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Maxed Out: Good Scared

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Within ten minutes of starting Maxed Out, I began thinking of cutting up my credit cards. The documentary sets out to expose the predatory practices of credit card companies. Like you might guess, the film is full of the pathos of people in over their heads. It’s gut level film that left me eager to do anything to avoid contributing to any credit card company’s bottom line.

Eye-opening moments:

  • The film names the big national banks we recognize and trust that actually front the high-interest storefront cash advance businesses that prey on the poor—and make lots of money doing it
  • Efforts to curb predatory lending by enacting national laws were thwarted again and again by the banks and their lobbyists
  • George W. Bush encouraging the nation to go out and spend. I still remember my disgust when he was saying that, but capture in film brings it all home again

So—solid fun for a documentary and well worth watching. But please watch it with your brain engaged: watch for the rhetorical tricks that lead directly to your visceral reaction. The film presents one side well, and matches up faces and sad stories with the purpose of exposure. I would have liked to hear the other side. Not because I love credit card companies and bankers, but because there are occasional legitimate purposes for credit. I would also like to hear something about personal responsibility.

The film succeeded in scaring me—yet again—about easy credit. Yikes!


Written by kirkistan

July 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

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