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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 11, 2015 12:37am-1:05am EST

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[ cheers and applause ] this is "nightline." >> tonight, student slums. it's a dangerous reality for some students at some of the most elite institutions in this country. their rent may be cheap in this off-campus housing situations. but these places are overcrowded, rat infested in some cases downright dangerous. tonight the investigation that shocked a city and the horrific conditions that nearly cost one student his life. plus, left at the altar. it happens in movies like "section"sex and the city." how do real-life jilted brides mend after such public outbreak? a furious, hilarious take on the worst financial crisis of most of our lifetimes. tonight we're with the all-star cast, christian bale, steve carell, ryan gosling. >> oh, no. >> why is ryan being teased?
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>> number one layover. 24 hours. hello, reykjavik. oh, so that's how you spell it. what are you looking at? oh, cool. hungry. fish, anyone? hello, seventh waterfall of the day. hello, duck boat. hello, sheep? oh right! itchy icelandic sweaters and no foreign transaction fees. sweet. one last look. ahh. triple points. and we're off. what's next? wherever the journey takes you, carry american express gold. it's more than a card. it's the gear that gets it done. good evening. we begin with students at some of the most prestigious and expensive universities in america getting an education they and their parents did not
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it involves rats, fire hazards and lawsuits. geo benitez reports from boston on what some have called the college rental ghettos. >> a lot of fun times on this block. >> absolutely. >> reporter: like many college kids josh goldenberg was excited about his newfound freedom after moving off campus in his sophomore year at boston university. >> i just think about the major impact that that place had on my life. >> reporter: while the house looks immaculate today, josh says back in 2012 it was very different when he lived there. >> it looked brokendown. it was a mess. not ept kept up. >> reporter: josh's father david was alarmed too. >> the place was clearly not maintained. but we didn't want to hover and helicopter too much over josh. >> reporter: josh was asleep in his cramped attic room when a fire broke out on a january morning in 2012. house is on fire? >> yes, completely. >> reporter: josh was trapped in the attic as the house was engulfed in flames.
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he jumped from his third floor window. >> i hit the ice. in the driveway. >> reporter: josh spent two weeks in a coma. and he says he still suffers the effects of major head trauma. >> i still have double vision because of it. >> reporter: while the cause of the fire was never determined, josh sued the landlord, alleging the house was illegal, unfit, and unsafe. the case was settled out of court with no admission of wrongdoing. in boston, there are thousands of college kids like josh who decide to move into off-campus housing, looking for independence or to save money on sky-high dorm costs. but all too often students say they can be taken advantage of by unscrupulous landlords. >> they must have been like soldering. >> reporter: many say here in boston they're subject to decrepit, rundown housing. >> this is our bathroom. disgusting. >> reporter: these disturbing images were captured by the "boston globe," part of an investigation that scandalized the city over a year ago.
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they're bigger than my kittens. >> i saw it crawling out of the toaster. i almost threw up. >> it was pretty appalling, the conditions that we saw these students living in. >> these kids are spending a lot of money to go to expensive schools. and yet some of them are living with rats and bedbugs and locks that don't lock. >> it doesn't stay shut. >> reporter: of course, many of us remember living in some pretty grungy digs during our college days. but as "the globe" investigation uncovered the real concern is potential safety issues. and landlords who are allegedly slow to fix the problems. >> we used the stove to heat our place during the winter since the heating didn't work. >> this door, there's no lock that works on it, it goes directly to the outside. >> we tried to open the window yep. blocked. smoke detectors that weren't there. electrical wires exposed. students were crammed into dangerous conditions.
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the "globe's" footage, two landlords declined to comment. another claimed he was unaware of the problems and said he would find a better property manager. >> should they be living in conditions like that? >> absolutely not. the mayor has been adamant he wants the student experience here not to be about their living residence. >> boston fire. >> we're getting people out right now. >> reporter: the wakeup call came after a tragic case of deja vu. just a year after josh's accident, the house across the street at 87 linden also caught on fire. because of careless smoking. over a dozen students crammed into the house desperately trying to get out. two of them on the upper floor jumped to a lower rooftop to escape the flames. but in the corner attic room, one student is trapped. >> anyone know where sunlin is? >> reporter: the boston senior never made it out. the body of the bright, promising marine science major was later found in her room.
