So now you know what MF stands for.
Reaction to this ongoing and consistently galling behavior expresses itself as Occupy Wall Street, or the successful online backlash against BofA's $5 fee, or tomorrow's Bank Transfer Day, when Consumers Union/Consumer Reports advises people to move money out of too-big-to-fail banks and into credit unions and community banks.
Hollywood, curiously, has been slow to react to this populist surge. It's taken them years, for instance, to reference the Madoff scandal with "Tower Heist."
But there are exceptions. Here is our informal list of noteworthy meltdown movies:
"THE OTHER GUYS." (2010)
The best meltdown drama to date, believe it or not. This goofball Will Ferrell/Mark Wahlberg comedy turns out to be about corruption related to a police pension fund that invested in crappy mortgage-backed securities. Looking back at the movie today, you see it's really a clever satire of the outlandish risk-taking that brought our financial system to its knees.
The movie has also become weirdly timely, since cops policing Occupy Wall Street protesters in Manhattan are, through their union, threatening to sue the protesters for potential injuries. Occupy Wall Street has responded by pointing out that the same union has had its pension fund debased by investments in mortgage securities, and has already sued BofA to recover $600 million.
Stay tuned through the final "Other Guys" credits, when director Adam McKay lays out how the mortgage-backed-security scam worked.
"INSIDE JOB." (2010)
The Jeff and Christina Lurie-produced documentary is still the Cadillac of meltdown movies. Every time you see BofA imposing a $5 fee, or reports of J.P. Morgan illegally foreclosing on the home of a combat soldier, you recall director Charles Ferguson's signature line: "You can't be serious."
"AMERICAN CASINO." (2009)
Another documentary, very early in the crisis, that was underrated and little seen. It describes the chaos created by mortgage securities and lax lending standards and shows how the debacle looks from the standpoint of urban homeowners.
"MARGIN CALL." (2011)
This star-studded drama is still in theaters. A day in the life of a Wall Street firm trying to unload its inventory of mortgage securities before the market figures out they are worthless. An unusual trader's-eye view of the crisis, written and directed by J.C. Chandor, whose father worked for Merrill Lynch. Great cast includes Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons and Zachary Quinto.
"CHASING MADOFF." (2011)
Profile of Madoff whistle-blower Harry Markopolos, who tried for years to interest the media and the Securities and Exchange Commission in Madoff's obvious Ponzi scheme. Markopolos believes everybody on Wall Street who heard of Madoff knew he was scamming.
Press/blog speculation about Madoff's operation surfaced as early as 2001, calling into question Andrew Madoff's recent assertion on "60 Minutes" that he was blindsided by his father's admission that he was running a Ponzi. Somehow, Morley Safer failed to raise this issue.
"THE TOWN." (2010)
Economics professor Bill Black wrote a book, well worth reading, called The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One, but "The Town" showed us that putting on nuns' masks and carrying automatic weapons is also a good way.
In one classic scene, the nuns pile out of a getaway car and come face to face with a cop, who realizes he's looking at a robbery but decides to look the other way.
A role that should have gone to former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan.
"LARRY CROWNE." (2011)
The worst of the meltdown movies, hands down. Its message: You've lost the only good job you're ever going to have, so learn to love your benefit-free life as a short-order cook. The New Normal.