“The preachy, hectoring tone writer and director Adam McKay takes at the end of the ‘The Big Short’ is not only discordant, it’s also hugely misleading…

…McKay thinks one of the main takeaways from the crisis is this: The banks “blamed poor people.” No one blamed poor people, but McKay seems unaware of the major role the federal government played in nudging poor people to buy houses they couldn’t afford. . . .McKay’s movie essentially tells us that the big banks like Goldman had ensured that the fix was in—they had criminally rigged the system. How so? You can hardly yell “People should have gone to jail” when you can’t point to a single individual and explain what crime he committed. Betting that AAA-rated securities are in fact sound investments may sometimes be stupid, but dumb isn’t the same as fraudulent. And justice isn’t supposed to work on lynch-mob principles in which anger and a noose are all you need to deliver a satisfying conclusion. “The Big Short” is already getting praise in Hollywood for its “powerful message.” Critics and award voters won’t care that it doesn’t tell the whole story. They’d rather be righteous than right.”, Notable & Quotable: The New York Post’s Kyle Smith on ‘The Big Short’, The Wall Street Journal, December 15, 2015

Opinion

Notable & Quotable: Kyle Smith on ‘The Big Short’

The New York Post critic and columnist writing about the new movie ‘The Big Short.’

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Steve Carell in a scene from ‘The Big Short.’ PHOTO: JAAP BUITENDIJK/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Dec. 14, 2015 7:06 p.m. ET

The New York Post’s Kyle Smith writing about the new movie “The Big Short,” Dec. 6:

The story is everything, and that story is: Evil bankers in an unregulated Wild West of capitalist depravity crippled the economy, cost us taxpayers billions of dollars in bailouts and carried on in a lawless spree that should have resulted in jail time for everybody.

To say the least, it’s an imprecise view, which raises the question: When it’s time to make a movie dealing in complex material about contemporary financial instruments, is the guy who brought us “Anchorman 2” really the best available option?

Longtime Will Ferrell collaborator, former “SNL” head writer and director Adam McKay, whose work usually isn’t even on the smart end of the comedy spectrum, co-wrote and directed “The Big Short,” an inept and frequently idiotic take on Michael Lewis’ deeply engaging book, and it will largely be remembered for three things: bad haircuts, overacting and Margot Robbie in a bubble bath. . . .

The preachy, hectoring tone he takes at the end of the film is not only discordant, it’s also hugely misleading. McKay thinks one of the main takeaways from the crisis is this: The banks “blamed poor people.” No one blamed poor people, but McKay seems unaware of the major role the federal government played in nudging poor people to buy houses they couldn’t afford. . . .

McKay’s movie essentially tells us that the big banks like Goldman had ensured that the fix was in—they had criminally rigged the system. How so? You can hardly yell “People should have gone to jail” when you can’t point to a single individual and explain what crime he committed. Betting that AAA-rated securities are in fact sound investments may sometimes be stupid, but dumb isn’t the same as fraudulent.

And justice isn’t supposed to work on lynch-mob principles in which anger and a noose are all you need to deliver a satisfying conclusion.

“The Big Short” is already getting praise in Hollywood for its “powerful message.” Critics and award voters won’t care that it doesn’t tell the whole story. They’d rather be righteous than right.

 

Posted on December 16, 2015, in Postings. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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