Dinner and a Movie: The Big Short

Last weekend, instead of a pizza, we opted to split a salad and a sandwich at Corner Pizza

Afterward, we went to see The Big Short.

It had been out a few weeks, but the theater was packed. We were lucky to get two seats together on the 4th row. I had seen this film in France the week before (dubbed in French), and I understood most what the characters said, when they didn’t speak way too fast OR use (curse) words and idioms that I don’t know (yet). Seeing the English language version cleared up my confusion (and, to be fair, it’s a rather complicated story, especially in French). I enjoyed the film just as much the second time.

Here are my reactions to The Big Short:

  1. I want to read the book by Michael Lewis now.
  2. I thought the film was well cast.
  3. I thought it was well done. Some people may not like the way it was filmed and edited, but I did.
  4. I liked the movie very much overall, but I was dismayed (and even felt cheated) that one important thing was left out (and I wonder if the book does the same thing): the fact that the federal Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) [as updated in the 1990s] effectively forced banks to make subprime mortgage loans to non-credit worthy customers (“ninjas,” or no income, no job, no assets), so as not to discriminate against them.

I’ve worked in banking, and I know that bankers must should evaluate measurable criteria (like income, assets, credit scores, etc.) before making any kind of loan. And, like it or not, just like any other company, banks have to make a profit in order to stay in business. The federal government was responsible for the crisis depicted in the movie in that it forced banks to make loans to people who couldn’t afford them, betting on the erroneous assumption that housing would always appreciate.

See my novel UNDERWATER for more information.

On a positive note, I liked the film’s epilogue – the updates on what happened to all the central characters, and the macro effects. However, it would have been nice to learn that the government had either repealed or revised the laws, to prevent what happened from happening all over again.

But maybe that’s too big of a thing to hope for.

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No Pizza photo this time – just a collection of cards and souvenirs from my trip to the south of France, where I saw The Big Short in French!

 

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