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Maxed Out

NR CC

Per its title, James D. Scurlock's virulently angry muckraking documentary Maxed Out examines the many problems associated with escalating U.S. consumer debt.

Starring:
Beth Naef, Mike Hudson
Runtime:
1 hour, 26 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Documentary
Director James D. Scurlock
Starring Beth Naef, Mike Hudson
Supporting actors Louis C.K., Catherine Brown, John Brown, Robin Leach, Luke McCabe, Dave Ramsey, Chris Barrett, Elizabeth Warren, Brandie Broersma, Will Broersma, Bud Hibbs, Janne O'Donnell, Mark Mumma, Trisha A. Johnson, Jon Ballew, Kathy Ballew, David Szwak, Jerry Jarzombek
Studio Magnolia
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video)

Other Formats

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Matthew G. Sherwin HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 3, 2007
Format: DVD
The best things in life are free
But you can keep 'em for the birds and bees
Now give me money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), yeah
That's what I want

Your lovin' gives me a thrill
But your lovin' don't pay my bills
Now give me money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), yeah
That's what I want

Money don't get everything it's true,
What it don't get I can't use;
Now give me money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), yeah
That's what I want

People want money. The credit card moguls prey on consumers who don't read the fine print before they sign their lives away; elected government officials including presidents "borrow" money from Social Security; and the average person wants an endless income. As my grandfather used to say, "Rich or poor, it's good to have money."

Maxed Out is an excellent documentary that, although somewhat disjointed, does do a very good job of exploring and explaining to people--in plain English--the risks of too much debt and the responsibilities they must face when it comes time to pay back that debt. We get fascinating interviews with unsuspecting, everyday people who unknowingly were fooled by creditors to become saddled with more debt than they could handle. We also see examples of families shattered when a member of the family actually kills themselves rather than face the shame of debt or bankruptcy. In addition, look for some excellent insights from Elizabeth Warren from Harvard University and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
The woman looks out at the camera while showing the audience her new home in the making. She tells us how the bank guaranteed her mortgage based on the projected increased value of the house from its original price, after completion. We are told this is the exact same accounting procedure that Enron used.

There are some facts that this DVD makes clear. America, once a country where people were forced to live within their means has become a nation of debtors. Our indebtedness has been encouraged and even exploited by politicians, and credit card companies who tell us they are everywhere we want to be. With the complicity of congress, credit card companies are sapping the financial vitality of the American family.

Almost all politicians have told us that we should continue to consume. If it isn't Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger telling us from the front of an auto dealership that we need a new car, it's George W. Bush who told us after 9/11, to hell with sacrifices--just buy (and get into more debt).

In the 1980's President Ronald Reagan encouraged deregulation. Banks, once unable to operate in other states or float credit cards could now do so. Knowing that we could have something now instead of later was tempting for too many people. As the DVD reveals, the banks found a master marketer who suggested that they have zero percent interest "come-ons."

Then, there was targeting the right population. College kids were especially targeted with free Frisbees, school tee shirts, or any other gimmick that was given just for filling out an application. Calculated in this decision was to lure kids with future income potential and limited current income to make them debtors for life.
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22 Comments 95 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
`Maxed Out' is an informative although disjointed look at personal and national debt in America. There is a decent amount of interviews given by not only regular victims of credit card debt but also from individuals who are educated in this subject such as consumer advocates and financial experts. A bit more organization in the presentation of material would have been better.

Looking past the shortcomings listed above and concentrating solely on the subject of debt, this program reveals some alarming trends by credit card companies, the government, and corporations that want to part you from your money using whatever means they feel are good for them but not good for you.

Whether it is credit lenders trying to exploit college students or companies trying to induce recent bankruptcy filers to again mire themselves in financial trouble, this is just another day at the office for them, business as usual. When it comes to ethics and professional behavior, it really isn't a big consideration in day to day affairs for some credit card companies and banks. As far as collecting on what you owe them, it is commonplace to experience rude and intimidating behavior from some debt collectors. When it comes to gathering information about a person's credit history and buying practices, there is evidence of data manipulation and disregarding people's rights to privacy in financial affairs.

When looking at numbers too, these don't paint a very pretty picture. Over 4 billion credit card offers a year are sent to the public. Credit card fees have risen 160 percent over the last 5 years. Between 1994 and 2004, over 10 million Americans filed for bankruptcy.
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