Four must-watch money flicks on Net­flix

Mint Asia ST - - Money - BSY ABARI S ARAN


on money of­ten make for great thrillers. The in­side work­ings of the stock mar­kets, what goes on be­hind the closed doors of in­vestor meet­ings or how the Wall Street types make those bil­lion-dol­lar trades or even the bil­lion-dol­lar blunders, are fas­ci­nat­ing to watch. Mint Money lists four films around fi­nance that you can binge watch on Net­flix over the next long week­end. Re­mem­ber, Net­flix is an on­line video stream­ing web­site ac­ces­si­ble through paid mem­ber­ship, start­ing with Rs500 a month.

The Big Short

This is a bio­graph­i­cal com­edy-drama based on the book, The Big Short: In­side the Dooms­day Ma­chine, writ­ten by Michael Lewis. The film shows the jour­ney of a few fund man­agers and in­vest­ment bank sales­men, and how they (sep­a­rately) fig­ure out the mas­sive bub­ble in the Amer­i­can hous­ing mar­ket that even­tu­ally leads to the 2008 fi­nan­cial cri­sis, and make bil­lions of dol­lars by bet­ting against or “short­ing” the boom­ing mar­ket-based mort­gage-backed se­cu­ri­ties.

The good part is that the movie doesn’t run like a com­men­tary; it’s mak­ers un­der­stood that not all view­ers can com­pre­hend fi­nan­cial jar­gon.

It also has cameo ap­pear­ances by Ameri- can singer and ac­tor Se­lena Gomez, Aus­tralian ac­tor and pro­ducer Margot Rob­bie, star chef and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity An­thony Bour­dain, and econ­o­mist Richard Thaler, who sim­plify and ex­plain terms like sub­prime mort­gages, col­lat­er­al­ized debt obli­ga­tion (CDO) and syn­thetic CDO, which were at the heart of the cri­sis.

Bank­ing on Bit­coin

This 2016 doc­u­men­tary by Christo­pher Can­nuc­ciari traces the evo­lu­tion of the dis­rup­tive cryp­tocur­rency bit­coin and fea­tures in­ter­views of var­i­ous bit­coin en­trepreneurs who were early adopters of this tech­nol­ogy, fi­nan­cial columnists, reg­u­la­tors, and other ex­perts. The first half of the movie tries to ex­plain what bit­coin is and how the blockchain tech­nol­ogy—on which cryp­tocur­ren­cies like bit­coin rely—ac­tu­ally works.

The film trav­els back in time to the 1990s when the “cypher punks” move­ment be­gan and gave birth to the idea of hav­ing a dig­i­tal cur­rency. It also tries to un­ravel the mys­tery sur­round­ing who Satoshi Nakamoto re­ally is (the un­known cre­ator of bit­coins). The film quickly drifts away and ex­poses view­ers to the Silk Road on­line black mar­ket, which sold il­le­gal drugs, and con­ducted all trans­ac­tions through bit­coins.

While the doc­u­men­tary tries to show­case the in­ten­tion to have bit­coin as an hon­est cur­rency, it also brings forth the chal­lenges in the sys­tem.

Ul­ti­mate guide to penny-pinch­ing

This is a short 46-minute Bri­tish doc­u­men­tary where the film­maker meets four or­di­nary peo­ple—ju­dith, Re­bekah, Jonathan and Jalaj (yes, an In­dian)—who use un­usual ways to penny-pinch. Ju­dith is a voucher queen and ev­ery visit to the su­per­mar­ket means re­deem­ing a bun­dle, and hardly pay­ing any cash on the to­tal bill. Over the years, she has per­fected the art of us­ing vouchers for al­most ev­ery­thing.

The story of Re­bekah is also in­spir­ing. In a coun­try where the av­er­age bud­get for a wed­ding is £30,000, she sets a bud­get of £1,500 for her wed­ding. Jonathan, on the other hand, has never spent a sin­gle penny on meat and de­pends on road kill for bar­be­cue.

Then there is Jalaj and his wife, an In­dian cou­ple, who use tech­nol­ogy to scan prod­uct bar­codes on their phone and find the cheap­est deals around. They find the best bar­gains at dif­fer­ent stores for their house­hold shop­ping, sav­ing a con­sid­er­able sum.

The Pit

This 2009 doc­u­men­tary delves into the cut­throat world of com­modi­ties trad­ing and takes you right into “the pit”, i.e., the New York Board of Trade (NYBOT), which used the tra­di­tional open out­cry trad­ing sys­tem to trade com­modi­ties. The doc­u­men­tary shows the yelling and the scream­ing and the hus­tling by bro­kers, who try to get the best deals. The trad­ing floor in the movie is an in­tim­i­dat­ing place.

The film has in­ter­views of var­i­ous bro­kers who made it big in the pit. It also ex­plains the as­so­ci­ated risks and how many peo­ple made huge losses by get­ting greedy and bet­ting big on the trad­ing floor.

In 2007, the lives of th­ese traders changed when In­ter­con­ti­nen­tal Ex­change de­cided to buy NYBOT, and move to all-elec­tronic trad­ing. As a re­sult, many left the pit; some moved to dif­fer­ent cities and started trad­ing from home, in a way end­ing the age-old tra­di­tion of open out­cry trad­ing sys­tem.


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