The Big Short

December 24, 2015 - This 2015 holiday release manages to make the economic meltdown of 2008 entertaining and understandable. The all-star cast includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt are money guys who figured out how to make money when so many others stood to lose it. Adam McKay (Talladega Nights, Anchorman) directs and co-wrote the screenplay. Watch for celebrity cameos.

The movie follows three groups of people as they separately come to the same conclusion: that the housing and credit market is building toward a bubble, and there's big money to be made when it bursts. Their first problem is that no one else seems to realize it. Their second problem is that it takes longer for the bubble to burst than they thought.

The first one to take action is Michael Burry (Bale). He has a medical degree, but rather than playing doctor, he wears t-shirts and shorts and plays loud rock music while managing a hedge fund. His mentor is none too happy when Burry bets more than $1 billion on the bubble bursting a couple of years down the road. Sure, the payoff will be huge, but until then, the losses for his investors will pile up.

Banker Jared Vennett (Gosling) gets wind of what Burry is doing and sees the potential. But, the only people he can convince that he's right are fund manager Mark Baum (Carell) and his team. Baum already believes the system is corrupt. After doing some research, he sees Gosling's plan as a chance to screw the big guys who are screwing the little guys.

A couple of young fund managers from Colorado also notice what Burry is doing. They enlist the help of neighbor and former Wall Street guy Ben (Brad Pitt) to help them get in on the action and guide them down the most financially beneficial path.

Overall review: **** What the movie does well is take what was/is a very complex system and make it understandable. Maybe you had a superficial understanding of why the economy collapsed. This movie uses cameos and Jenga to make it all a little more clear. Carell provides the movie's moral center. His righteous indignation fuels his desire to see the big guy taken down. But his cynicism forces him to believe that nothing will change and that the little guy will just get screwed all over again.