The Movie “Maxed Out”: Not a Movie Review

Real Estate Sales Representative with Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC

 I am being a little facetious when I say this is not a movie review, since it is a movie and I am talking about it. But it wasn’t a blockbuster and won’t be since it did not have anyone famous to promote it. Directed by James D. Scurlock in 2005, I wonder if Michael Moore had been the guiding force behind it if more people would be aware of it.

I first heard about it last summer and immediately ordered it on Netflix. It was spellbinding and made me realize the enormity of the problem. I mean quantitatively. Everyone knows they have too much debt, but it’s like the epidemic with childhood obesity. It creeped up on us. McDonald’s for me as a kid was a big treat. French fries! Not even a whole meal. Fifteen years later, my first credit card I obtained after I graduated from college and had a job gave me a limit of $500. Wow! Now, twenty years later in our fast paced society more families don’t eat at the same time or necessarily a home cooked meal (guilty) and a college student can get a card with a limit of $5000 without a degree in sight or a job. What?

I met a Realtor just last week that asked, “Why can’t the government stop the credit card companies from giving the credit to the students?” A better question would be to ask “Why do some universities and colleges accept money from the credit card companies to hark their wares on campus?”

Rent this movie. Better yet buy it and host a party with friends and family, especially the young and yet to be indebted.

It will be your Oscar choice for life.

P.S. You can read a detailed synopsis of the movie from this site:

Posted by
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Because of that, even clear-cut cases of fraud where victims are protected from liability by consumer protection laws can cause significant hardship
While debit card fraud is always a possibility, being careful where you use it can help keep your checking account balance out of the hands of criminals.
For details on four risky places, please click on the link below.


Comments (22)

Eugene Jones
Weichert Realtors - Somerville, NJ
Thanks for sharing, I will have to check that one out. My daughter, who's a freshman at Rutgers, is receiving mail every other day from credit card companies. They go from the mailbox straight to the garbage can.
Mar 07, 2008 11:43 PM
Audrey June-Forshey
RE/MAX Realty Services - Darnestown, MD
GRI, Gaithersburg, MD

Tara, I am going to check that out.  I believe ,and I am sure it is so, that the credit card companies love for us to be so in debt to them not only to owe them money, but to make us struggle - then if someone misses one payment on one card isn't is so that they all can raise your interest rate? 

Plus all the tricks that they have about initial rates and then what you really get yourself into?  I saw a documentary show - cant remember what show it was 20/20ish show?- anyway, they had an attorney on the show to read the terms of the credit card agreement and even he couldn't make heads or tails of what the agreement said!!

I think educating people about credit will be so much more important not only in our personal future, but also the future of our economy as a nation.  I believe every time someone defaults or declares bankruptcy the credit card companies just pass that along to all consumers.


Mar 08, 2008 01:12 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor

Gayle: You are right, but we as a society say we want an educated populace. Sometimes I wonder. That is why I talk to youth groups (15 - 17 year olds) about the responsibilities of credit. 

Chris: I was in your neck of the woods just last Sunday. I will contact you via e-mail/phone.

Eugene: Great idea since if she doesn't have a job, she can't afford the credit. There is an exception if you keep the card, charge school related expenses (only 30% of the available credit) and build her credit while she is in school. That should be the only exception.


Mar 08, 2008 01:39 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Audrey: Yes, you are right that the interest rates on all your cards can be increased because your credit rating changed based upon the other credit company reporting of the lateness. This is what I know: The credit agreements are not in the favor of the consumer. I now use cash and credit for back up or when I have to pay for something online. That's it. I am saving tons of money and paying off my debt at the same time. A win-win situation.
Mar 08, 2008 01:43 AM
Jeff Fullmer
FM Properties - Idaho Falls, ID
Real Estate Investor/Financier
I have not heard of the movie, probably because its an independent. Tara, do you know when the new FICO scoring changes are taking place?
Mar 08, 2008 02:22 AM
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"
Tara,  I have not heard of the movie, but I will look into it - the credit card debt in this country is scary,  Karen
Mar 08, 2008 07:53 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor

Jeff: FICO08 is already in place, but it really didn't change much. VantageScore is another proposition. I need to investigate what has been written about it already on the Rain. Do I smell a blog? 8-)

Karen: Just as Jeff said independent (which usually means no distribution) does not get seen. 

