Tag: The Big Short

Best of the Decade – Part 2 (40-31)


40) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl 2015


Why? Besides being a solid A+ on the naming department, the title gives you everything you need to know about it. A movie dealing with teens dealing with death, the awkwardness of friendship and love in general, and how one can face the inevitable.

The Nick Offerman and love of movies in it doesn’t hurt it either.

Favorite moment? The movie reenactments.





39) Aftershock 2010


Why? Partially picked because of how few people know about this film, Aftershock is one of the first lesser known films I watched that had a great emotional impact on me, and that was when I was still only 21 or so! The hard choice a mother faces can be seen as an allegory to the One-Child policy that China already had.

And the fact that we get to see so much of the events after the earthquake (you know, the Aftershocks) and how it affected so many lives is just heartbreaking.

Favorite moment? Hard to beat the initial earthquake scene.





38) Life of Pi 2012


Why? Life of Pi, like The Martian, ends up being one of my go-to movies to show the youth of the world as a teacher when we have time, except I try to say it relates to math because of Pi. Life of Pi changed the way CGI worked in films forever, winning plenty of awards along the way because of how aesthetically beautiful it was.

It deals with a lot of hard topics in a way that those young and old can relate to.

Favorite moment? The “real story” being told.





37) Uncut Gems 2019


Why? My first film from this year on the list (which was very hard to place in the decade, mind you) feels like a reminder that Sandler knows what the hell he is doing with the acting game, he just chooses to phone it in for easy paychecks. This film is an uncomfortable two hours, of people making bad and risky decisions for a payoff that may or may not be worth it.

It is excruciating in all the right ways, and a tense experience that is really hard to create.

Favorite moment? The final bet.





36) Inside Out 2015


Why? My second animated film on this list, Inside Out hit me like a bag of trucks. First of all, it was led with Lava, which as a short made me cry by itself. But the journey of “emotions having emotions” through the guise of a pre-teen girl was its own a tear-filled experience, at least twice in theaters, and usually again when I watch it on my own or with my family.

It is a wonderfully weird concept, that sure, doesn’t make a lot of sense with scrutiny (see: many Pixar films), but a ride worth taking nonetheless.

Favorite moment? Bing bong bing bong.





35) The Big Short 2015


Why? What’s this? My number 1 film of 2015 already on the list? That is okay. The Big Short is still wonderful, done in an exciting and informative way, and made me generally smarter about things I didn’t understand well. Hell, it still has good rewatchability. Just maybe that we are farther from the crisis in general, and there are other movies on the subject I like more (spoilers for this list), this felt like a good spot to land.

Adam McKay‘s heel-turn into Oscar nominated films was a shocker and a welcome one at that.

Favorite moment? The celebrity cameos to explain terminology.





34) Get Out 2018


Why? After working on a whole lot of skits, Jordan Peele realized he knew what was missing in the world, and he gave us Get Out. With Us being good (and not as good), he has cemented himself fully as someone to watch. A lot of films in the late 2010’s deal with racial tensions in America, but almost none as creatively do it as with Get Out, in the guise of a regular horror and creepy film.

It fuses the truth, with horror and comedy to get people in the doors and more importantly, get people talking.

Favorite moment? The hypnotism.





33) Before Midnight 2013


Why? Before Midnight is the first sequel on this list, and after examining the whole thing, there are only 2, maybe 2 and a half films that are sequels. So this is definitely the only end of a trilogy! The raw emotions that Linklater let these two do, just to talk, about love, and fear, and sadness, and hope. It is inspiring on its own. Add to the difficulty of creating the trilogy in sort of real time with 9 year gaps lets us come back to a couple we adore and want to succeed and cheer for.

There is a chance of a forth film in 2022, but as for now Linklater hasn’t told us anything.

Favorite moment? The argument.





32) Prisoners 2013


Why? Prisoners is a movie I went in with no expectations, only a trailer, as I didn’t know who Denis Villeneuve was. Turns out, he is a director I love and is featured many times on this list. This is one of those films that really showed me for the first time how good of an actor Gyllenhaal and Dano really are. Already had my assumptions about Jackman.

A long, mystery, dealing with moral ambiguity and a terrifying conclusion. Prisoners changed the way I saw cinema for the next few years.

Favorite moment? Jackman losing it.





31) Marriage Story 2019


Why? Marriage Story deals with a topic we don’t talk a lot about in films. Divorce! Getting married is easy, keeping it and ending it is harder. Two PHENOMENAL performances from Johansson and Driver, this is done in such a way that there are not too many overall scenes, but it is overall very awkward and sad.

