Movie Review — Generation Zero

by Ryan on April 21, 2010

in Anything Else,Culture,Economy,Nostalgia,Politics,Pop Culture

The good people at Citizens United put together a documentary which tries to explain how we got into this financial mess.  They called the film Generation Zero.  Back in February I wrote a preview based on what I knew at the time.

Well, here is the promised review:

I liked it (and so will you), but had a hard time following some of the terms and phrases.  I had to look up bank “leveraging” for example, to really understand the implications of what was being said, and I pondered if they were saying “put” or “putsch” at times?  I know a putsch is a coup, but what’s a “put?”  I had to look that one up too.  Turns out, according to Investopedia, a “put” is:

An option contract giving the owner the right, but not the obligation, to sell a specified amount of an underlying asset at a set price within a specified time. The buyer of a put option estimates that the underlying asset will drop below the exercise price before the expiration date.

OK.  Other than that, it was good.  The documentary was serious and sober.  It started out kind of slow, but when things got going I couldn’t stop watching — I needed to see what happened next!  Their was no narrator, but various experts appeared to explain each step of the process:  that the WWII generation coddled their kids so much that some of them became self-indulgent narcissistic hippie radicals;  that these “do your own thing” teens morphed into Yuppies who were mostly focused on today without any regard for the future long-term consequences of their actions;  that a government full of Boomers by the 1990s tried setting up a system by which the large banking and finance firms could take risks without consequences; that such behavior led to the ugly mess we have today; and that the “forgotten man” or “Generation Zero” in this crisis is the young or not-yet-born who will have to face the consequences for all our bad behavior — no one seems to be thinking about them.

The documentary all comes together at the end and leaves us without answering one question: what now?  Yet, that is not this film’s purpose.  It’s an accounting of how we got here and aside from a few vocab terms, would be pretty easy to follow.  For a documentary, it’s a solid A.  This should be recommended viewing for ALL members of Congress.

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