Don't misunderstand: I don't spend the week away from the office holed up and away from my family. Quite the opposite.
This year, in fact, the three of us rented a house down at the Delaware shore for a week in mid-August, and spent our days swimming, shopping, walking, and playing miniature golf and Skee-Ball. We ate Dough Roller pizza and even had some Dumser's Dairyland ice cream.
My folks said my little boy later described it as "the best vacation ever."
Even so, I did manage to find some "me" time that week.
Late in the week, after my tired-but-happy son conked out in my arms (smiling to the very last), and I'd tucked him in, I found time to watch two films about the U.S. financial crisis that I suspected would be worth talking about here.
Turns out I was right....
The movies in question are "Too Big to Fail" (2011) and "Inside Job" (2010). They both address the same topic - how the 2009 financial crisis nearly brought down the global financial system (a tacit warning that this could easily happen again). But they attack the topic in totally different ways.
The HBO-produced "Too Big to Fail" (TBTF) is based on the superbly executed best-seller of the same name written by journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin. The film adaptation is actually a scripted "docudrama" - with Hollywood actors standing in for the real people they portray (William Hurt does a great Hank Paulson).
The Sony Pictures-filmed "Inside Job" is a straight documentary, narrated by "Bourne Identity" trilogy star Matt Damon. It features interviews with such financial stalwarts as billionaire George Soros, former Fed Chairman Paul A. Volcker and super-economist Nouriel Roubini.
Both efforts were critically acclaimed: "Inside Job" was a hit at film festivals around the globe, while "TBTF" was nominated for 11 Emmy Awards.
What You Need to Know About Wall StreetBoth films underscore some valuable lessons for investors - the same ones, in fact, that we consistently convey here. Key among them:
- Wall Street is out for itself, and will vivisect anyone who stands between it and a big profit. That goes without saying, I know. But the thing that doesn't get said is that America's individual-investing middle class is the single-easiest (and single-largest) target for most of Wall Street's profit-making schemes.
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