Monday, January 25, 2016

The Big Short (a movie review post)

I think when you hear about a movie being made about the financial collapse of the housing market, you don't think "funny." That's certainly not what I thought. So I figured this was going to be a serious "doom and gloom" kind of movie, but I wanted to see it because it's about the guys (well, one guy, really) who saw the bubble and knew it was going to pop. You hear about the people who saw it coming, but you don't really hear about them, if you know what I mean. They get brushed off as doomsayers who just happened to be right this time but not because they were right but because they were lucky. After all, no one could have seen the coming of the collapse of the housing market, right?
Right?

Honestly, Steve Carell was enough to make me want to see it, but it's a subject I have interest in. And I like Gosling, too. I'm not a fan of Bale, but I do concede that he's a good, possibly great, actor, so I could get let his presence slide. And, um, I had actually forgotten that Brad Pitt was in it at all. I do like him, so that would have been a plus... if I had remembered.

Then the movie turned out to be a comedy! A dark comedy, granted, but a comedy nonetheless. I suppose I could have known that before going in, but I don't like to know too much about a movie before seeing it and the fact that this is a comedy in no way takes away from the movie or the subject matter. Humor may have been the best vehicle for a movie like this, in fact.

Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, the actual guy who saw the housing bubble and knew it was going to burst. I'm not going to get into all of that or what happened because you can watch the movie or do the research to find that stuff out, and you should because it's interesting and somewhat fascinating. That he saw the bubble was not "luck" or a good guess or anything like that; it was an ability to look at the data and know what it means, something most (nearly all) people are incapable of. So, yeah, of course it sounded ludicrous when he suggested that the housing market was going to collapse. Also, he was trying to make money off of it but not because he was trying to make money off of it. No, I'm not going to try to explain that. Also, Bale was incredible as Burry. Like I said, he's a good, possibly great, actor whether I like him or not.

Brad Pitt was also cast somewhat against character and, since I had forgotten that he was in the movie at all, it was halfway through or something before I even realized it was him. It was one of those "oh!" moments: Oh! That's Brad Pitt! And, well, if someone like Brad Pitt can make me not even recognize him, you have to know that it's a good performance.

Carell was playing more to character, kind of an angry Michael Scott kind of guy, but he was really good and fit the part perfectly. He's actually the guy you end up having the most connection with because he's in this investment business but really hates everything about it. He hates all of the corruption and deceit and greed but, yet, there he is. So, yeah, at first, when he and his group figure out about shorting the housing market (they'll explain that to you in the movie), it's about the money but, as he finds more out about what's going on, for him, it's really about hurting the banks. Carell is actually great in the role and makes you really feel for the character.

Speaking of the movie explaining things, that stuff is awesome. They actually stop the action of the movie to have celebrities explain concepts, like the bit with Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining whatever she was explaining (I don't remember what anyone explained, now, so that has nothing to do with Robbie in the bubble bath). Those bits were pretty brilliant; the one with the chef and, um, whomever was with him was probably the best one.

And, oh, yeah, Gosling is good, too, though he didn't really do anything that you wouldn't expect of Gosling, so hos performance doesn't really stand out to me. It's the kind of thing you'd expect of Ryan Reynolds, but Gosling does a lot of that kind of thing, too.

All in all a really great movie, as good as Spotlight, really, which fills me with conflict, because I want Spotlight for best picture, but The Big Short, though a different kind of film completely, is equally as good. I wouldn't want to have to pick between the two as to which one is actually the "better" movie.

14 comments:

  1. My guess is it will win best picture.
    Haven't seen it yet, but I really want to. Good do know it's more of a dark comedy.

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    1. Alex: I don't think it will win. I think the safe money is on Spotlight, which is certainly deserving of it, too.

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  2. Hmmmm... I don't tend to like Steve Carell most of the time--especially the ass characters like Michael. Though if he's an ass who is acknowledged as an ass rather than seen as harmless I could get along with that. I am interested in the content though, and I like the rest of these guys.

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    1. Hart: The character in The Big Short is not really like Michael Scott, just abrasive in the same way.

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  3. Mad Max is gonna win best picture. I predicted it like six months ago. I love this review though. I love all things Wall Street.

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    1. Michael: I truly hope it doesn't win. It's... I don't have a good word for how wrong it is that it's even nominated. I don't have a lot of faith in humanity but, if it wins, it will prove there's no reason to have any faith at all.

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  4. Brad Pitt is really turning into one of those guys that you forget is in movies. He was the star of World War Z and I forgot he was in that. I like dark comedies, so I'll probably watch this one eventually.

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    1. Jeanne: He's a good actor, that's for sure.

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  5. We enjoyed this movie so very much. Michael Lewis has that wonderful Asmovian gift for explaining complicated things in simple terms. Great stuff.

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  6. I had to go look up who Margot Robbie was and its probably better if I don't watch a movie with her in a bubble bath. Sweetie's the jealous sort.

    I've heard good things about this movie. I probably won't watch it though. I spent 7-9 hours a day dealing with the fallout of this, which is great for business but also sometimes sad.

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    1. Briane: I think you would empathize with Carell's character.

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  7. This film has a good cast. I do like Bale--he's played some pretty fine roles. Dark comedy for this topic sounds interesting. Not sure that my wife would care for this, but maybe I can slip it into our movie schedule and watch it on a night when she's wide awake.

    Arlee Bird
    Wrote By Rote

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    1. Lee: My wife loved it. We both came out debating which was better, this or Spotlight, and neither of us had a definitive answer.

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