It’s hard not to love “Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets,” a documentary that explores the story of how small investors banded together to take on the giant money grab that is Wall Street.
In early 2021, savvy Millennials took their stimulus checks and gave a big F-U to the financial system through organized buying that sent a dying GameStop stock soaring to 1700%. It’s one of the easiest ways some people made major bucks with little effort, and you’ll find yourself thinking with regret, “why didn’t I get in on this?“
The most entertaining part of the film is listening to the young men and women who took a leap of faith and began investing as one of the many “apes,” as they call themselves. These people openly and willingly acknowledge they’re “idiots” and don’t know what they’re doing, but they “YOLO’d” their life savings just to see what would happen. Some were smart and cashed out with millions of dollars in profit. Others, not so much. Some are still in the stock market game, tying up everything they own while still hoping (some unrealistically) for the next mega payday.
It’s important to remember that most of these investors are still kids with a level of immaturity that had them screaming with glee when the stock price hit $420.69. They’re also millionaires who are laughing all the way to the bank.
The group of wannabe investors learned to read, manipulate, and beat the system, then shared their analysis with thousands of others through online forums (the most popular being Reddit’s r/WallStreetBets). It was a way for angry Millennial to stick it to the man, costing short sellers and other financial gurus and companies billions of dollars. Of course, the big boys didn’t like being taken to the cleaners by kids, so you can guess where this story ends.
As the saying goes, something has value because we say it has value, and that’s what happened to the stocks. Once hedge funds were looking at their money vaporizing into thin air because of this everyday investor revolution, they put in stopgap measures that barred the buying of GameStop stock. These new restrictions meant the only option was to sell, which sent the stock price crashing down. Those in power effectively changed the rules mid-game because they had the capability to do so. It’s a crooked system that continues to hurt the smallest investors, and it’s clear that Wall Street will always protect its own.
Directors Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper raise some important issues, suggesting that the U.S. needs to act to correct the loopholes in its financial trading practices, especially when it comes to promoting a system that seems designed to keep smaller investors away from the table. It’s also maddening that it’s possible to short a stock by more than 100%. There’s enough material here to make another full length feature documentary.
“Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets” is a great story that runs the gamut of emotions. It’s exhilarating, sad, and will also make you angry. There’s just something that’s so easy to like about a story of an army of little guys taking down the gargantuan whale.
By: Louisa Moore