Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
Local opening date: 4/13/2007
Reviewed by Martha Baker
James D. Scurlock wrote a book called Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit, and the era of Predatory Lenders, and then he filmed a documentary on the same subjects. I haven't read the book, but I can say unequivocally that, at the very least, everyone, EVERYONE, over the age of 5 should see the film.

The reason? If you didn't do your homework, if you didn't read the fine print, if you didn't take your usual jaded self to the bargaining table, you probably don't know you're being bilked, cheated, lied to and robbed until you're sitting on the sidewalk with your Franklin Mint plates on the curb after you've lost your house.

Maxed Out begins with the voice of a Nevada real estate agent driving her car into the gated community of Seven Hills and commenting on the Italian theme that dominates the development. It includes the stand-up comedy act of Louie C.K. in the persona of a working man caught in the testicle-gripping banking trends of the modern economy, and the stand-up performance of Suze Ortmann, whose ties to the very products she's pushing are cited in the printed matter Scurlock runs under her famous face.

Scurlock includes, as well, an economist stating that the loan-to-value accounting technique is the same one used by Enron. And then there's the shuffle and duck of Julie Williams, the comptroller of the currency for the US government. There are black people about to lose their houses in the South; there are 2 white women whose children got so many offers of credit cards in college that they sunk in debt and killed themselves. There are television money consultants barking away and banks of telephone bill collectors, who tease among themselves between threats to so-called "customers." 

Scurlock's point in all of this, one he makes in his book, too, is that "Twenty-first century banking is as much about building relationships as Wal-Mart is about building communities."  And if you haven't seen Robert Greenwald's documentary, Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price, you may not get the irony of Scurlock's declaration. Banks, today, Scurlock says are in the business of giving everyone credit and then flipping that credit into debt. Thus, banks are pushers, errr, "sales centers,"  for credit cards, credit insurance, car loans, and second mortgages. Their fees, which cost them nothing, are ridiculous, but no one's laughing. For example, fees for returned checks and late payments have increased 200 percent in the last decade.

Scurlock's excellent documentary does for the credit-card and banking industries what recent documentaries have done for the electric car, global warming, and the situation in Iraq. If you don't leave the theater outraged, you weren't really watching.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

July
Friday
10

A Muscle Shoals Music Revue with Amy Black and Sarah Borges

Join powerhouse singers Amy Black and Sarah Borges for a soulful celebration of the incredible music that came out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the 1960s and 70s. Together, with a full band, they will perform classic songs originally...


July
Saturday
11

Brunch at the Stage: Jonathan Ramsey

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


July
Tuesday
14

KDHX Get Down to Business Series: How to Land, and Nail, an Interview

KDHX and Arcade Apartments present the Get Down to Business series at the Stage. Get Down to Business is a series of professional development presentations geared towards the St. Louis arts community. On Tuesday, July 14th, at 7...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

3 users and 11633 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook