Movie Review: The Big Short (2015)


TitleThe Big Short
Release Date: 2015
Director: Adam McKay
Summary/Review:

I wouldn’t think that The Big Short by Michael Lewis, a book about the investors who saw through the complex shenanigans around financial instruments leading to the great collapse of 2008, would make a great movie.  But director McKay and his cast and crew do a great job of making a film that is funny, educational, and heartbreaking.  There are a lot of pomo kind of tricks like breaking the fourth wall to speak to audience and celebrity cameos that are reminiscent of 24 Hour Party People.  The movie is anchored by strong acting, including Steve Carell as the crotchety New Yorker from ” America’s angriest hedge fund,” and Christian Bale as the quirky genius who first thought to short the subprime mortgage market.

I don’t know if this was a common reaction, but as the film depicted the crash and all the suffering caused by Wall Street, I wept openly in the movie theater.  This is a terrific film that works on both the mind and the emotions and I think everyone should try to see it.  Well, unless your easily offended by foul language and strippers and those sort of things.

Most telling dialogue in the entire movie (regarding some douchey mortgage agents):

Mark Baum: I don’t get it. Why are they confessing?

Danny Moses: They’re not confessing.

Porter Collins: They’re bragging.

Rating: *****

Book Reviews: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis


Author:Michael Lewis
TitleFlash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt
Narrator: Dylan Baker
Publication Info: Simon & Schuster Audio (2014)
Previously read by same author: Moneyball : the art of winning an unfair game, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, and The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game.
Summary/Review:

This book focuses on the contemporary financial trading practices of high frequency traders or “flash traders” seeking to gain advantage in fractions of seconds by having more direct cable connections to the markets.  This is emphasized by an effort to lay a cable from to New York to Chicago through the mountains of Pennsylvania as directly as possible.  Many financial intermediaries are taking advantage of the high frequency trading to basically rip-off their customers and by proxy making the whole financial system susceptible to collapse.  The heroes of the book are the quirky iconoclasts who create the Investors Exchanges (IEX) to counteract this effect.  Lewis can get bogged down in technical details and traders’ talk at times, but mostly keeps things moving along to be entertaining and informative
Rating: ***