The Big Short shines through honest filmaking

By Josh Svetz  @Svetz17

Image courtesy of

People will do anything to believe a movie is great—just ask any Star Wars fan after the release of The Phantom Menace. They say they like the action, it made them laugh and it had a heartwarming story. But, greatness in film comes down to one outcome: did it move you? At the film’s conclusion, did you sit in your chair just five seconds longer taking it all in? This feeling does not come after every film you see, however, when it happens, there’s nothing comparable; The Big Short accomplices this feat.

Director Adam McKay, the same man who brought us Anchorman, Step Brothers and many other Will Ferrell movies, decided to take on a serious matter, the housing crisis of 2007. To this day, people remain baffled by the event, but The Big Short clears up the ambiguity.

Every actor does a fantastic job including Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson) who makes a comeback after being out of the limelight for a few years. Christian Bale, Brad Pitt and Steve Carell all live up to expectations and give performances worthy of Oscar buzz, especially Carell.

The film begins in a Wolf of Wall Street fashion showing four characters, loosely connected to each other through the idea of betting against the supposedly “rock-solid” housing market, deal with the naysayers and realize the gold mine they have stumbled upon; however, that alone does not make the movie great. In one word, The Big Short’s greatest strength comes from honesty.

Honesty shines through whether through certain scenes where a character breaks the fourth-wall and tells you the real story behind the scene, or from the characters slowly realizing what their profit means for Americans who were clueless to the corruption of these banks.

Many times in films based on true stories, events seem exaggerated, or filmmakers take liberty with their source material. It’s likely that still occurs in this film, but it feels more genuine, as if McKay only took liberties when absolutely necessary. In fact, the fourth-wall breaking and the overall style of shots used in the film gives it a documentary touch.

The film also finds a way to breakdown the complicated mess of the housing crisis, and why the economy failed, in an entertaining and easy to understand way while maintaining realism and showing the pain and impact of the crisis.

In the end, The Big Short shows a global audience how the economy failed. It gives information to the masses and for that alone it’s a must-see. Add in great performances by A-list actors coupled with smart and witty dialogue that keeps you invested, and you get a legitimate candidate for best picture.

It gives the audience all the information possible, but instead of pandering and telling people how they can stop the corruption, it stays honest and realistic, offering no solution.

A sad note no doubt, but an honest one, and in a world where the truth constantly gets ignored, it’s nice to see something that keeps things real.

Oscar Season Preview

By Josh Svetz @Svetz17

September symbolizes things to come. Whether it’s football kicking off or the Fall TV season gracing our televisions, the transition from summer to fall is an interesting time in the world of pop culture. In the movie world, it means Oscar season is upon us. Although the awards are not given out until late February, the majority of the movies in contention come out during the months of October, November and December. That said, let’s dissect the films with the most anticipation surrounding them.

The Danish Girl: Tom Hooper’s latest film about the real life pioneering sex-change of Lilli Elbe may have opened to mixed reviews, but strong performances by Ex-Machina’s Alicia Vikander and last year’s best actor award recipient Eddie Redmayne mean that this film could end up taking home a couple awards at least in the actor department.

The Hateful Eight: Quentin Tarantino’s new western revenge film is generating a lot of Oscar buzz, especially in the supporting actor and actress category. Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh are all in the conversation for supporting actor and actress nods.There’s a good chance that Tarantino could get nominations in the best picture and best director slots, but is unlikely to win, not necessarily based on the quality of the film, but more from his history with the academy.

Joy: At this point, if David O. Russell, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence make a movie together, you should expect the film to be in the Oscar conversation. The trio seem to put out great movies annually, as evidenced by 2013’s American Hustle and 2012’s Silver Linings Playbook. Other than an obvious Oscar nomination for Lawrence, O. Russell’s Joy could find the director in contention for the best director and best picture nominations.

