Monday, November 29, 2010

Director Curtis Hanson tackles new project for HBO

Curtis Hanson ( LA Confidential, Wonder Boys ) is underway in filming his new financial thriller for HBO, Too Big To Fail. Breaking Bad scribe Peter Gould is adapting the popular Andrew Ross Sorkin novel. The film is an all-star cast with the likes of Paul Giamatti, William Hurt, James Woods, Billy Crudup, Kathy Baker, Matthew Modine, Tony Shaloub, Cynthia Nixon, Bill Pullman, Topher Grace, Dan Hedaya and Michael O' Keefe. Kramer Morgenthou ( Fracture, The Express ) is handling the cinematography. Film is set for a 2011 release.
This project looks like prime worthiness for Globe/Emmy attention, if anything for how controversial the subject matter is. Here is a little synopsis about the book...

Too Big to Fail: The Inside Story of How Wall Street and Washington Fought to Save the FinancialSystem--and Themselves (Paperback)

In one of the most gripping financial narratives in decades, Andrew Ross Sorkin-a New York Times columnist and one of the country's most respected financial reporters-delivers the first definitive blow- by-blow account of the epochal economic crisis that brought the world to the brink. Through unprecedented access to the players involved, he re-creates all the drama and turmoil of these turbulent days, revealing never-before-disclosed details and recounting how, motivated as often by ego and greed as by fear and self-preservation, the most powerful men and women in finance and politics decided the fate of the world's economy.

Here is one book review...

" A lot of the negative reviews of this book are right; the details are exhaustive, the time lines are protracted, there is a lot of minutia and it isn't an exciting action packed story. That's because it is the detailed account of a real life event that confused almost all of America, if not the world, because of the extremely hidden and somewhat self-delusional world of finance. If you want to understand what happened to the American economy in 2008 and understand how the stock market managed to plummet from 14,000 to 8,000 in just a few months, wiping out 15 years of economic growth, you need to read this book.
One of the biggest things I took away from this book is that none of the CEOs of huge multinational financial investment and deposit banks saw this crash coming. These highly paid captains of industry somehow missed the massive correction headed their way and failed to notice that they had poisoned their own well. They were smart enough to exploit any and all opportunities that came their way, including business cannibalism that fed on the weak and incest when necessary to save their own hides. Every major player in this mess was quoted or overheard by someone to say "How did this happen?" or "How did we get here?"
Too Big to Fail picks up where House of Cards left off after the implosion of Bear Stearns and follows the supernova of Lehman Brothers, then moves on the all of the remaining major players running around to save themselves. It's an interesting look into the inner workings of the deals that lead up to the TARP agreement, because this telling of the story makes it look like the Fed, Treasury and the SEC regulators put a gun to the heads of CEOs and made them do a lot of what we have blamed them for. Instead of Henry Paulson being a momma bird bringing home the goods to bankers, he comes off more like a Mafia Don who is upset with his troops for messing up and starts banging heads together before making everyone get back to business. Geithner comes across as a cold arm straightener who relies on the "You won't like me if I get angry" method of dealing with people.

1.) Very detailed information. Some reviews make me think that American adults just can't read something that is this in-depth anymore, which BTW is what made the economic collapse possible. People didn't want to pay attention, but the devil is in the details.
2.) The author makes it clear that he is trying to make this work as authentic and unbiased as possible, and I think for the most part he succeeded. He lets the events speak for themselves and lets the reader make up their mind, which is what good journalism is all about.
3.) This book is critical for understanding the financial melt down we just went through, and gives the thinking person some idea of what can be done to avoid something similar from happening again.
4.) There aren't any monsters of demons in this book, just people that made mistakes or rushed into something without thinking first. The people involved shouldn't be cast as a cabal of villians, but we do need to knock them out of their ivory towers where they think they are financial gods above questioning. If they were really that good they wouldn't have killed the goose that laid the golden eggs for a quick buck.

Conclusion: This is an awesome book with an equally awesome amount of detail. In combination with House of Cards, Return of Depression Economics, the Origin of Financial Crisis and The Post-American World (to understand where all the jobs went and why they aren't coming back) this book will help you completely understand what happened over the last 2 years, why you are unemployed, why your 401K is worth pennies, and if you are lucky enough to have a job why you will never to able to retire. Enjoy! "

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Started to really pay attention to film ( movies ) what was going on in front of the camera, but more interestingly, behind it as well at about as far back as age 10. Motion pictures ( when good ) are a fascinating medium. All the work and prep that goes into filmmaking. It's an amazing process !