Monday, March 21, 2022

Liz Whittemore on Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets (2022)

Still at it, Liz Whittemore of Reel News Daily returns with a financial tale of our times

It was the perfect storm. A global pandemic. An app aspiring to democratize trading. A group of Reddit users stuck at home with stimulus dollars to burn. And a video game company on its last legs. DIAMOND HANDS is the incredible true story of how an army of retail traders rallied around GameStop to rock our financial system. This is the legend of r/WallStreetBets.

SXSW22 documentary Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets finally puts faces (and screennames) to the Reddit users that toppled the system. Sitdown interviews, media footage, and quirky transitions come together to shatter the narrative of the rise and fall of GameStop stock. Even if this was a small sampling of the millions of group members, they had people from all walks of life, all levels of understanding. Trust me when I say it’s not who you think. It was fascinating to discover their motivations. Covid was a huge factor, so some had stimulus checks to spend. Each featured Reddit user had different lifestyles, varying amounts of money, and knowledge. I felt connected to these people. They explained their literal highs and lows along this wild journey. 

What it needed was a breakdown of the basic elements of the market, in the way The Big Short did. I watched the doc with my husband. He happens to be a Wall Street investment banker. He’s read about the GameStop movement, listened to podcasts, and is familiar with how all of this works. I read all the articles as it was exploding in real-time. Back then, I saw it as the little guy taking down the banks (and yes, I own the irony inside my marriage.) I could not help but cheer on a group of people who created a legitimate movement that stunned the financial world. Also, I’m an old-school GameStop dork. I’m no self-proclaimed gamer girl, but I frequented the store in the early 2000s. As I watched the doc, I was admittedly confused by the jargon, even as someone who tracks the market on her phone, alerts included. I felt like I needed more information, even with the tsunami already coming at me.

While some of the cartoonish elements of the transitions were a touch distracting, Diamondhands filled in a lot of blanks for me. I felt like I was no longer on the outside of this story. You’re going to fall in love with the Reddit mastermind. There’s no doubt about it. Am I secretly hoping he figures out another way to rally the little guy? Damn right, I am.

For more from Liz and Reel News Daily go here

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