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what were you thinking? that poor girl? >> that poor girl. i was thinking, that could have been me. >> reporter: as the victim's brooklyn family and friends gather in grief attention turned to the conditions in the house. no criminal charges were filed but her family sued the property owner anna belokurova, alleging the house lacked a second upstairs exit and had a faulty fire alarm system. the manager declined to talk to abc news but her attorneys strongly deny the conditions of the house were connected to lee's death. >> the city's very ineffective at monitoring and policing landlords. >> even if the kids are savvy enough to complain to city authorities they can delay repairs and string it along until the kids are ready to move out. >> reporter: now rundown, off-campus student housing isn't just a problem in housing. >> this area of tiles -- >> reporter: it was easy for us to find students complaining about living in squalid conditions in philadelphia, another big college town.
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look closer and you see a mouse trap. you see a glue pad over there. right next to your bed. >> next to where i sleep, where my headrests. >> reporter: in philly some kids are fighting back against their land lords in the way you'd expect -- online. >> a lot of times we feel like -- like we have to. >> reporter: ofo and felix, two enterprising recent grads, started a sort of yelp for college housing. students can rate their landlords, share their horror stories, and post prominent warnings to tenants. >> what needs to happen is people just not accepting those things. >> take a gander at that. that is mouse feces. >> reporter: temple university student anjelica gibbs says her landlord ignored her repeated requests to fix the problems. >> there's nothing here. as you can see, chain and lock that's not a way out. >> reporter: while the average student might give up in sheer frustration, not this aspiring
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>> this isn't a safe place to be. it's again unacceptable. >> reporter: at first anjelica tried the tactic of withholding rent. she says when that failed she took her battle to city hall. filing a complaint against her landlord. housing inspectors found a number of safety violations, including missing carb mikds detectors, a broken fire alarm box, inproperly barred windows. anjelica's gambit worked. while the landlord blamed the tenants for the problems and said they didn't pay rent, she did fix the violations. >> the ultimate goal is to help someone out so they don't have to deal with it. >> reporter: meanwhile in boston -- >> dozens of city inspectors have been canvassing -- >> reporter: there are signs of positive change in the wake of the "globe's" investigation. >> we have found 120 housing violations. >> reporter: the new mayor has led a crackdown where every single student dwelling is being inspected. sadly, many students have already received a costly education in the harsh realities
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>> anyone know where binlin is? >> reporter: her death a lesson they'll never forget as her young life was cut brutally short in the attic of a boston rooming house. i'm gio benitez in boston for "nightline." next, how these jilted brides found happy endings after their fiances called off the wedding. later, we ask the star-studded cast of "the big short" how they turned a financial crisis into a comedy.
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it's supposed to be the best day of your life. you plan for months, write your vows, put on a white dress. what happens when your fiance gets cold feet in the brides you're about to meet suffered the nuclear version of a broken heart when they were left at the altar. tonight how they managed to turn that heartbreak into something new and better. here's abc's linsey davis. >> reporter: kylie's celebration with her bridesmaids didn't take place at her wedding. kylie, shown here with her mom, said she was supposed to get married on november 7th. >> everything was done. i was getting ready to, you know, just touch up with the deejay. you know, just make sure en everyone was on board, remembers the time. everything had gone out. we were ready. >> reporter: everything planned, paid for, ready to go. >> well, i was ready. >> reporter: then it all came crashing down when she says her fiance called off the wedding with a text message.
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feelings and i don't know if i can do this, i don't want to marry you. that's kind of the gist of what the text message said. >> reporter: kylie's ex-fiance couldn't be reached for comment but according to kylie, he ended it just one week before the big day. leaving her and her bridesmaids all dressed up with no place to go. so instead of walking down the aisle, kylie walked a 5k color run in her wedding dress. >> instead of, this is my pretty white dress i'm going to walk down the aisle and marry the man of my dreams, now it's making a new memory for it. >> reporter: the video went viral. >> i think people really took to the story because i turned such a negative, devastating thing and i turned it into something positive. >> reporter: we've all seen brides being left at the altar on the big screen. in movies like "sex and the city."
