Saturday, March 26, 2016

From The Big Short

From the last minutes of The Big Short (dir. Adam McKay, 2015). Mark Baum (Steve Carrell) is on the phone:

“I have a feeling that in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks. They will be blaming immigrants and poor people.”
And Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) follows up with voiceover narration:
“But Mark was wrong. In the years that followed, hundreds of bankers and rating agencies executives went to jail. The SEC was completely overhauled. And Congress had no choice but to break up the big banks and regulate the mortgage and derivatives industries.

Just kidding.

The banks took the money the American people gave them and they used it to pay themselves huge bonuses and lobby the Congress to kill big reform. And then they blamed immigrants and poor people. And this time, even teachers.”
That last sentence puzzled me — it seems an especially novel charge. But at least one deep thinker at the Heritage Foundation did indeed blame teachers’ unions for the housing bubble.

I strongly recommend The Big Short , which takes an inventive approach to telling a Strangelovian story. Breaks in the fourth wall and explanatory cameos by Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, Margot Robbie, and Richard Thaler add to the general sense of unreality. This film would make a nice double-bill with Inside Job (dir. Charles Ferguson, 2010): two sides of the same rotten coin.

[Paragraph breaks for Vennett’s voiceover are mine.]

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