily Russell Writes…About Conan The Barbarian (2011)

Conan the Barbarian

Life Without Chains

Starring: Jason Momoa, Rachel Nichols, Stephen Lang, Rose McGowan, Morgan Freeman, Ron Perlman

Written by: Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, & Sean Hood, based on the character created by Robert E. Howard

Directed by: Marcus Nispel

The character Conan the Barbarian was created in 1932 by Robert E. Howard for a series of fantasy adventure magazine stories. Since then, the iconic warrior has featured in films, television series, computer games, comics, and much more. Most famously, he was played by Arnold Schwartzenegger in an early breakout performance in two 1980s films.


In this version, Conan (Jason Momoa) is a Cimmerian warrior, born on a battlefield, and on a lifelong quest to slay the warlord Khalar Zym (Stephen Lang) who killed his father Corin (Ron Perlman) when Conan was just a child. Zym has gathered together the powerful pieces of a bone mask and, aided by his witch daughter Marique (Rose McGowan), searches for a pure blood descendant of the sorcerers of Acheron to sacrifice so that he can become a god. The descendant they seek, Tamara (Rachel Nichols), is unaware of her important lineage and has lived her life safely cloistered in a monastery. When Zym’s forces attack it, she is smuggled out and encounters Conan, who aims to use her to get to Zym. But Conan will have to look beyond his thirst for revenge if the world is to survive.


Conan’s life is defined by loss – his mother died giving birth to him and his father died in front of him – as is Zym’s, his obsession with gaining ultimate power is rooted in his desire to resurrect his dead wife. Both are consumed by their grief and loss at the expense of everything else. ‘I live, I love, and slay. And I am content,’ claims Conan. But whilst he is seen to enjoy killing, drinking, and the company of women, he has very few actual friends, and even once his revenge is taken, he does not seem at peace or content. He ends the film alone and there is no indication as to what he will do now his lifelong quest is complete. The loss of someone we love is cruel and terrible, but we cannot live our lives consumed solely by grief and anger. Such emotions may have driven Conan to become a skilled warrior and powerfully fuelled his actions as he faced Zym, but they have not brought him fulfilment or happiness. And whilst revenge might somewhat sate our anger, it does not bring peace.


Tamara, on the other hand, has lived a life focused on scholarly spiritual pursuits, shut away from pain and trouble. But living an entirely safe life is impossible – Zym’s forces eventually attack the monastery and Tamara finds herself caught up in Conan’s dangerous quest. The perils of life cannot be hidden from forever, we have to endure pain and loss at some point and whilst such incidences can hurt, they can also make us stronger, as Conan experiences. But conversely, life should not merely be consumed by pain and vengeance either. Conan and Tamara make a connection, something they both appear to realise and value, Conan telling her they’ll meet again. They both need human connection and actual relationships, rather than just the brief encounters that Conan enjoys and the isolation Tamara has experienced. There must be more to life than that, more satisfaction and purpose.


Conan appears to simply be a bloodthirsty barbarian to those that don’t know him. But as his loyal friend Artus (Nonso Anozie) tells Tamara, Conan is not merely a killer, he also has the heart of a king and the loyalty of a bloodhound. Artus pointedly chastises Tamara that ‘Barbarians may be warriors but they do not sacrifice their children or enslave their allies like the priests and princes of the civilised world.’ Even consumed by his vengeful quest, Conan takes the time to free slaves, declaring ‘No man should live in chains.’ And Tamara herself is not just a high-born damsel-in-distress, she is capable of defending herself and, like Conan, demonstrates a depth not immediately apparent. The quest brings out unexpected qualities in both of them, forcing them to dig deep in order to survive. None of us are merely what we initially appear to be, facing hardships in life strengthens and refines us and helps us realise our potential, revealing much more beneath the surface than perhaps even we initially realise is there.


Tellingly, it is when Conan and Tamara work together that they achieve the most. Conan finally gains his revenge on Zym, something only possible due to Tamara. Working alone can only get us so far. Conan and Tamara both begin the film chained – Conan to his deep need for revenge, Tamara to her safe life – and it is only once they open themselves up to new possibilities and start to throw off these long-held chains that they succeed. Tamara asks Conan ‘Do you ever wonder if our actions serve some plan, some purpose spun by the gods? Or we all just doomed to chaos and ruin?’ His reply is simple: – ‘I know not and I care not.’ But whilst by the end of the film he has begun to learn the importance of deeper human connections and relationships and how powerful and positive they can be, he still has to learn to care more about his purpose in life, to open himself up further to the possibilities out there, especially now that his quest is at an end. To roam restlessly, drifting in search of whatever will fill the emptiness inside, will not bring satisfaction, as his years questing have shown. It’s the connection he has with Artus and the one that he has with Tamara that show what he truly needs to fulfil him. None of us, not even strong powerful heroes, should be alone forever.

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Emily Russell Writes…About Clerks


Here To Serve

Starring: Brian O’Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Marilyn Ghigliotti, Lisa Spoonhauer, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith

Written & Directed by Kevin Smith

Director and writer Kevin Smith’s unique style is clearly displayed in all his films, most notably his ‘View Askewniverse’, a run of films so called by fans as they feature many of the same characters and actors, in-jokes, crude sense of humour, and references to Star Wars. Clerks is the first film in this series and the first film Smith ever directed. It was made on a shoestring budget, filmed in the same convenience store that Smith worked in at the time. It launched Smith’s career and remains his most critically acclaimed film, nominated for several awards and achieving cult status. It spawned comic books, a cartoon series, and eventually a sequel Clerks II (2006), with Smith still keen to make a second sequel, Clerks III. Having built a career that also includes acting and writing comics and best-selling books, Smith has announced his upcoming retirement from film directing.