I haven’t reseen the movie, but I have gone out of my way to rewatch various parts and I am able to with ease already knowing the full context. This will be a hard movie for me to rewatch and sit through beginning to end, but definitely one that warrants it at some point in the future.

Favorite moment? The court scene.




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Best Films of 2015

This year, I am doing the best first! Mostly because, miraculously, I have seen everything that might make this list already, decently early. My worst list might be a few weeks, as I have been avoiding some of the worse films for my own sanity.

I had a lot of movies that I really liked this year too. And unlike the worst list, everything on this list I gave a 4 out of 4 too. This is the cream of the crop. As a side note, here are some critically acclaimed movies I did not see yet: Victoria, Son of Saul, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, and The Duke of Burgundy.

Honorable Mentions::The Hateful Eight, Love & Mercy, Everest, It Follows

15) Southpaw

“What is this? This is Southpaw, not Creed! How dare you!” First of all, you have no idea if Creed is going to show up (it isn’t) and second, yeah, I think Southpaw is the better movie.

I should reiterate that since my baby girl was born, my emotions have been all over the place. And so when bad things happen to families with young girls? They can get to me. If there is a long death scene with crying and screaming, I will be right there with it, bawling my eyes out.

To go with it, Jake Gyllenhaal is a great actor and he really gives it his all in this film. The fight scenes are exciting, the drama is tense, and I would say it is definitely the best boxing movie of 2015. Bring it on, haters.


14) Chi-Raq

Speaking of haters, boy golly, Spike Lee sure has a lot of them. I mean, some people have valid reasons. He has done stupid things in the past and has strong opinions based on movies that he may not have ever seen. But just because he may be an opinionated asshole does not mean that he cannot make good films.

Fuck. Everyone knows Lee can make good films. Outside of the recent Oldboy remake, he has had a pretty dang good track record as a director. Chi-Raq is not an exception and is one of the more unique and entertaining films of they year. I love Greek plays, so the idea of doing a modern version of an already scandalous and potentially offensive play is ballsy. Turning most of the films dialogue into poetic rhymes? Ballsy. Making a movie about solving gang violence with sex? Very very ballsy.

Lee has balls. And his balls paid off with Chi-Raq.


13) Infinitely Polar Bear

Good news Mark Ruffalo fans! Infinitely Polar Bear is not the only movie on this list with Ruffalo. I will say there is only one more with his cheesy face and he acts the most eccentric in this film.

To me, this movie was about better understanding bipolar disorder, and to watch Ruffalo act his ass off. He was all over the place, but it worked for the film and it was touching and warm. It is one of the first times in a few years where Zoe Saldana didn’t detract from the plot, but actually helped! Given that two of the main stars are teenage and pre-teen girls, the film is able to keep you on the edge of your seat as almost every character has the potentially to suddenly not act as you would expect. Emotions are all over the place and the best part is that it just makes sense.

And fuck, it probably has the best title on this list at least.

Infinitely Polar Bear

12) Mad Max: Fury Road

Let it be known, if I kept to a standard top ten list, Mad Max: Fury Road would have not made it on this list. That sounds like I am reluctant to praise the film, even though I did enjoy it. It is just a film that has been circle jerked on the internet to death, so it can get a tad annoying.

Fury Road is good. The action is intense and barely stops. Tom Hardy gives one of his many amazing acting performances of the year. Charlize Theron does a good job as well.

Top notch visuals and stunts really drive home the insanity of the universe George Miller created.

Mad Max: Fury Road

11) Straight Outta Compton

Straight Outta Compton ends up with the status of being the best musical Biopic of the year. Sorry Love & Mercy, but you were still close.

I think part of the reason I enjoyed this film so much is that I actually learned a lot through it. I had heard some of the songs and band members before, but I didn’t know how they got started or how they got famous outside of the group. I didn’t know about all the arguments or how other famous rappers came into the picture. It was probably the best way a young white person could ever remotely begin to understand any of it.

And you know what else? It almost made me cry. It almost made me cry three times. Which is technically a stark difference to the next film.

Straight Outta Compton

10)Inside Out

Oh Inside Out, how much I love you.