Mar 08, 2008 08:31 AM
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm
Thanks Tara!  I'll have to check it out!  I have two teenage boys that may need to see this as welL!
Mar 08, 2008 12:28 PM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Don definitely begin the dialog with your sons. Think about how many times you have repeated the no drugs, no drinking, etc conversations. This is no different.
Mar 08, 2008 01:05 PM
Mike Jones
SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) - Tucson, AZ
Mike Jones NMLS 223495


Thanks for posting this blog.  I would never have heard about the movie, and now I want to buy it.  Not with a credit card, though.  LOL

Mike in Tucson

Mar 08, 2008 10:44 PM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Mike: An "aha" moment. Now if we can all get to that thinking!
Mar 08, 2008 11:20 PM
Suzanne Sands
Pavao Real Estate - Somerset, MA
Somerset MA Real Estate

Hi Tara,

Sounds like a interesting movie for a non movie review...;) Anyway, I will check it out. So far so good with a step daughter in college she has already learned that just because you credit cards its not free money. She has a cash only policy! :)

Mar 09, 2008 03:32 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Suzanne: Great for her! Make sure she remembers that same lesson when she graduates. In fact, if she thinks she will be stable for at least 3 years after she graduates...oh, I forgot who I was talking to! 8-) If she doesn't move near you I am sure you know some great Realtors throughout the country.
Mar 09, 2008 03:39 AM
Barbara Hershey
Bath, ME
Realtor, Maine Real Estate
Good Morning Tara!  I've never heard of this movie....but I know exactly what's on the playlist for our next family movie night!  They should show this at every high school...I know I'm going to make my kids watch it.  They should remake it and put Matt Damon in it would be a hit!  Thanks for sharing this!
Mar 11, 2008 12:10 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Barbara: You are right, Matt Damon would get the public to watch. Great you will be watching this as a family. There are some hard facts dealing with suicide so please be prepared to discuss openly with your children.
Mar 11, 2008 04:22 AM
Barbara Hershey
Bath, ME
Realtor, Maine Real Estate
Tara- Thanks for the warning!
Mar 11, 2008 08:02 AM
Shannon Lefevre
John R. Wood Properties - Naples, FL
Shannon Lefevre, PA Your Naples Smart Girl
Ohhh Tara, had it not been for my two older sisters, I would have surely been a victim when my I started receiving all those credit card opps. when I was in school.  Fortunately, I got the "don't be like your sisters" speech....I was hit with the same $500 or $1k but never $5k...geez! 
Mar 18, 2008 02:34 PM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Shannon: Yes, you were lucky that your sisters could warn you. Now I would like parents, friends, the PUBLIC to be forewarned so no one, especially college students, has to go through the trauma of excessive debt.
Mar 19, 2008 12:42 AM
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN
I know its not a movie review per say but a combo movie review with a message that is very timely. You might want to consider posting it in The Movie Club because it obviously had a positive impact on you and may get broader exposure there (where it could also have a larger impact). This warning/advice about credit card debt really does need to be addressed with the youth before they get caught up in it. I remember those credit card comapanies with tables and "free" giveaways set up in the student union at college.
Mar 22, 2008 09:15 AM
Tara Colquitt
Tara Colquitt, The Credit Woman, LLC - Philadelphia, PA
Credit Counselor
Rich: Thanks for the heads up. Of course, I didn't know there was a group for movies. So much information on this site! Wonderful dilemma, isn't it?
Mar 22, 2008 11:35 AM