Why Adam McKay Doesn't Care If The Big Short Pisses People Off

It’s not meant to be an insult when I tell you that Adam McKay’s brilliant and brash new comedy The Big Short is the feel-bad movie of 2015. By documenting the financial meltdown that exposed our nation’s banks as cheats and frauds, McKay – best known for sillier collaborations with Will Ferrell – applies a wealth of knowledge and a dabble of anger to a situation too many people overlooked… and continue to overlook to this day. No one is let off the hook in The Big Short. If anything, the movie deserves credit for keeping its finger pointed at the people who continue to get away with practices that put our country at risk.

Adam McKay is a highly intelligent filmmaker who also happens to know what’s funny about tragic situations. But when I had a chance to speak with him about The Big Short, he understood my sentiment about the movie being "feel bad," yet tried to elaborate on the sentiment. He explained to me:

It’s a strange movie, because it’s, you know, the first 60% of it is pretty fun, like these guys have cracked the code. No one believes them. The banks look stupid. They’re kind of working it, and then you have this moment when they realize the code they’ve cracked is them. It’s everyone. It’s everything and it’s so disheartening, that everything they believed in is kind of BS, that yeah, it definitely has a tragic ending.But, I don’t know. I’ve heard people say that, you know, they’ve never been so entertained, while feeling so horrible by the end. It’s a weird, kind of entertaining movie, with like a tragic lining to it. It’s this odd blend that people have with it, because the audiences we’ve been showing it to, they all really respond. They laugh, it’s energetic. They learn stuff. They dig the style, but then, yeah. It definitely ends with a bit of a mirror coming up on the screen going, ‘Hey, this is still going on, you know? What are we all going to do about it?’ So, yeah, I don’t know. It’s kind of feel good, feel good, feel good, feel a little bit bad.Either way, you’re definitely, you’re not really supposed to feel bad, you’re supposed to feel angry though. Definitely, you are supposed to feel, that’s what I would actually say. I would say fun, entertaining, different style, amazing performances and then yeah, you’re supposed to be left a little angry. There’s no question."

Why stop there? A few week back, I was lucky enough to sit down with Adam McKay’s incredibly talented The Big Short cast, and ask Steve Carell, Christian Bale and Ryan Gosling what their intentions were with this movie. Their answers are enlightening:

The Big Short has been picking up crucial year-end awards from several major critics’ groups. Find out why when it opens in limited release on Dec. 11, then expands on Dec. 23.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.