When I saw this in theaters, I cried three whole times. And one of those three times was during the animated short Lava (which won’t be nominated for any awards, what the hell?!). Given its subject matter of emotions, it is so wonder that the film can make people feel so emotional. It appeals to kids and adults, with old movie references and simple slapstick humor. Hell, even one part gets insanely psychological, but the kids would just write the scene off as weird and not miss a beat.

It is important to note that Inside Out is my only animated film on the list, so it is the obvious pick from me to win Best Animated Film. I think it is no contest. Maybe Shaun the Sheep could be an extreme dark horse.

Inside Out

9) Sicario

Oh Sicario, I feel bad for you Sicario.

Sicario is twisted and beautiful. It is well acted and emotion inducing. It is realistic and sad. It is scary and thrilling. It is so much and more. Well, not a comedy.

After watching Sicario, I knew I had seen something special. I knew it would be nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Supporting Actor for Bencio Del Toro. But now, suddenly, there is no award love at all. At the same time, it isn’t even that far down my list.

This was a hard list to compile, and like other films, I found myself surprised at how “low” certain films ranked, this being one of them. But I loved a lot of movies this year, and Sicario may end up being forgotten like the majority of films this year. So sad, but at least it is the highest thriller on my list this year. It is something!


8) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

I first saw Me and Earl and the Dying Girl back in April and I loved the piss out of it. At that point it was my favorite film of the year and it stayed there for months. Like, literally until September when more good movies started coming out.

And yeah, sure, it fell a few spots, but it is still on the list and still in the top ten.

This movie is about quirky people who love movies and full of awkward conversations between teenagers. Your basic indie bread and butter. But it is also funny, well acted, and a bit unexpected. Did I cry? I just might have. That was a long time ago. But it is the type of movie I want to own and put with my other weird films to show how cool and unique I am.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

7) The Last Five Years

The addition of The Last Five Years on the list should end up being my most shocking. I don’t know if anyone put this film on their top of the year list, let alone do I know how many reviewers actually saw it. It was released limited on Valentine’s Day with an immediate VOD, and then out to buy only a month or two later. I remember the day it came out the Blu-Ray was only $7, which was a steal! It clearly just was ignored by most of the population.

And 2015 was a terrible year for musicals, but the only two shining stars both featured Anna Kendrick. The other being a sequel, not as good as the first.

I don’t even know where to start with The Last Five Years. It only has really two characters and it is told out of chronological order. The female POV is backwards, the male is forwards. The relationship jumps back and forth from bad to good and you know it won’t end well thanks to the very first song. The music is haunting and not pop musical shit. Choruses exist, but they are rare and change up. Many of the notes get belted and are just hard to sing along with, showing dedication to the words chosen.

After I watched it on my computer, I immediately had to re listen to the whole soundtrack, just to go through the emotions again. This is obviously the only musical on the list this year, and I hope 2016 also has some surprises in store.

The Last Five Years

6) The Martian

Science, science, science!

Let it be known that I feel really bad placing The Martian at only number 6 on this list, given how happy and excited it made me feel. Hell, I read the book right after watching the movie. That is how much I liked this film. Then I did that thing where I remembered I technically love all the films on this list, and that 6th is still pretty damn good. And I couldn’t figure out what films to pull back from the top five. Reality sucks.

But thankfully reality has Matt Damon in it to make everything feel that much better. The Martian is the best pro-science, pro-NASA thing to ever exist since the actual moon landing. Yes, it is a film, but it is a film a lot of people had seen and it is pretty accurate on the science front.

And it is entertaining yeah. It is funny, and scary at points. And they made a Lord of the Rings reference. That is automatically cool points, right?

The Martian

5) Spotlight

I told you Ruffalo fans he’d be back. I hope you weren’t assuming it was Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Spotlight is the front runner to win Best Picture for the Oscars and a slew of other awards. And you know what? It totally deserves all of its praise.

Spotlight isn’t about one person giving the acting performance of a lifetime, it is a group of people coming together to give a real performance about real events. It is informative and lets you realize how hard investigative journalism can be. It shows how every cog is important in the machine. No one will be nominated for anything outside of supporting roles, because not even Michael Keaton is the “true” star. Sure he is the easiest to put in that position, but it definitely feels like something more than one individual.

Spotlight is a wonderful film that decided to get details right and tell the truth. Sure, this was all 14 years ago, but like most scandals, the people really only heard the headlines and not the details and specifics. I won’t be mad if Spotlight wins Best Picture, I just personally found four movies this year to be a bit better.


