Jillayne endulges herself.

Films I mention in class related to real estate, mortgage lending, or general ethics.  Movies are just another way of telling stories to teach. Humans have been engaging in story-telling for thousands of years.

Land Titles
Far and Away
This is a great popcorn movie staring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and is loosely based on the life of the grandparents of Ron Howard.  “Land, I tell you, they’re giving it away!”  Yes the U.S. did give land away and toward the end of the film, there’s a great scene showing the Oklahoma Land Races.  Great film to watch with kids who might be studying this time period of immigration and the development of the West.

There Will Be Blood
One of my title insurance students from Bellevue College wrote her final paper on all the possible title insurance problems that take place all throughout this movie.  Extremely well acted.

Fair Housing
Brick by Brick
Hat tip Linda Orozco
A Civil Rights/Fair Housing Story follows three families during one city’s battle for equal housing opportunity and civil rights enforcement.

Not only is this well acted by a much younger Tom Hanks, Antonio Banderas and Denzel Washington, this film helps us understand discrimination because of sexual orientation. HUD is considering adding added sexual orientation as one of the protected classes to Fair Lending and says no FHA lender shall discriminate based on sexual orientation if state law prohibits it. (In WA State, sexual orientation is a protected class.)

An Education
A fine film. Great one to watch with your daughters to teach them how to spot an asshole. Another reason to watch this film is because one of the characters is involved with “blockbusting.”

Raisin in the Sun
A black family tries to move to an all white neighborhood.

Ethics (Consequentialism)
House of Sand and Fog
This movie is required watching for ANYONE considering buying a home at a trustee sale (or tax sale) auction.  Stars Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly and the beautiful Shohreh Aghdashloo. This movie helps us understand that it is very difficult to try and think of all the possible consequences for the choices we make in our lives.

Another movie about consequentialism is Gone Baby Gone which has an absolutely chilling ending that stayed with me for days. The lead character is absolutely sure he’s doing the right thing, with the knowledge he had at the time he had to make the decision…or did he have that knowledge and make a conscious choice to ignore what he knew?


Captain Phillips
A very intense movie that helps us understand the importance of justice. The country from which the pirates come from does not have a stable government…because of the corruption. Without a stable system of justice we are left with moral chaos.

Is it ever okay to break the law and if so, under what circumstances?

Lord of the Flies is an easy weekend read or you can rent any of the movie versions. This is a great book to read with your kid who might be in honors English 8th/9th grade because there’s so much foreshadowing, symbolism, and projection going on.  The story contemplates what happens when there are no rules, or at least, no regulators around to make sure the rules are followed.

Inglourious Basterds
In the opening scene, a man is forced to make a choice between protecting his family and protecting his Jewish friends during World War II.  Morally, humans will go above and beyond for people related to us by blood, which is why arm’s length transactions are important in real estate.

Hotel Rwanda
How far would you go to do the right thing? Would you put your family and  yourself in danger? I found this movie incredibly uplifting for showing how far one person went.


How Laws are Made

Charlie Wilson’s War is a great movie.  You’ll understand why the terrorists are now in Afghanistan and you’ll also see how Quid Pro Quo works in Washington D.C.  (You vote for my bill, and I’ll vote for your bill.) Charlie Wilson saves up all kinds of favors and then cashes them in all at once.

Movies with Real Estate Agent Characters

There’s nothing that can top American Beauty. “I will sell this house today. I will sell this house today.”

I finally saw Glengarry Glen Ross. Reminds me of what it was probably like to work in a sweatshop subprime lender during the real estate bubble.  It also made me wonder if the company owners set up the contest just to beat down the sales people for a better commission split in favor of the owners. Coffee….is for closers only.

The Descendants has a great real estate agent character who acts like a stereotypical unethical real estate agent.

Here is Marlow Harris’ list.

Haunted Houses

As a psych major, I firmly believe there are no such things as haunted houses, only haunted people. There are so many obvious real estate-related haunted house movies that I’m going to skip over them and give you my favorites:

The Orphanage
From the brilliant Guillermo del Torro who gave us Pans Labyrinth. This movie is about a woman who purchases the orphanage where she grew up and moves in along with her husband and young son. Scary things happen.

Another great haunted house movie but personally I don’t believe that there are haunted houses….only haunted people. Another one from Guillermo del Torro that also stars the wonderful Jessica Chastain.

The Others
One of my daughter’s favorites. Great introduction to haunted house movies with no murder/slasher/horror involved.

Movies about the Mortgage Lending Crisis

Margin Call
Historical fictionalized version of the last days of Lehman Brothers…tells the story of the day the subprime lending market imploded. Highly recommend this movie. The question you must ask yourself is—could you do what Kevin Spacey’s character did as the sales manager?

Inside Job
The story of the real estate bubble and the crash (documentary)

The Big Short
Very well acted film that focuses on the four investment bankers who saw the fall of the subprime mortgage lending crisis, placed bets that the subprime loans would begin defaulting. Please see this movie. We definitely needed The Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform Act.

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