SXSW FILM FESTIVAL 2022 REVIEW! Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets, directed by Zack Canepari and Drea Cooper, is a documentary that brings to light one of the more bewildering side scenarios that resulted from the pandemic. A visual challenge to show, but with a fist full of memes, emojis, icons, and extrapolated and retouched footage, comes a story of humans at their best. If you caught a snippet of the frenzy of Wall Street nuttiness with the downfall of GameStop due to the stock being shorted by major investors, you might know more than most.
So, why does this story matter? And how does a random gaming brick and motor chain store, going down the dead-end road of Blockbuster Video, become the epicenter of trading? WallStreetBets (WSB), a subReddit founded by Jaime Rogozinski, was an online public forum where participants discussed stock and options trading. During the pandemic, people were at home on Reddit, with extra money hanging around. Some of them decided to do something different and try their hand at trading under the guidance of WSB. An app, aptly named Robinhood, allowed for commission-free trades of stocks, exchange-traded funds, and cryptocurrencies. Using Robinhood and advice from WSB, a few men and women started to trade. Some knew nothing and others a great deal, and in January 2021, GameStop shares soared 1,700%, causing heads to turn and eventually roll on Wall Street.
“…how does a random gaming brick and motor chain store…become the epicenter of trading?”
“Diamond hands” refers to when someone holds on to stock in hopes of selling it for the maximum possible amount though they are under extreme pressure to sell it. One might consider this an act or non-act in the new financial lane of cryptocurrency and meme stocks. For the average man or woman, the ability to short a stock, or prevent it, was something the titans of Wall Street never considered. But here it happened, creating havoc for some, especially a hedge fund or two.
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets reveals a version of the American Dream, albeit scrappy and sans the Rolex and Tesla. This vision of the U.S. dream is comprised of a school sports and event photographer, a single woman no longer waitressing, and a young family trying to buy their first home. Revealing these Reddit risktakers’ narratives, the film shows how the working man and woman would not take the final numbers as the end, and Wall Street was forced to pay attention.
Canepari and Cooper did an incredible amount of research to share an honest and enjoyable breakdown of how online life becomes very real when it’s your skin in the game. They reveal how WallStreetBets blew up as a subreddit with aggressive trading strategies and a subculture — art imitating life or vice versa. Although overwhelmed by the use of memes, Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets captures a voice and flavor for why GameStop, Robinhood, and WallStreetBets have a meaningful place in history. In addition, it reveals how there’s a vast population of men and women who Wall Street may want to consider as the future of change because no matter what, people have thoughts about investing their money, and real numbers never lie.
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets screened at the 2022 SXSW Film Festival.
"…honest and enjoyable..."