4) Steve Jobs

Sure, after reading my Spotlight blurb, you might find this and the next few placements a bit strange. After all, unlike Spotlight, they are most known for incredible acting performances. But I’d argue they have more than that, they have the whole package as well. This is true for all movies on the list as I gave them all perfect scores.

But let’s talk about Steve Jobs. No not fucking Jobs, that movie was technically bad despite above average acting from Ashton Kutcher. Steve Jobs features one of two incredible acting performances from Michael Fassbender this year, with the other being Macbeth. Unlike Macbeth, you can actually understand this whole movie and the dialogue is the strong point, not the weak point.

Some people may not like Aaron Sorkin‘s writing style of quick rapid fire banter, but those people just have to accept being wrong. The film is like an orchaestra and a war zone of words, displaying in full glory the asshole that Jobs was to his friends, family, and coworkers. And even though every aspect of this film and almost every camera angle is directed at Fassbender, the supporting actors also give top notch performances, especially Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels.

This biography, that includes fictionalized events, gets to the hearts of the real people involved and truly showcases human emotion.

Steve Jobs

3) The Revenant

The Revenant is a perfect storm of parts coming together to make a masterpiece.

First of all, the director is of course Alejandro González Iñárritu, who recently won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for Birdman. We have Leonardo DiCaprio, always the bridesmaid and never the bride when it comes to winning Best Actor. There is Tom Hardy, who had the acting year of his life, as you saw above and didn’t see above with Legend. And last but not least, Emmanuel Lubezki, who won Best Cinematography the last two years with Birdman and Gravity.

Yeah, they were going for something great. And thankfully, this 2.5 hour epic is something worthy and marvelous, especially on the big screen. Leo does a big part in this and I fully believe he deserves the Best Actor award this year. If not him, then look above at Fassbender. They are the only acceptable winners.

I hope Tom Hardy also gets some love as a support, but that category is stacked this year.

The Revenant is beautiful and a bit awe inspiring at times. It is truly a film created by people who take heart in their craft with every bit and piece working to perfection. It is a movie I worry won’t feel truly as amazing on my TV at home, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still one of the best of the year.

The Revenant

2) Room

Room is a hard film to describe and praise, but given its surprise position on this list, I guess I have to try.

I originally avoided Room just thinking it’d be some family romance movie from the cover alone. Of course I was wrong. It is a serious drama/thriller. In fact, the subject matter is so strong that those with especially weak hearts and given today’s culture, I am surprised that it wasn’t splattered with trigger warnings before the first scene.

Room features two very strong acting performances, not just from Brie Larson who is totally going to win Best Actress, but also from Jacob Tremblay, who plays the kid.

And since the movie is basically from his point of view, it allows the movie to remain vague on many of the harsher elements. This allows the viewer to fill in the blanks and jump to their own conclusions, without being spoon fed the answers. It assumes the audience is paying attention, which not a lot of films care about.

Room is a hard movie to sit through, but one that is worth it for all the great elements around it.


1) The Big Short

I saw a trailer for The Big Short before Steve Jobs and didn’t care that much. But alas, people told me that it had Oscar buzz and it was supposed to be a big deal, so I reluctantly bought a matinee ticket two days before Christmas to check it out. And I was blown away.

Much like Spotlight, this movie involves a lot of actors working together to do some of their best work. The film’s biggest leads are Christian Bale and Steve Carell, and although they don’t meet in the film at all, their prescense is felt throughout it, especially Carell. It is well acted and based on a true story.

I can’t attest to how true the movie version is, but they call themselves out when they do something bullshitty, so it seems truthful. More importantly though is it takes a real, very confusing event that affected the entire world and did a pretty damn good job trying to explain it. It made me angry and pissed off at banks and was way more effective than what a documentary could have done. The Big Short makes me want to go out and change the world, so it left me with some of the strongest emotions of any film this year.

It might not be the big winner, but this year it is the big winner of my heart and mind.

The Big Short

And there you have it! The best of the best. Did I leave off anything you think should have been up here? Do you disagree with anything at all? Am I the stupidest person ever? Be sure to let me know and yell obscenities while doing it!

Few fun notes:

No super hero films made the list this year.
Only one animated film, last year had two.
Still only one musical like last year.
No straight horrors made the list this year, although there were a few thrillers.
And most likely my top movie this year will not win Best Picture like the last three before it.

The Big Short

Did you see Margin Call? No? Well, it had a pretty big cast of actors! I mean, Stanley Tucci was in it, so you should see it. That is why I wanted to watch all the Hunger Games movies, but he only had one damn scene in the last one, and it wasn’t even good.

