9 'Big Short' Quotes That'll Remind You How Tragic This Comedy Really Is
The Big Short is probably the most depressing movie this Oscar season — and, yes, I'm including The Revenant in that statement. Sure, it's funny, hilarious even, but as the Big Short quotes below show, what makes this comedy more depressing than any tough drama in the 2016 Oscar race is that we are currently living through the tragedy it explores. The financial collapse of 2008, particularly how big banks and financial institutions contributed to the housing crash of 2007, takes center stage in The Big Short, a film that just picked up five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture.
Writer-director Adam McKay has been praised for his ability to somehow turn such an unappealing and sad topic into a dramedy that audiences flock to. Many critics credit McKay's comedic foundation as the thing that really makes the story of financial ruin in The Big Short so entertaining. It's easy to get caught up in the humor of The Big Short, but funny quips aside, it's actually super depressing to watch. Here are nine quotes from The Big Short that will remind you just how tragic the movie really is.
1. "Truth is like poetry. And most people f*cking hate poetry."
This quote, presented to viewers about mid-way through the film, is credited as being "overheard at a Washington, D.C. bar" and man, is it accurate. Not only does the quote apply to all the bankers and financial analysts who turned a blind eye to the loans and sketchy mortgages that contributed to the financial crisis, but also to the viewers.
2. "It's like someone hit a pinata full of white people who suck at golf."
Vinny Daniel (played by Jeremy Strong) makes this astute observation when he and his hedge fund colleagues walk into a financial convention in Vegas. It's a throwaway line, but an important one. It's hilarious and helps remind viewers just who the heroes of this story are. They're not the little guys going after justice, they're just white men who suck at golf and are good with numbers.
3. "The creation of the mortgage bond market, a decade earlier, had extended Wall Street into a place it had never before been: the debts of ordinary Americans."
This quote from Michael Lewis' original book, The Big Short, is incorporated into the film in narration provided by Jared Vennett (Ryan Gosling). It's so true, it hurts.
4. "No one can see a bubble. That's what makes it a bubble."
An investor says this to Michael Burry (Christian Bale) after Burry tries to tell him that the housing bubble is about to pop. It perfectly illustrates the refusal by financial analysts to see the crash before it happened. Instead of looking ahead, banks were looking towards their profits, and it might have cost everything.
5. "Tell me the difference between stupid and illegal and I'll have my wife's brother arrested."
Jared Vennett is just a fountain of one-liners and sassy monologues in The Big Short.
6. "Look at his eyes, I'll give you a hint. His name is Yang. He won a national math competition in China. He doesn't even speak English! Yeah, I'm sure of the math."
This one isn't sad or depressing, but it just helps demonstrate the twisted nature of the financial world. Jared Vennett making blatantly racist remarks during a business meeting is just so effed up.
7. "I have a feeling, in a few years people are going to be doing what they always do when the economy tanks. They will be blaming immigrants and poor people."
Mark Baum (Steve Carell) delivers this nugget of wisdom at the end of the film. Who knew hedge fund managers could tell the future?
8. "This business kills the part of life that is essential, the part that has nothing to do with business."
After the crash, Michael Burry decides to close his hedge fund, telling his clients that his work is killing "the part of life that is essential." Oof.
9. "If we're right, people lose homes. People lose jobs. People lose retirement savings, people lose pensions. You know what I hate about f*cking banking? It reduces people to numbers — ever 1% unemployment goes up, 40,000 people die, did you know that?"
Finally: this wake up call from Ben Rickert (Brad Pitt), who reminds us that rooting for the characters in The Big Short is rooting for the collapse of the world's economy. There are no real winners here, or at least, there shouldn't be.
Still have faith in humanity? That's what I thought.