Black Mass: Welcome back Mr. Depp, we missed you. Yes, it looks like the actor that captured our hearts with brilliant performances in films like What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Edward Scissorhands and Blow may be making his return to the elite. Depp’s latest film puts him in the role of James “Whitey” Bulger, the notorious gangster himself. While the film is getting mixed reviews, Depp’s performance is receiving universal praise. Don’t be surprised if the academy favors the comeback story this year and gives Depp the award

Room: You may have not heard of this one at all, because, its buzz is relatively new. The film based on Emma Donoghue’s novel has received high praise from the Toronto International Film Festival, most notably for the performance of Brie Larson. While it’s tough to envision the film taking home a lot of awards altogether, Larson’s performance is getting rave reviews, so don’t be surprised if she takes

Steve Jobs: You knew this was coming. We finally get the Steve Jobs movie we’ve been clamoring for— we aren’t going to talk about that abomination Ashton Kutcher did. Kate Winslet and Michael Fassbender take the lead roles, the latter taking the role of Jobs himself. As much as I believe Depp and Larson could be winners this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if this film takes home a boatload, especially best actor and best actress.

Carol: Todd Haynes’ latest project has caught the attention of the Academy early, but not necessarily for the quality of the film. Actually, the Oscar buzz for this project comes from the excellent performances by the two lead actresses, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. Both Mara and Blanchett should be up for the best actress award and, according to,  Mara is an early favorite to take it home in either the lead or supporting actress category.

Bridge of Spies: Two words: Steven Spielberg. One of the greatest directors of all time is returning to the director chair after a three year hiatus. Since Spielberg’s presidential biopic Lincoln, The acclaimed director has been linked to multiple projects, including Indiana Jones 5. However, with his Cold War inspired thriller Bridge of Spies, Spielberg actually has a legitimate product completed. While the film has not yet been released, the anticipation for it is growing, and I’d expect at least a best picture, and a best director nomination for Spielberg, as well as a best actor nomination for Tom Hanks.

Best of the Rest: Everest, Suffragette, Trumbo, Brooklyn, The Revenant, The Martian, Beasts of No Nation, Spotlight, Inside Out, Sicario

The 83rd Annual Academy Awards had many St. Bonaventure University students and alumni tweeting funny and truthful tweets.

Emily Ciraolo, ‘08, ‘09 alumna, tweeted, “Attention to detail. Has Robert Downey Jr. been talking to @DocDenny?” and won the third “Best St. Bonaventure tweets” graphic contest.

Here is the updated standings below (click here to read the contest’s rules):

T-1) Emily Ciraolo, ‘08, ‘09 alumna, @emilyciraolo; J.P. Butler, ‘07 alumnus, @JPbutler10; Ryan Papaserge, class of 2012, @Papaserge ; Emily Sorokes, class of 2012, @EmilyESorokes; Sabrina Maddeaux, ‘10 alumna, @sabzPR: 30

T-6) Adrian Wojnarowski , ‘91 alumnus, @WojYahooNBA; Mary Best, class of 2013, @Mary_Bestest; Sam Wilson, class of 2012, @samwils: 28

9) Michelle McKernan, class of 2012, @Shell_McKernan: 27
10) Ryan Lazo, class of 2013, @RMLazo13: 24

T-11) Courtney Cobb, class of 2012, @cbcobb; Kelly O’Dell, class of 2013, @Kelly_Odell; Kathryn Dickinson, ‘03 alumna, @KatieBea; Pete Cauvel, class of 2011, @PeterCauvel; Chris Graham, class of 2012, @CWGraham17; Bryan Clark, class of 2013, @clarky71990; Lauren Caputi, class of 2013, @whaddup_lauren; James Torres, class of 2012, @_jamestoress; Adam Kroeger, class of 2011, @sweetillusions: 21

21) Amanda Klein, class of 2012, @inKliened: 10

T-22) Kyle Zappia, class of 2012, @Kzap131; Emilee Lindner, class of 2012, @Emilee537; Kimberly DeSimone, a school of business lecturer, @KimberlyDeSimon; Stephannie Cravatta, class of 2012, @Its_Stephannie: Lindsey Culbertson, class of 2012, @lindseylou12; Ryan Poole, ‘10 alumnus, @Ry_Guy1: 1