Wick's Great Recession Movies (10) Alert-me-btn

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Created Nov 02, 2011 09:47PM PST • Updated Jan 03, 2012 10:22PM PST

They’re not all great but they’re all about the Great Recession.


  • Good
  • 69 Points
Title Released Trust Weighted Summary Viewable
1st Margin Call
2011 Great 83 Points

Wall Street gets stripped bare in this brilliantly depressing takedown of ├╝berleveraged trading houses, what used to be known as Investment Banks. An acting tour de force about the fall of a Lehman-like firm, Margin Call plays like a Wall Street Glengarry Glen Ross.

Several in the stellar stable of actors get to chew on terrifically flawed characters: a wealthy man who cares more for a dying dog than real people; brilliant men who turned away from eminence in science or engineering for the financial rewards of trading….

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Added Nov 02, 2011 09:47PM PST • Updated Nov 02, 2011 09:51PM PST
2nd Blue Jasmine
2013 Great 86 Points

Cate Blanchett transfixes in Woody Allen’s superior dramedy Blue Jasmine. Playing the Jasmine of the title, Blanchett goes from Park Avenue socialite to broken vixen in a performance that masterfully oscillates between elegance and rawness. That last almost assures her an Academy Award nomination.

Woody’s take on the Great Recession focuses on a younger version of Ruth and Bernie Madoff, in the wake of his unmasking. Hubris, narcism and greed make for heaping helpings of schadenfreude.

Her refined opportunism gets juxtaposed with her sister’s easygoing pluckiness, honed through a…

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Added Aug 04, 2013 08:11PM PST • Updated Aug 05, 2013 04:13PM PST
3rd The Big Short
2015 Great 66 Points

The Big Short isn’t the Big Lie, but isn’t far from it either. The government hides just offscreen in Adam McKay’s seriocomic docudrama about the epic falsehoods that consumed the banking industry in 2008.

Falsehoods one and two were Washington’s ability to safely stimulate homeownership among subprime borrowers and the supposed safety of only allowing three companies to grade mortgage securities as AAA. Overstimulated and over-regulated, stoked by torrents of cheap money from an over-accommodative Fed, the housing economy turned into a massive bubble. When that bubble burst, the Great…

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Added Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
4th Killing Them Softly
2012 Very Good 66 Points

Not really about the Great Recession but damn sure set in the Great Recession.

Star power in service to dark humor makes Killing Them Softly an entertaining time at the movies, and will make it seem even more entertaining as an on-demand rental soon enough.

This second m…

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Added Dec 11, 2012 12:22AM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
5th The Company Men
2011 Good 88 Points

Woe is me – what I felt watching The Company Men, perhaps because that’s how its characters felt. Notwithstanding its glorification of self-pity, the movie tells a surprisingly good story, touching on many familiar elements of our current woeful economy.

People living beyond their means, in debt up to their eyeballs and driving leased cars they really can’t afford are one thread. Companies that put management’s interests above those of shareholders are another.

When management thinks only of management, employees and shareholders get shafted.

A big-name cast doing very good w…

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Added Nov 02, 2011 09:51PM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
6th Inside Job
2010 Good 5 Points

Hard hitting documentary that shows how greed, corruption, and status quo created the great financial meltdown of the past three years. In easy to understand language, the film shows how finanancial institutions engaged in reckless behavior that could have easily been prevented, creating the economic ctastrophe that has touched so many of us.

What I found most interesting was the cast of characters, who still lead the headlines today. The very same people who helped to create and foster this epic failure of our economy, now teaching at the nations leading colleges, or serve in governmen…

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Added Nov 02, 2011 09:51PM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
7th Too Big to Fail
2011 Barely OK 66 Points

The NY Times’ take on the banking crisis endgame gets reenacted in this made-for-HBO docudrama. Notwithstanding the Big Lie told in the middle, the movie otherwise seems to competently essay the mechanics of the fall of Lehman Brothers, AIG and the imposition of TARP.

The Big Lie comes when the characters playing the senior staff of the US Treasury blame the subprime mortgage crisis 100% on Wall Street, asserting that Washington’s only fault was too little regulation. In fact the push for subprime mortgages came directly from Washington regulations, ultimately morphing into a torrent o…

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Added Nov 02, 2011 09:47PM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
8th Larry Crowne
2011 OK 88 Points

Anybody seen a golden Hollywood crown? Tom Hanks lost his by directing, starring in and co-writing this disappointing dramedy. Notwithstanding Hanks having Hanks – the most likable leading man this side of Jimmy Stewart – and a resonant au courant theme, Larry Crowne barely rises to second rate Capra. It ain’t even Capracorn. If only.

It does include a terrific movie moment: Tom Hanks’ celebration after his big kiss with Julia Roberts, proof that A-list stars can light up the screen in an otherwise bad movie. The rest is a mawkish mess.

Tom, we’ll always love you as Woody

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Added Nov 12, 2011 02:11AM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
9th Tower Heist
2011 OK 71 Points

Not especially funny or thrilling, Tower Heist does offer a proven cast of name actors and a topical story. In fairness, I viewed it on an airliner seatback screen. While seeing it in the theater is no longer an option, viewing it on a big flatscreen in a home theater may have stimulated a higher rating.

Then again, why watch it at home when there are so many other choices?

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Added Mar 20, 2012 01:28PM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST
10th Arbitrage
2012 Barely OK 66 Points

Second-rate performances by first-rate stars in a second-rate thriller with a heavy-handed political agenda make Arbitrage a third-rate movie. Don’t believe the praise it’s received from the Mainstream Media. They’re in love with writer-director Nicholas Jarecki’s politics more than his movie.

About that agenda, Arbitrage opens with the big lie of Leftist economics. “Competition for this limited amount of dollars out there can make the best of us manic,” quoth Richard Gere’s hedge fund billionaire. See the Reality commentary below

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Added Aug 05, 2013 04:17PM PST • Updated Jan 09, 2016 02:47AM PST


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