Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Americons: So When Does Fannie Mae Get Its Movie?
it is time to get over the whole home ownership fetish. We’re largely over it
here in the City already. It isn’t like there is genuine property ownership in
this country anyway. We just lease from the Federal government. If you
disagree, stop paying your property taxes and tell me what happens. Buying a
home is really just a device to manufacture equity. Just put some money in the
bank instead. Unfortunately, nobody wants to do a boring responsible thing like
that in Theo Avgerinos’s Americons (trailer here), which opens this
Friday in New York.
Kelley is an NFL bust scuffling to make ends meet as a bouncer when Devin Weiss
logically recruits him for his go-go mortgage brokerage. After learning there
is a “t” in mortgage, Kelley starts hawking adjustable rate “Option ARM”
mortgages, because they seem like free money for everyone. His old college
football teammate Theo Jones is the first deal he closes. The fact that Weiss falsified
Jones’ income to get it done only moderately disturbs Kelley. Fortunately,
there is so much partying go on, he hardly has time to worry, until the economy
starts to crest.
Americons wants to be Wolf of Wall Street-lite, but more
lectury. As a result, it delivers enough bikini-clad women and femme fatale realtors to cut a tempting
trailer, but Kelley’s long painful guilt trips are far more representative. Nevertheless,
the lads’ Glengarry Glen Ross tactics
only go so far. At some point, people have to take responsibility for the
papers they sign. Yes, real estate contracts are complicated. That is why
nearly every transaction in New York requires at least two attorneys.
Americons has its talking points,
which Beau Martin Williams and Matt Funke’s screenplay drive home good and
hard. For instance, Weiss cannot simply live high on other people’s money. He
also has to rack up $300K in gambling debts, because betting on sports is just
like the mortgage business. Oddly, it also seems to be pushing the envelope
with its depiction of Weiss’s boss at what is passingly established to be the
very real Countrywide Financial. On a practical level, it seems like a legally
questionable decision to claim Kerry Stein, possibly an identifiable figure,
was using strippers to blackmail colleagues.
Kelley, Williams is a convincing meathead in over his noggin. Providing more
entertainment value, Funke’s Weiss genuinely seems to enjoy acting as
recklessly and rashly as humanly possible. Yet, perhaps the best work comes
from Tim Griffin as voice-of-reason Todd Elliott, who commands viewer attention
with his scoldy dressing-downs.
bills itself as the Great American mortgage
brokering film, but you really shouldn’t be getting your financial analysis
from a movie (check out this Forbes piece and guest post at the Cranford Pundit
for fuller background). It simply is not as deep as it thinks it is or as
grabby as it ought to be. Not really recommended, Americons opens this Friday (1/23) in New York, at the AMC Empire.
Labels: Business in film