The Big Short

>> Sunday, November 20, 2016

What I love about this movie is its attention to detail. Even in that first scene set in the late 1970s, they used an overhead projector with transparencies. It's so easy to forget how the low-tech ways things used to operate. I saw that thing, and it instantly brought me back to my college A&P classes where different professors both semesters used that to go over the notes.

It's a semi-weird experience watching this. You totally know that they are completely correct in that the housing market is going to collapse because it was built on fraud, that they truly are following real logic, but weird in that they knew the timing of when the receipts were going to be shown. Like, I often connect some of the housing crash timeline to where I worked at the time since the company I worked for had a real estate division and also manufactured building products. I can still remember in late August 2006 when I guy I barely knew was talking about declines in the housing market. I specifically remember him saying he wasn't that worried about it because he stated that when the housing market drops, people tend to do more remodeling. So he wasn't worried about losing his job or a huge market downturn. I'm sure that's true in a certain sense, but it didn't turn out to be the case in 2006-2008.

Ryan Gosling's character seems like a total cynical asshole. The first time I watched it, it was hard to like him. But the second time I watched it--mostly listened to it while washing dishes this morning--I'll admit that I had a lot more respect for him the second time around. He didn't have any faith in the system anymore, and he was right to feel that way. Probably even more correct now considering that the problems that caused the crash are still happening.

I can understand and relate to Steve Carell's character's absolute disgust after talking to the CDO manager. That manger totally believes his net worth should equal his self and societal worth. Asshole. That guy doesn't contribute more to society than elementary school teachers; all he does is take people's money. And it shouldn't really happen. There should be regulators and government entities preventing these things from happening. That brief SEC conversation by the pool was spot on: "Our budget was cut; we're not investigating anything." Yup. Not surprised. It's what people who don't want to pay taxes because the government is "too big" just never understand. If there is no third party arbitrator making sure things run fair, honest, transparent, and legal, then it really is a free-for-all where the banks are just going to take your money because they can.

And then there's that part with Brad Pitt's character Ben is in Boulder, Colorado. When I saw the mountains I was like, hey, I live there now. Kind of weird to see it in film like that. But that part where he was talking about colonics...that is SO Boulder. I shit you not.

The breaking the fourth wall didn't bother me at all. It was a little weird at first, but I totally see it as part of the movie's charm. (This is not easy material to get people to understand, and they made it engaging and understandable.) Those moments where Gosling's character points out things that Carrell's character actually did, I actually appreciate him pointing it out that he actually did those things. Because in some ways, when you consider how ludicrous this situation was (and still is really), it is nice knowing that someone really did speak up and point things out. Because the people in charge of everything would like everyone else to believe that none of this could have been predicted or prevented. Except that's not true.


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