Four must-watch money flicks on Netflix
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.
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.