Skip to main content

Movies about money -- good and bad

I watched a pair of movies with 'debt' in the title over the past few days. One I liked, the other I didn't like much.

I expected In Debt We Trust to be an activist movie in the style of, say, Michael Moore or the Super Size Me guy. It was more like the latter, without even as much balance as the former.

Danny Schechter takes on the credit industry from the point of view that people who fall victim to crushing debt are hapless victims of an exploitative monster industry. While I don't disagree that Americans in particular have been buried by sometimes questionable practices of credit companies, I felt the film let the consumers off the hook too easily. Yes, people are sucked in by too-good-to-be-true offers which shouldn't be offered in the first place. Yes, people are sucked under by payday loans. But after all the reading I've been doing lately, the reality that spending less than you make is the key to staying afloat is virtually ignored. The film portrays slow death by debt as a virtual inevitability in American society.

I really did like the spooky prescience of the movie's portrayal of the housing bubble. It was made before the recent credit crunch, but predicted it precisely. It said sub-prime lending was the hot hot thing, but pointed out how ludicrous and ultimately doomed the whole scheme was.

All in all, I'd say pass on In Debt We Trust, unless you get a kick out of reinforcing a victim mentality.

On the other hand, I was angered and entertained by Life and Debt, which I found when I was looking for the other movie. I got the titles all mixed up.

Stephanie Black's film about how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have affected Jaimaica taught me a lot. Stuff I didn't know about Jamaica, but more importantly, stuff I didn't know about the IMF and World Bank. I had no idea how those bodies worked and what they do to countries.

The movie felt balanced, yet outrageous. It was entirely sympathetic to Jamaica, and unflattering to the IMF. The World Bank and America come off like an evil empire. Sure, that's fashionable here in Canada, but it appeared to be backed up with fact. It has the same "holy sh!t, do Americans know that their country does this?!" impact that Michael Moore's films do, without the sense "oh, come on, dude, you must be kidding" angle that Moore sometimes brings.

If you're itchin' to get mad with a movie about debt, choose Life And Debt over In Debt We Trust.

Spend wisely, gang.

Comments

  1. I didn't like either of these movies. The both just state very simply that if you can't afford to pay back loans then don't borrow the money.

    I mean come in, in debt we trust starts out with the chick that commits fraud to get a credit card with a limit way higher than she should have and proceeds to rack it up until she couldn't pay it? How stupid are these people?

    I do understand unemployment, death in the family, medical bills etc. That's who bankruptcy is for. If you just buy too many clothes you should be forced to work in a sweat shop at minimum wage until your debt is paid.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

A request, as we reach two years

Wow, long time no write.

I didn't enjoy this past winter. I was certainly in a long slump. Things were very challenging at work. Gordon was awesome, as always, but I was just in a sustained funk from last summer on. And I'm not sure I'm all the way out of it yet. I'm still largely in quiet hermit mode, but have been making progress at resuming social contact. Little dude and I have a very busy summer that will go by in a flash.

This Thursday will mark two years since Amanda died. I still replay the events of that night in my head almost every day. I'd like to not. Sometimes it feels like forever ago, but sometimes I'm right there all over again.

Hey, can I ask for your help with something?

Two years ago, so many wonderful people told me that if there was anything they could do to help .... Well, I don't ask often. And I should've asked more. And I should ask more even now. I'm still not comfortable asking. But I'm asking for this.

I put out a vi…

Meh. Extended Meh.

I haven't posted here in quite a while. There are a few things I haven't done in quite a while. For a while, I've been kind of meh.

In late August, Gordon and I went for the long-awaited trip to Nova Scotia. It was an epic journey, three years in the making. We visited places he'd only heard about. We spent time with friends he hadn't seen in more than a year. We took Amanda's ashes back to the ocean as she requested.


We were there for a week and were on the move almost every day. We put 1000 km on the rental car in between flying there and flying back.

It was excellent, but it was also exhausting. And I found myself different in the weeks after.

Before, I was going out. I was being social. I was busy and optimistic.

After, I seemed to drop contact with almost everyone. I thought I was just tired, then I thought I'd shifted into some different gear of creativity or contemplation. But the months have worn on and I'm still not quite back to where I was. I…

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the weirdness of time and how we feel it.

As of today, my son Gordon has been without his mother longer than he was with her. The length of time Amanda has been gone is now longer than the length of time we were a family of three. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long, but that dangblasted calendar tells me it’s almost three years. I have not said a word about it to G, but tonight, for the first time in a long time, he pulled out the Missing Mummy book for bedtime.

Today was my last day in broadcasting for a while, as far as I can tell.

I spent the past five years as Program Director at Newstalk 1290 CJBK in London, Ontario. And in recent years, I was also the noon-hour show host, afternoon news anchor, a commercial voice guy, TV news promo voice guy, and more.

Also in the past five years, I’ve bought a house, endured renovation mayhem, …