Wall Street is not going to like 'The Big Short' movie


The Big Short Jaap Buitendijk Paramount

Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount

Christian Bale plays Dr. Michael Burry, the founder of Scion Capital.

"The Big Short" movie debuted at the Ziegfeld Theater in Midtown Manhattan on Monday evening, and Wall Street is not going to like it.

It's not because the movie makes Goldman Sachs bankers look super obnoxious, or that the whole narrative of the film is: "Blame the banks!"

Wall Street won't like it because ultimately the movie is a poorly-executed explainer of the financial crisis.


I had high expectations going in that it would be one of my favorite Wall Street-themed movies to date, given that it's based on Michael Lewis' best-selling book by the same title, one of the best books about the crisis.

The trailer is awesome. The cast is made up of some of the best actors in Hollywood - Academy Award-winner Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt are all featured. And the acting is stellar.

"The Big Short" is a remarkable, mostly true story that chronicles a group of Wall Street outsiders who saw what no one else saw coming - the housing crash. This group of "misfits" made millions betting against subprime housing by buying up credit-default swaps on mortgage bonds.


But what ruined the experience for me was when the movie would cut to bizarre, comedic monologues where a random celebrity would attempt to explain a piece of financial jargon.

One featured "Wolf of Wall Street" star Margot Robbie in a bubble bath explaining what it means to "short" something.

Another featured celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain cutting up three-day-old fish for a seafood stew while explaining how banks repackaged crappy mortgages into bonds. Even pop singer and actress Selena Gomez made an appearance - alongside economist Richard Thaler - going over how a collateralized debt obligation works while playing blackjack in Las Vegas.


Of course, reading about credit-default swaps and collateralized debt obligations is difficult enough, and even Michael Lewis was surprised that someone wanted to make a movie about the book.

"One problem I distinctly did NOT worry about when I wrote The Big Short was how to write it so that it would become a movie. Who'd make a movie about credit-default swaps? Who for that matter would make a movie of any book of mine?" Lewis recently wrote in Vanity Fair.

But these scenes took away from the story, and while you need to find a fun way to explain something that seems incredibly complicated to the masses, this tactic completely missed the mark for me.


It was still a great night, and except for Bale, all the stars were there.

We've included some photo highlights of the evening below.