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>> reporter: but in real life, calling off a wedding is often even more painful to watch. let alone experience. to call what these women are going through traumatic may even be a bit of an understatement. >> for women who are in this position, they have a hard time with trust. and then there's the humiliation factor. so when someone breaks up with you and you have to let everybody know, there's a self-esteem issue that can happen, understandably so. >> reporter: a canceled wedding can also be quite costly. the wedding industry is a more than $50 billion business. with weddings becoming more and more elaborate, thanks in part to reality tv shows like "say yes to the dress." that's a gorgeous gown. it's $25,000. >> reporter: the average american wedding costs more than $30,000. and when a wedding doesn't happen, much of that money is gone for good. >> if the wedding is called off by a certain date, you will get
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but after a certain date, unfortunately, most vendors won't budge and you will end up losing the deposit. >> oh, yes, deposits were lost. i mean, it was a week before the wedding. >> reporter: stacy becker can empathize. they'd also planned a big, elaborate wedding. >> we had our venue, i had my dress, brides maid dresses, our band, our photographer. >> reporter: she says her fiance called it off. >> there were nights i would spend crying my eyes out in bed. i couldn't get out of bed. going to work and having to put on a normal face while i'm dealing with people. then at home i'm just crying, sobbing. >> reporter: turns out canceling a wedding can be almost as hard as planning one. >> i was getting on the phone with vendors, having to explain while i'm completely devastated, over and over again. this is what happened, is there anything we can do to work this out? >> when a couple calls off the wedding the first thing they can do is hit their family and freps know. they can enlist family members,
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them spread the word. >> reporter: stacy managed to get her deposit back for the reception. but many can't. like a family in california who ended up donating the canceled wedding reception dinner to the homeless. >> i think that there are women that creatively handle a very difficult situation and it's all about how you react. >> reporter: stacy penned her heartache into a book called "knot the one." now she says she's found her happily ever after with someone else who's grateful for the broken-off engagement. >> he threw away the winning lottery ticket. so i'm happy, i like him. the wheels on the bus go round and round >> reporter: they're now married with a baby girl. her former fiance, who she calls brad in her book, said in a statement, stacy becker was my best friend and i loved the time we shared together. unfortunately, at 26, i was not ready to make a forever commitment. i am happy to have realized that
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both in better places because of it." kylie's heartbreak is still fresh and reminders of her wedding are everywhere. >> these turned out well. >> and you made these. >> reporter: she plans to get the dress cleaned and donated to charity. >> it actually turned out really pretty. >> reporter: despite her despair, kylie says aside from the message coming over text, the breakup was actually for the best. >> i'm not mad at him for calling off the wedding. i thank him. because now i'm able to find true happiness. i thank him for that. i really do. >> reporter: for "nightline," i'm linsey davis in new york. next, they're huge stars in their own right. why did steve carell and ryan gosling find it so intimidating to work with christian bale in
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the golden globe nominations came out today. one movie that got four nods is an unlikely comedy about the housing collapse that led to the great recession of 2008. tonight we're going to hear from christian bale, steve carell, ryan gosling, and the director about how they turned an apocalyptic and oar cane financial yarn into a laugh-fest. here's abc's chris connelly. >> reporter: in a comedy fueled by outrage, "the big short" gives christian bale the chance to work out his character's
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>> it's very therapeutic, banging the crap out of those things. we did demolish those drums when we were filming, almost took a crew member's eye out. >> reporter: bale, ryan gosling, steve carell playing wall street outsiders who saw last decade's multi-billion dollar economic crash coming, it was a bestseller. >> how many times did you read the book? >> twice. almost back to back. i needed to understand what i had just read. it felt -- it's such a great book but it's a very complicated subject matter. >> reporter: challenging enough to grasp the details of michael lewis' epic account of the 2007 collapse of the housing market. harder for writer/director adam mckay to make "the big short" into a people-pleasing ensemble laugher. >> what was fun about playing someone like jared? >> he is loosely based on a real person. and yet we had to take a lot of liberties because he became the narrater and also the tour guide
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>> i can feel you judging me. that's palpable. >> what did you enjoy about that? you get to turn to the camera every now and then. >> i really liked it. yeah, i'd like to do more of that. i grew up on i do saved by the bell." >> this is horrible. i just meant to get a car. if i don't find a way out of this, my life is over. >> zach morris was my acting icon when i was a kid. i thought i'd be doing more of it, honestly. >> reporter: trying to follow christian bale? oi. >> before we started i'd call adam. how's it going? and he said, oh my god, christian bale is incredible. i'm back in l.a. going, oh, no! i'm in a movie with christian bale, are you kidding me? >> you know, everyone had that reaction. because the first two weeks were all christian. and the crew and all of us fell in love with christian. stupidly i would tell these guys that. steve's like, remember --
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spearheaded the project and
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