The Big Short: Tons Better than The Revenant

Not to keep beating a dead bear, but my other option to blog about today is the vice presidential debate, and I don’t feel like going there. (Okay. I lied. I do. But my review of that would be pretty simple: it felt like a game of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. You know, the one where each player controls a little mechanical robot and they flail away at each other until both robots have crumbled to pieces? Hillary had one robot and Trump had another, and the robots’ job was to go in there and take hits for the team and get as many blows in of their own as they could. This election is anything but a chess match.)

Where was I?

Ah yes: The Big Short. What a strange, interesting beast of a movie. It tells the real life story of the few people in the country who actually realized there was going to be a huge financial meltdown in 2007 due to the housing crisis. They proceeded to short the housing market, and made a ton of money off it.

On the one hand, this is terrible, right? They were making money off the misery of the rest of the country. Why didn’t they stop it instead of just trying to profit off it? But the movie does a great job reminding us exactly why they didn’t try to stop it.

Everyone else in the country thought they were crazy.

They might as well have been the long haired, unwashed, stereotypical end-of-days crazy man standing on a street corner for all people were paying attention to them. The banks couldn’t believe how lucky they were that some idiots were willing to pay millions of dollars to make such a stupid bet. It was like someone betting on purple in Roulette. The rest of the world was so convinced, and of course that’s when things are most dangerous.

And somehow, this movie is a dark comedy that manages to also instruct the viewer on the intricacies of financial shenanigans, all while being really captivating. (Having Margot Robbie explain some of it from a bubble bath did tend to help in that arena.)

It’s R-rated, and it didn’t have to be (though don’t get me wrong: it deserved that rating. I’m just saying it could have done a PG-13 version very easily), but I recommend the movie to anyone who’s still looking back at the Great Recession and wondering how in the world it all went south. If you want to get very angry at bankers and Wall Street types, watch this movie.

Well acted throughout. Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling. Directed by Adam McKay, who wins the award for most unexpectedly good director, going from the likes of Anchorman and Talladega Nights to . . . this? Totally didn’t see that coming. It won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, and it’s a better movie than The Revenant in pretty much every category except “Plotless Westerns Featuring Bear Attacks.”

Seriously. You could spend your time watching DiCaprio wheeze and moan for a couple of hours, or you could learn a ton and be entertained at the same time. Open your eyes, sheeple!


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