The 2008 Economic Disaster for Dummies

Dylan Rupptrecht

With the Oscars right around the corner, people wait in anticipation for the unveiling of winners and losers. One of the most coveted awards, Best Picture, will be given to only one of the eight films nominated. The Big Short is one of those eight nominees hoping to bring in that little golden man.

Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in a scene from The Big Short  (AP Photo)
Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling in a scene from The Big Short
(AP Photo)

On top of the Best Picture award, The Big Short is also nominated in four other categories: Best Supporting Actor, Directing, Film Editing, and Adapted Screenplay.

Director Adam Mckay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) uses his wit and sarcastic tongue to create the entertaining but critical portrayal of the big 2008 financial crash. This comedy-drama puts into perspective the housing market crash of 2008 that put America in one of the worst economic states since the Great Depression. Several years prior to the crash, four main characters in this true story started picking up on little clues hinting at the collapse of the market. Everyone is epically laughed at for suggesting the supposedly rock-solid market was actually a ticking time-bomb ready to demolish the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans. When the market finally does crash, and the lies and corruption on which it was built finally surface, the rage and fury of everyday Americans is embodied in the amazing performances by Christian Bale and Steve Carell.

The Big Short feels like it’s going to be akin to The Wolf of Wall Street: both movies set up Wall Street to be the cesspool of greedy, corrupted individuals that America now understands. However, instead of having a barrage of boobs and drugs to emphasize this point, The Big Short uses the craft of its characters to express what is wrong with the big picture.

Bale plays Michael Burry, an eccentric investor for Scion Capital who originally finds the problem with the current market design, buried deep in thick records of data. Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett, the full-of-himself bank bond salesman who caught wind of Burry’s discovery, and like Burry, decides to invest millions of dollars against the market in hopes of receiving an egregious amount of money. Steve Carell is the centerpiece in this as Mark Baum who’s tenacious attitude in the face of tainted people helps sustain the viewers anger when all the messed up facts are presented; one is especially angry when discovering that the mass of people responsible for this catastrophe still roam freely in the country within the one percent.

Ultimately, this movie is not only entertaining, but important to watch. It uses clever, funny antics to explain all the confusing terms and angles, essentially feeling like some sort of “2008 Market Crash for Dummies.” It’s difficult refraining from anger after watching The Big Short, however that’s exactly why people