By and large, The Big Short is a movie about the awful things done by rich old white men with money and power, and the desperate lengths they will go in order to protect that money and power. Maintain the status quo. Consequences don’t exist for these people. This story would be too far-fetched and unbelievable if this wasn’t actually based on true events. Our economic system is a cycle of greed and abuse. The future is traded against the present and no one learns anything from the past.

Co-writer and director Adam McKay deserves credit for telling this story in an accessible manner. However, I also felt like my intelligence was being insulted. The scenes where celebrities explain an aspect of this financial situation (the housing bubble) in some clumsy comparison are weird and wholly unnecessary. I have no idea why Anthony Bourdain is in this movie. It felt like they wanted to shoehorn in some sex appeal by having Margot Robbie and Selena Gomez appear to re-state the same point. I’m surprised they didn’t have Margot Robbie stand up from her fucking bubble bath.

Fuck Off

In a sense, forcing the audience to pay attention by repeating a point with celebrities is fitting. The American public is/was too distracted by meaningless shit like celebrity culture to realize the many ways in which they are being fucked on a daily basis. The practice of predatory lending by banks is one piece in our house of cards. The evil fucks in charge didn’t care about the ramifications because they knew they would never really face any punishment. And thus, the cringeworthy term “too big to fail” was born.

The Big Short does a decent job describing this particular time period. But I would have liked it to go further—descending deeper to highlight more of the plight of the American people who suffered as a result. The movie gives us a taste, but everything is far too superficial.

The Big Short is a drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Almost to the point of being a straight comedy. It’s an odd tone to strike considering the subject matter—but it works well enough.

There are some incredibly funny scenes in this movie, which helps give the actors room to breathe. You get to see Christian Bale act amazingly weird with a fake eye and pound drums to the beat of Pantera. Ryan Gosling gets to shriek “I’m jacked to the tits!” and rock a perm while acting like a jackass. It’s rather shocking how much Brad Pitt resembles Robert Redford the older he gets. Steve Carrell has a horrendous haircut, but he revels in playing the role of cynical prick. No one here is likeable.

Jacked to the Tits

Despite very limited interaction between these characters, they all own a portion of the movie. Each actor chews their fair share of scenery. However, I found them all annoying and grating in their own way. These people could only be described as the “good guys” in this particular twisted story where faceless institutions acting without any accountability represent the true evil.

I thoroughly enjoyed the acting performances. Most people probably won’t like The Big Short as much as I did. I can be enthralled with a movie that has a mid-level/sub-par story if there are great actors being great—i.e. Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano in There Will Be Blood.

Creepy Bale

The Big Short isn’t in the same echelon, but it belongs in the same categorization. Unfortunately, it is a touch too stupid for a movie focused on a few incredibly smart people who gazed into the void and gambled against the facade. I think this could have been a much better movie in different hands.

Maybe it’s not necessarily a bad thing that The Big Short is fun and breezy.

Whatever your reaction is after watching this movie…just don’t fucking dance.

Don't Fucking Dance

4 out of 5 stars

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