We’re all aware of the phrase TLDNR (Too Long, Did Not Read) for posts on the Internet. This is a segment called TLDNW (Too Long, Did Not Watch). It’s for people that just don’t have time to go to the movies. Now, I work pretty hard every year to see the entire list of films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. You probably won’t get to all of them, because I assume you have a social life. Luckily for you, it is my goal in the following weeks to post reviews of the 2016 Oscar-nominated movies so that you can be caught up before the big night.
However, I know even reading a whole review is time-consuming and not for everyone. Many people just look at the star rating and don’t bother with the rest of the review. Even now you’re probably bored of this introduction.
So I’ll make it short and sweet. For every movie I review, I’ll include three sections: 1) A 1-word review, because frankly most people are lazy. 2) A 20-word review so you have things to say about the film when your friends ask if you saw it. 3) An in-depth 500-word review.
TLDNW: 1 Word
TLDNW: 20 Words
Tightly written. Clever as hell. Christian Bale’s feet. Steve Carell yelling into a cell phone. Margot Robbie in a bathtub.
TLDNW: 500 Words
Four out of Four Stars
The Big Short is the smartest movie of the year. It doesn’t sit at my top spot (Mad Max and Room are currently vying for that position), but man is it ever funny. It’s super clever and really well written. It’s got an all-star cast that clearly understands the importance of this film despite how zany it is. Most importantly, Adam McKay director of Anchorman, Stepbrothers, The Other Guys, etc. helms the masterpiece.
It seems I’ve previously misjudged McKay by assuming he can only do goofy Will Ferrell movies. McKay has proven with The Big Short that he not only understands how to make a good movie, but also how to make a topic so dense incredibly approachable. The film focuses on the housing market crash in 2008 and the handful of outsiders that discovered that it would happen. McKay took a chance on a difficult subject and struck gold.
On a plot-based level The Big Short is enjoyable for one reason – you are rooting for the characters on the screen. Unlike The Wolf of Wall Street, which doesn’t have a single likeable character in it, The Big Short presents complex characters struggling with the idea of profiting off of Americans losing their homes. Where Wolf is a frat boy movie, Short is a movie for the other guys (look at that stellar Adam McKay reference). It’s a movie by, for, and about the outsider. You root for the characters instead of hoping for them to fail and you can see that they struggle with their own morality. Steve Carrell is quickly proving to be a force to be reckoned with in the film world and I am excited to see where his career leads.
The film is funny and clever and McKay makes use of comedic actors (Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, etc.) to show something that is incredibly concerning. McKay knows how to direct comedies – The Big Short works its way into our brains as a comedy and then makes us think.
This is another reason why the movie is so effective – it’s deeply concerning. It takes an event that left millions of Americans homeless and presents it as a comedy. Unlike the very sober film 99 Homes, which centers on the same premise The Big Short tackles a huge idea with fast paced, clever dialogue.
Which is perhaps why the film is so successful. It is really approachable. Ryan Gosling’s character even states that Wall Street Guys make finances seem really difficult so that no one else thinks they can tackle them. And he’s right. It’s a really heady concept. Fortunately for The Big Short and for audience, McKay knows this. So, in a true McKay fashion he makes a joke about it. Enter celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, Selena Gomez, and Margo Robbie in a bathtub. Each of these cameos explains a difficult concept in the film and it again sneaks into your brain with a comedic concept.
My last note is this – how did two guys who were in that piece of crap Angelina Jolie movie, Unbroken, end up playing partners in a film as good as The Big Short? I have no idea.
Click here to check out the rest of Spencer’s TLDNW reviews.