Instead of writing a Golden Globes blog this year I just want to talk about the movie Hollywood will likely forget in the next month…
I’m a sucker for a true story that tells the tale of an American struggle, especially when Brad Pitt and/or Christian Bale is involved. A film that tells a story that, no matter who you are, we can all relate to. A story with a universal truth. Yeah, that is definitely my shit.
Every Award Season we get a movie like this that never seems to get the respect it deserves. When it’s up against Oscar bait like “The Danish Girl” and “The Revenant,” it hardly stands a chance. But this year, “The Big Short” wants to prove something else entirely. It’s smart and fast-paced, yet easy to understand because of its hyper-meta explanations of something that could be utterly boring to an audience: the U.S. economy. Not only is “Short” entertaining with excellent performances, it’s also an excellent teaching tool. Who knew the guy who wrote “Anchorman” could deliver such an intelligent movie experience.
Here’s why you need to see “The Big Short” this Award Season:
- Adam McKay finally proves himself. Listen, I enjoy dumb comedies, but Will Ferrell ones are usually the worst to stomach. McKay is his creative partner and often gets swept up in Ferrell stupidity. With “Short” he proves that he not only can direct a funny, yet smart film, but can also write with the likes of Sorkin. He’s gained my full respect on this one.
- Christian Bale has a glass eye. And he listens to Metalica and plays the drums, all while predicting that the U.S. housing market was built on a bad bubble that will eventually collapse. He represents the guy who cries wolf type that no one wants to believe but is always right in the end. Makes you wonder how many other guys like his character are out there right now serving as vigilantes.
- Cleverly-placed celeb cameos. Bonds and stocks and mortgages and banking in general is not fun. Which may be why, as the film alludes, citizens have a hard time seeing crisis like the housing market’s coming. McKay enlists cameos from the likes of Selina Gomez and Margot Robbie among others to explain what the hell is going on. It could be a sex appeal ploy since there are zero ladies that help the guys sort through bank info, but either way it’s funny and actually really helpful for the viewer.
- Steve Carell. I’ve been an “Office” fan for forever so it’s been hard for me to accept Carell’s new transition into such dramatic leading roles. “Foxcatcher” was good, but “Short” proves that he’s the caliber of actor that deserves to be in movies with Brad Pitt. And any “Office” fan already knew that.
- Breaking the fourth wall. It’s a risky move, but when done right breaking the fourth wall in a film can bring the story full circle for the audience. In “The Big Short” the wall is often broken by Ryan Gosling and his crazy wig. And it’s always insightful and hilarious.
- And bringing that funny. I always say that the best comedies are the ones that make you think. The making you laugh part is just the bonus.
- The music. Any film that uses a Guns N’ Roses song over an intense dinner table scene is right up there with perfect in my book.
- Those decade details. Whether it’s a cell phone, an iPod, fashion, or the hilarious use of a Ludacris song, “The Big Short” cleverly pays homage to culture as it was in 2005 (when the story first starts). The fun is in the details.
- The principle of the thing. Save your money. Understand capitalism. Know what the hell your money is going to. Pitt’s character explains it best by saying even though the characters are right with predicting the crisis, it doesn’t mean they can stop it, and that means they can’t help save people and their money from it.
- The ultimate system story. Whether this movie teaches you something or just pisses you off, it makes you think. And that’s the best kind of thing. That’s film making at its best.