For the first time in forever, to coin a phrase, an original film about finance could claim the Best Picture Oscar this coming Sunday. Much of the field looks eerily similar to us – there’s Leonardo di Caprio showing gritty resolve despite betrayal and wilderness conditions (The Revenant), Matt Damon showing gritty resolve despite abandonment and Martian conditions (The Martian), and Tom Hardy showing gritty resolve despite cruelty and post-apocalyptic conditions (Mad Max). But The Big Short walks a far more innovative path, largely by assuming its audience actually wants to understand key financial concepts. To do so, it enlists celebrities to explain critical concepts in riveting parables, like when chef Anthony Bourdain depicts collateralized debt obligations via day-old seafood stew, which is no longer “old fish” but transformed into “a whole new thing.” Meanwhile, over at the poker table,…

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Fans of superpower action movies often divide into clear ideological camps. Some swear by the shield-tossing Captain America, others by the acrobatic Catwoman, and still others by the techno-gadget-using Ironman. Those with superpowers tend to be solitary creatures, and while there is no shortage of team-based comic books to adapt into blockbuster films, many movies portray the superpower-wielding hero working alone. That’s no big surprise, of course – it has to be tough to explain violent fits of rage (not to mention turning green), secret web-spinning tendencies, or the ability to lift cars with only a pinky after never having joined a gym. Even when the mighty protagonists need a little assist, it’s very clear who runs the show and who is the sidekick. But now, thanks to aggressive director Zach Snyder, we are about to witness typical action film-making…

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