Convenience store worker Dante Hicks (Brian O’Halloran) isn’t even supposed to be in work today. Stuck behind the counter dealing with awkward demanding customers, Dante also has to deal with best friend Randal Graves (Jeff Anderson) who works in the next door video store but who spends most of his time annoying Dante by blisteringly commenting on Dante’s life and being downright rude to any customer unfortunate enough to cross his path. During a day that includes a poor excuse for a ball hockey game and a disastrous visit to a wake, Dante struggles with the dilemma of maybe breaking up with girlfriend Veronica Loughran (Marilyn Ghigliotti), who wants him to do more with his life, as he pines for his cheating ex-girlfriend Caitlin Bree (Lisa Spoonhauer). Meanwhile drug dealers foul-mouthed Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) hang around outside the store, bringing their own brand of humour, chaos, and advice to Dante’s escalating day.


The film’s low-budget is plain to see on screen, it was filmed in black and white for example. What stands out is the exceptionally sharp and articulate script – the most famous dialogue scene is probably a diatribe from Randal about the second Death Star in Star Wars and who was working on it at the time it was destroyed. It’s a highly quotable script and that brand of witty vivid dialogue remains Smith’s trademark. The chemistry and friendship between Dante and Randal feels very real; they’re close friends even though there’s many things about each other that they find frustrating, which creates some of the film’s funniest moments. The friendship isn’t always healthy – Randal causes serious problems for Dante – but Randal also calls Dante out on Dante’s own unhealthy behaviour, giving him the wake-up call that he needs and that perhaps would not be delivered quite so powerfully by anybody else in Dante’s life. Friends can cause no end of trouble, wilfully or otherwise, but they can also get through to us when we really need it and deliver important truths when no one else can.


Dante is dangerously stuck in a rut; he’s comfortable complaining about his dead-end job. But despite his clear unhappiness and boredom, he doesn’t dare do anything to change this comfortable but dull and unchallenging life. ‘You’re gonna sit here and be miserable because you don’t have the guts to face change?’ Randal jibes. Randal himself admits that his own job is ridiculously easy but he also claims to be happy with his position in life whereas Dante isn’t and does nothing about it whilst complaining about his job and blaming Randal for his own misfortunes. This infuriates Randal; in a superb rant he reminds Dante of all that Dante has brought on himself and that though they both act like they’re superior to their customers, they both still work in essentially meaningless jobs. Dante clearly needs to take action, to stop being stagnant simply because it’s more comfortable and less risky than trying something new. Taking a risk could be painful, but it could also bring him a lot more happiness and fulfilment. He certainly couldn’t be worse off than he is at the convenience store.


Relationships are seen to be another area of his life in which Dante must take affirmative action. He’s in a relationship with Veronica, who’s feisty and loving, saving him from a mob of customers and bringing him lasagne for lunch. She also pushes him to reach for more in life than a tiresome existence spent at the convenience store, telling him that ‘you have so much potential that’s going to waste in this pit.’ Whilst she is clearly good for him, loving and challenging him in a way that he desperately needs, Dante dislikes her pushing him towards something that could disrupt his comfortable life and so often talks about and to his ex-girlfriend Caitlin who he admits cheated on him several times. But, like his desire to stay in his dead-end job, Dante also desires to take up with Caitlin again, despite the hurt this will probably bring him once more. Maybe because he knows that Caitlin will be okay with his life the way it is, and allow him to remain comfortable and unchallenged. Surprisingly, it’s Silent Bob who offers Dante the perspective he needs to realise the value of what he’d be throwing away by breaking up with Veronica: – ‘There’s a million fine-looking women in the world, dude, but they don’t all bring you lasagne at work. Most of them just cheat on you.’ Caitlin might be the easy, comfortable option, but ultimately, she wouldn’t provide what Veronica does.


Sadly for Dante, he hasn’t taken action soon enough and thanks to Randal’s ‘help’, an outraged Veronica breaks up with him, and due to an unfortunate incident, Caitlin is traumatised and needs to spend time in hospital. Randal ends the film worse off than he was at the beginning – without any romantic relationship – and yet still seems to be stuck between the two girls, claiming he’ll try to patch things up with Veronica and visit Caitlin. He might have been confronted by the importance of making choices in life and of moving forward, rather than staying stagnant, but he hasn’t actually put it into practice yet and the film doesn’t reveal if he later does, though the sequel shows him stuck in another dead-end job. No matter how comfortable we are, and no matter how strong the possibility is of getting hurt, we should strive for challenges and fulfilment in life. Being all talk and complaints gets us nowhere and provides us with nothing but boredom and a half-lived life. We all have the potential, like Dante, to have satisfying relationships and enjoyable jobs, but we need to step towards these goals, rather than living in the past or backing away from the goals in fear of the pain and change they could bring. We’re meant for much more than that.

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Welcome to Emily Russell Writes

Having written about television and films for the Damaris Trust website for eight years, I’ve decided the time’s come for me to get a place of my own online to post my articles. Just the basics for now. Hoping to start posting properly soon. Thanks for your patience.



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