‘The Big Short,’ and Krugman

‘The Big Short,’ Housing Bubbles and Retold Lies

I saw The Big Short with Wee Fierce Beastie the other day, and yes, that’s our idea of a date night. A pretty good one.

Spoiler: I emphatically recommend this movie.

For those of you who have no idea what this movie is: It’s a story of the housing bubble bursting back in ’07-’08. It’s a movie about few groups of outsiders on the fringes of the Wall Street world realizing before anyone else that the housing market is turning into a giant bubble, and maneuvering to make a killing off of it when it finally bursts, in the face of much of the rest of the world thinking they’re flatly insane.

It’s educational, and despite that, it isn’t boring, and it is a lot of fun.

It was good. While I’m an econ nerd, I think most people would find it pretty entertaining. Don’t expect action, but it’s funny, it’s accessible, and who doesn’t enjoy foul-mouthed biting sarcasm, and plots to become fabulously, fantastically wealthy? In a way, it almost comes across as a heist movie, but a skewed one. There isn’t anything illegal in what the protagonists are doing, if anything, they’re profiting from the loss of those who are breaking the law, or at least behaving very unethically.

I’m in the age bracket to remember the housing bubble and the market crash, but not old enough to have really been able to relate to it, I lacked life experiences with mortgages, debt, etc, and it didn’t really directly affect me, nor did I at any sort of deep level understand what was happening.

So I really got a lot out of this. I think anyone who’s heard of the crash and had any experience with it’s consequences (Eg, been an adult in the last eight years or so) will too, especially if you DON’T know a lot about the events of the movie or how it all worked. They do a great job of explaining any time they start getting technical or confusing, interrupting the movie on an irregular basis for an interlude with Margot Robbie in a bubble bath, drinking champagne, explaining the term ‘sub-prime’ before telling you to ‘fuck off’ so she can finish her bath, or Selena Gomez doing an excellent job of illustrating what a ‘synthetic collateralized debt obligation’ is.

Oh, and Krugman, one of my favorite writers, did a piece talking about the movie. He liked it. He contends that it’s substantially accurate in the significant details (Context: Paul Krugman is a Nobel-winning economist with a PhD in economics from MIT who writes for the New York Times).

So yeah, go see The Big Short. It’s still in theaters.