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When Hurricane Katrina ravaged America's Gulf Coast, it laid bare an uncomfortable reality-America is not only far from the world's wealthiest nation; it is crumbling beneath a staggering burden of individual and government debt. Maxed Out takes us on a journey deep inside the American debt-style, where everything seems okay as long as the minimum monthly payment arrives on time. Sure, most of us may have that sinking feeling that something isn't quite right, but we're told not to worry. After all, there's always more credit! Maxed Out shows how the modern financial industry really works, explains the true definition of "preferred customer" and tells us why the poor are getting poorer and the rich getting richer. By turns hilarious and profoundly disturbing, Maxed Out paints a picture of a national nightmare which is all too real for most of us. Written by
We started with nothing, built up a portfolio of over four million dollars' worth of real estate by the time I was 26, lost it all. Because I was stupid. And so I've done stupid with zeroes on the end, I know what it looks like.
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Maxed Out is an eye opening documentary that is long, long overdue. Over the last few decades the credit industry has only become bolder and more aggressive. Maxed Out begs the question: Have they gone too far? Seeing this movie will make you think twice about filling out another credit card application.
As one of the characters early on in the film, I was aware of a lot of the dirty tricks and tactics used by creditors, bill collectors, 'professional debt collectors' and the like. I truly thought I knew about the level of greed this film would expose in the credit industry. I was a debt collector for nearly a decade but left the industry because of the many 'slime balls' indigenous to the profession. It takes a certain kind of person to remain in this industry for the long haul.
What I did not know, was the depths at which some creditors would be willing to sink. Even I was appalled at the actions of some of the biggest names in the lending business, and I thought I had seen every dirty trick in the book. Without going into detail as to how Maxed Out reveals the atrocities committed by the credit industry as a whole, I can only say that you will likely leave the theater totally amazed yet possibly disgusted in the aftermath of Maxed Out's revelations. You'll likely be very surprised to see who has their hands deeply submerged in the proverbial cookie jar.
Although the inevitable comparisons between Maxed Out and Super Size Me will be drawn, one must realize that not everybody eats at McDonald's but everyone has debt. Even if it's just your share of the national debt. Everyone is affected by debt.
A lot has changed since my bankruptcy ten years ago. Thanks to a new change in the bankruptcy laws it's virtually impossible to obtain the level of bankruptcy protection today that I relied on in 1996. The public needs to know what's happening before these modern day loan sharks end up trying to take over the world and turning us all into eternal debt slaves. James Scurlock should be applauded for doing this film. This story would have been very easy 'not to do.'
The most unexpected thing about Maxed Out is its breathtaking resolution on the big screen. A lot of the footage shot for Maxed Out looks spectacular thanks to the genius of Jon Aaron Aaseng. It's almost inconceivable that a documentary about America's credit card debt can be this entertaining, this provocative and this easy to watch all at the same time. See it.
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