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As I've been doing lately with these 2015 Academy Award nominees, I'm writing these posts as I watch the films on Amazon (using X-Ray to obtain some interesting trivia and factoids). So, as I write this about "The Big Short," I haven't even seen the opening credits.

Note that Amazon gives you 30 days to begin watching your rental (which you can also cancel), but once you begin watching it, you only have 48 hours to finish - I guess this is reasonable to prevent multiple people from watching one film on one person's account, but sometimes I like to take a little longer - ah, well, compromises need to be made somewhere. Again, I recommend X-Ray for people interested in studying the film, but not for people who are easily distracted, as it could easily be a nuisance - you have your choice of pretending it's not there at all.

*** SPOILERS ALERT ***

You can probably assume that the rest of this post will contain various degrees of spoilers. I'll start by saying I *love* the film's opening quote by Mark Twain: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." While not entirely true, there is a ring of familiarity to it, I'm sure, affecting us all. 

Director Adam McKay was Head Writer for Saturday Night Live for two seasons, and has directed comedies in the past (e.g.. "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby," which I'm ashamed to say I found to be quite amusing), but this is his first dramatic directorial debut. This is also the first movie of any kind that McKay has directed without Will Ferrell in the cast, which is surprising, but I really don't know much about McKay. Ferrell also co-wrote all but one of McKay's comedies, so there's definitely a close partnership here.

When Dr. Burry went into Goldman Sachs and said he wanted to short the housing market, the song playing in the background was "Money Maker" by Ludacris. You will find multiple, almost random, cameos by some seriously famous people, including one very famous chef.

The quote, "Truth is like poetry. And most people fucking hate poetry," is great (and written just for this movie).

Boy, if this film doesn't make you want to vote for Bernie Sanders, nothing will.

Here are some stats flashed at the end:

* 5 trillion dollars disappeared
* 8 million jobs were lost
* 6 million people lost their homes
* And that's just in the United States

* 1 person went to jail from Credit Suisse

And look where we are today in 2016. I have very strong feelings about whether or not the economy should have "recovered" so quickly after "the worst financial disaster since The Great Depression," but that's for another time, another thread - I pretty much said all I have to say right here.

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Loved the movie. I'm intimately involved with a lot of what went on the mortgage market during that time, but really appreciated that it made so much of what went on accessible.  Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling were great in their roles.

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I also enjoyed the film.  You do not feel satisfied at the end.  Everything built up to what was a foregone conclusion and it just made me feel empty inside.  The theater was silent as people left.  Regardless, it is a good explanation of what went wrong with the housing boom/bust.

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Don, I loved both of the quotes you mentioned!

I enjoyed this film. The acting was top notch, and I learned a lot about the mortgage market crisis. Like "Spotlight," this film took a big news story that most people are familiar with and delved more deeply into it. At first I didn't care for the actors talking to the camera, or the use of celebrities to explain things. I realize why they did it, however, and I got used to it as the film progressed.

I'm not so sure about the X-Ray feature. It was enabled while I watched it, but I tended to ignore it because I found it distracting.

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I just rewatched this film, and really enjoyed the celebrities using analogy to demonstrate and explain complicated financial concepts that I would otherwise have no clue about:

Margot Robbie explains Mortgage-Backed Securities and Subprime Mortgages
Anthony Bourdain explains CDO's (Collateralized Debt Obligations)
Richard Thaler and Selena Gomez explain Synthetic CDO's

 

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I saw it in the theater, but really should watch it again. I thought it was brilliant, and made important but boring or confusing information accessible to this layperson. I think everyone needs to know what happened and remember it, so that we can avoid a repeat.

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4 hours ago, ScotteeM said:

I saw it in the theater, but really should watch it again. I thought it was brilliant, and made important but boring or confusing information accessible to this layperson. I think everyone needs to know what happened and remember it, so that we can avoid a repeat.

A little late, Scottie - the repeat is already occurring: Peoples' innate greed will continue to defy and outweigh logic, common sense, and long-term thought.

Look into "Bespoke Tranche Opportunities" (think "BTO," like Bachman-Turner Overdrive) which is history repeating itself, because we didn't learn from it.

I'm not an economic savant, but I do not believe that our economy has recovered from the "worst economic malaise since The Great Depression" so quickly - Americans (and, I suppose, by extension, the rest of the world) need many years of extreme hardship in order to really understand the ramifications of debt, defaults, the quick-buck, short-term thinking, living above your means, etc. It really *is* as simple as: "Don't spend more than you can afford," and there really *is* a parallel with the National Debt and Personal Debt - I have thought seriously about this for over thirty years, and nobody has ever convinced me otherwise.

I can't remember with whom I disagreed about the severity of the National Debt, but I maintain that we've been swimming closer-and-closer towards a polar bear, which is going to bite us in the ass.

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On 3/18/2016 at 10:47 AM, zgast said:

Loved the movie. I'm intimately involved with a lot of what went on the mortgage market during that time, but really appreciated that it made so much of what went on accessible.  Steve Carrell and Ryan Gosling were great in their roles.

I'd love to hear from someone who who was involved.  I wasn't.  I was involved in the credit crunch/over lending/crash of commercial real estate that occurred nationwide around 1989.  I was involved from the earliest 80's. 

From the outside looking in there was so much that seemed replicated.  Not exactly the same but so freaking similar in so many ways; on the lending and non oversight ways.  The Wall Street element added another level of miserableness that didn't exist in the 80's and the run up to '89, but so much seemed so similar.

But I was on the outside in the 2000's, not the inside.  I'd like to hear about if from the inside. 

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10 minutes ago, DaveO said:

But I was on the outside in the 2000's, not the inside.  I'd like to hear about if from the inside. 

So would I, but you're not going to get a Wall Street insider posting here; the best you can realistically hope for is a knowledgeable university economics professor, of which we have several.

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2 hours ago, DonRocks said:

So would I, but you're not going to get a Wall Street insider posting here; the best you can realistically hope for is a knowledgeable university economics professor, of which we have several.

the issues were so many and in so many places.  The lending and real estate side were two areas.  Oversight on lending was a third area.  While that was occurring Wall Street was intimately involved buying loans, breaking them up, reselling them, placing bets on the loans, etc.  Nobody saw all of it in one fell swoop.

In the 80's. I saw the lending, I saw the structure of the loans and their worthiness or not, I witnessed the overview that was seeing the market conditions that satisfied the loans, and while there wasn't a wall street element like in the 80's the lenders were flush with cash. 

I'd like to hear some of the insights from some of the players.

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