Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Maxed Out: Good movie about bad credit

Just over a month ago, I wrote a post about In Debt We Trust, a movie about the credit industry:

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 didn't recommend that film, but I do recommend another movie I saw this weekend.

I heard Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders (2006) mentioned on The Dave Ramsey Show podcast. (Not to be confused with Maxed Out, the 'Til Debt Do Us Part wannabe show on Canada's Dubya Network.)

Maxed Out is the movie I wanted In Debt We Trust to be.

It shares the same themes, and even some of the same content, but it's carried out in a much more engaging fashion. The personal stories are touching. The facts are outrageous. The concepts are explained with clarity. And it stays interesting. It brought out a sense of "holy crap, that shouldn't be happening!" instead of eliciting a reaction of "oh, shut up already."

You might catch it on American cable, or check your local rental outlet ... or BitTorrent if you're into that.

2 comments:

  1. PBS had a great series along these lines: The Secret Life of Credit Cards http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/credit/ (you can watch it online)

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  2. Thanks for the tip, mr. cheap! Love your blog!

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