Sunday, January 17, 2016

You Only Live Twice

I would like to say I enjoyed the Big Short, but like Spotlight - the subject matter at hand is a tough sell, no matter how well the film making might be.

I lived through this depression once - it seemed too soon to live it twice.

Back in the Autumn of 2008, I remember being at a conference in DC with my then short-time boss. She insisted I attend with her. On the first day, she disappeared up to her room, by mid-day the second day she was gone.

Though they were not my clients, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers fell under her umbrella and the first one imploded, leaving her staff in ruins and the second one on the brink - soon to follow.

Even before the actual implosion, I remember walking around with on my docs, lamenting that economic collapse weighed heavily on me.

I suppose if I had a problem with this movie is that there is no positive outcome. At least with Spotlight, there was a little justice - very teeny tiny. With the economic collapse, millions of people lost their jobs and homes...unless they were in banking. Those folks just got a government bail-out and tens of millions of dollars in bonuses.

That said, the filmmakers (who also did Moneyball) made the hows and whys of this devastation understandable to the average Joe without dumbing it down so much that it was painfully bad. Oddly, the use of Anthony Bourdain and Selena Gomez (whom I've heard of, but don't actually know who she is or what she actually does....) to explain banking terms and how things went south was fairly inventive.

I will say, I was impressed by the cast. I wasn't really thinking I would enjoy Steve Carell, but I did. I thought Christian Bale did a nice job, though I'm not sure he was the Oscar-worthy one here. Carell might have deserved it more. Ryan Gosling was good as well (and who wouldn't want to happen upon him in a bathroom - like in the title image?), though his hair do was a distraction. Brad Pitt? Meh. For the most part I don't understand his appeal (though I did like him in Moneyball).

And Marisa Tomei. She has an Oscar don't ya know. And oddly she was in Crazy Stupid Love with Carell and Gosling and in Ides of March with Gosling. Maybe they have some sort of pact or something. She was fine - don't get me wrong, I suppose they needed a female in the cast of testosterone, but the storyline was hardly needed for the overall narrative.

....and I always enjoy Max Greenfield in just about anything, so that was ok.

Like I said, there was no good take away. Maybe it's a reminder or a wake-up to the average audience member. Clearly, we got our mortgage at the time of this shell game of finance. Perhaps we beat the odds, but I can tell you our understanding of how they work was invisible to us. I'm not sure we could have ever known, no matter how knowledgable we might be. We (as a country) were and still are being taken for a ride.

The Big Short was well done, at least as much as it could be, still, it was the most silent I've ever heard an audience during a movie. And ironically - that's saying something.

2016 Movie Count / Goal:  03 of 18

Song by: Nancy Sinatra 


anne marie in philly said...

"We (as a country) were and still are being taken for a ride." - RAMEN, bro!

selena gomez was a disney star; she was miss justine bieber's fuck buddy at one time too. now she's unemployed.

Fearsome Beard said...

We are all different and that's a good thing. Brad Pitt just makes me swoon.

Bob said...

Ryan Gosling. Swoon.