I ended up really enjoying it and found it informative. I didn’t think I was an expert on the financial collapse that America had experienced, but I got the vibe behind it all and understood that something like that could happen.

Needless to say, I didn’t expect more movies about the collapse. Then The Big Short came along. And I didn’t know what to expect. But here is a hint.

Anchorman. Anchorman 2. The Other Guys. Talladega Nights. Step Brothers. Sure, all of these have Will Ferrell in common, but they are also directed by Adam McKay.

Sure, he has directed some TV shows and shorts and random things, but that list was literally every movie he has ever directed. Up til The Big Short. Can a guy who is BFF’s with Ferrell, make a movie serious enough about the economic collapse, easy to understand, and good, without any Ferrell at all?

The Gos
Don’t worry, we have mature Gosling to make the women and men swoon instead.

Back to the crisis. Our story starts in 2005, with one man. Michael Burry (Christian Bale). He is a socially awkward guy, with a fake eye. He had a wealthy inheritance, so he took it to wall street to make his own small investment firm. And you know what he wants to put over a billion of dollars? Into the mortgage market.

Mortgages are safe, everyone pays them, and only people who can pay them end up getting them. That idea has made bankers rich since the 1970s, thanks to something called Mortgage Backed Securities, MBS. The banks loan out hundreds of mortgages in one lump sum to many homes, and when they are that big, they can make some sweet interest and that gets them rich. More or less. But banks got greedy. They started renting to riskier and riskier people. So the chance of these large funds crashing, creating very bad scenarios, is actually getting higher but no one seems to notice.

Except for Burry. He wants to “short” the MBS funds. More or less, that means he is betting against them. He is loaning money to banks, like Goldman Sachs, and paying a monthly premium on it. He is letting them have that money, until these MBS’s break and he will get his money back multiplied many times over. He is the first guy to do something like this and most people think he is insane, but he looked at the numbers.

But there were more players. Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling) is our narrator, and actually works for Deutsche Bank. He finds out about the Burry deal and tries to get more people to follow suit, believing in him and working to get some profit on the side as well. He ends up talking to Mark Baum (Steve Carell), operator of a hedge fund, who crusades against all the bull shit on wall street, and sets out to find just how corrupt this whole thing is.

Also, Charlie Geller (John Magaro) and Jamie Shipley (Finn Wittrock), two Denver boys who grew their own money to 30 million, who see this as an opportunity to finally make it to the big leagues.

We have a ton of people in this movie, including Marisa Tomei, Brad Pitt, Adepero Oduye, Hamish Linklater, Jeremy Strong, Rafe Spall, Jeffry Griffin, Max Greenfield, Margot Robbie, Selena Gomez and Anthony Bourdain.

The man who drums at his desk and doesn’t wear a suit, predicted the downfall of American economy.
This is why I choose to wear shorts as well.

I honestly didn’t think much about this movie before seeing it. I saw the trailer once before Steve Jobs, was intrigued by the cast, but then forgot about it. And hey, I like some of McKay’s films a lot. I just didn’t have any faith with this topic.

Well, fuck me, I was wrong, and this movie was really fucking good. Star to finish, it captivated me about wall street fucking over America.

The acting was on point from all points, especially with Carrell and Bale as power houses. Pitt was very subtle in this film, similar to his role in 12 Years A Slave. But even better about these roles is that no single person was really the main character. The main character was the housing bubble and banks lying to America.

Were these people bad for profiting off the downfall of the World Economy? Sure, kind of. That is morally grey. Because it shows that some of them tried to tell everyone the problem with the numbers, tried to do something about the collusion, but were laughed right in their faces. Even if they wanted to warn everyone, no one would listen because the vast majority of people didn’t understand how any of it worked and were lied too constantly.

This movie made me ANGRY. I felt rage at what was going on, only eight years ago. I am mad that nothing has really changed. I am mad that no one got punished for it and that so many people got fucked over. I am mad that this movie is also a comedy, and that I gained so much amusement at something that ended up being so terrible.

And that is what a great movie can do. It can make you feel things. The Big Short is funny and anger inducing, while also taking a very complicated subject and making one feel like they understand it. I feel like I totally understand everything that happened now and it was something I never really thought about before. The Big Short is good enough that I feel like I could watch it every few months and still enjoy it and still feel those same emotions.

The Big Short wants me to almost get political and start shouting at rich people. One of the years best.

4 out of 4.