Listpost | 2023.11.12

Duck Tales Scrooge skiing money bin

Here is my running ranking of Wall Street/finance/scam films:

1. The Big Short (2015)

A smart/funny drama that follows the handful of people that saw the 2008 Global Financial Crisis coming. This film excels in its explanation of the GFC both at a high level and through its ground-level stories. It also takes a refreshingly honest approach to the 'based on a true story' genre.

2. Enron:The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)

Enron's rise and fall told in a documentary that will make your blood boil. E:TSGitR covers Enron's scammy accounting methods, Apple-like cultishness, and (with audio transcripts) Texan schadenfreude toward California.

3. Margin Call (2011)

An unofficial counterpart to The Big Short, Margin Call tells the story of a Wall Street firm the night it realizes the bubble is popping. It isn't as heavy-handed in its condemnation of investment banks/bankers as you might expect; the characters are complex and personable.

4. The China Hustle (2017)

Investment movie night finally goes abroad with this documentary about the reverse takeover (RTO)/Muddy Waters saga of the early 20-teens. The China Hustle describes short sellers' investigations into the hazards of speculating across sovereign borders.

5. Panic: The Untold Story of the 2008 Financial Crisis (2018)

An unofficial counterpart to The Big Short and Margin Call, Panic is a documentary that focuses less on the causation of the GFC and more on the response. This might be dry to some, but it drips with intrigue if you're into macroeconomics and/or government.

6. The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley (2019)

Elizabeth Holmes once asked the question, "What if we did a Fyre Festival but instead of music and tents it was blood testing?" The answer was Theranos and it became an HBO documentary in 2019. She was convicted in 2022.

7. MADOFF: The Monster of Wall Street (2023)

Ponzis are the vanilla ice cream of scams but Bernie's had more scoops than anyone else. The Netflix docuseries isn't bad, but not as compelling as some of the competition.
In queue

... maybe, I'm not sure how many variations on the Gamestop movie I need to see. Most of the following synopses I grabbed from a WSB comment.

Rogue Trader (1999)

Dramatized recount of the Nick Leeson derivatives market blowup. Similar energy to The Big Short but a bit darker.

The Wall Street Code (2013)

Very insightful documentary on YouTube about high-frequency trading and algorithm-based analysis.

The Hummingbird Project (2018)

Drama about building fiber for HFT; a bit cheesy but entertaining.

Too Big to Fail (2011)

Dramatized recount of how the Fed bailed out the Big Banks.

Quants: The Alchemists of Wall Street (2010)

Insightful documentary about quantitative trading.

Dumb Money (2023)

The theatrical Gamestop movie.

Eat the Rich: The GameStop Saga (2022)

The Netflix Gamestop docuseries

Gaming Wall St (2022)

The HBO Gamestop docuseries
Still to come

Working titles, not yet in production afaik:


Money and boredom

The Netflix Madoff documentary and revisiting some other national figures.

The four horsemen

Ill portents, investment films, and surf photos.


More investment carnage, turf boot carnage, and sci-fi carnage.