The Big Short


Anne on the Forest Park SE Pedestrian Bridge

Anne on the Forest Park SE Pedestrian Bridge

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. – Mark Twain

“The Big Short” is Adam McKay’s movie based upon the Michael Lewis book by the same name. It is a historical drama about the great recession, from the point of view of the few that profited greatly from our national economy’s demise, by betting against it. It’s a boy’s club tale, starring Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Steve Carell and Brad Pitt. There’s plenty of fourth wall interaction in the movie, Gosling acts as both character and narrator through this medium. One effect that I appreciated were the many period stills that punctuated the movie. I know, it hasn’t even been ten years, but a lot has changed since then. The movie has a lot of technical financial terms to explain, read boring. It relies on cameos for this function. One of my favorites was Margot Robbie’s bubble bath scene. Hey, I’m a guy. Anyway, it’s a first-rate movie and I highly recommend it.

Truth is like poetry. And most people f-ing hate poetry.
– Overhead in a DC bar

Gosling does a voiceover near the end of the movie where he explains all the ramifications from the great recession, “100s of bankers went to jail, the big banks were broken up and Congress enacted sweeping financial regulations.” Then with a record needle’s scratch, he corrects himself, “None of that stuff happened. Instead, it was all blamed on immigrants and the poor.”

All that is solid melts into air; all that is holy is profaned.
– Communist Manifesto

Then there was Carell’s interview with the Standard & Poor’s bond rating representative. She had just come from an appointment with the eye doctor and was wearing one of those disposable sets of wraparound shades. She was the perfect image of blind justice, until she ripped them off and admitted her culpability, in selling AAA bond ratings for fees.

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