Short Sighted

“At some point bulls make money, bears make money, and pigs get slaughtered.” -Jim Cramer, Mad Money Host. But why? GameStopped tries to explain this Wall Street truism.

The ABC News special streaming on Hulu looks at why GameStop, a seemingly antiquated company, became the hottest stock on the street.

Gaming the System

In this case, it’s the convergence of a global pandemic, short sighted hedge funds, and retail investors (essentially at-home day traders) with a little extra money and a whole lot of extra time. They started taking deep dives into how the market works, scouring Reddit for tips and paying attention to charismatic market gurus like a guy who goes by the name Roaring Kitty.

It’s these elements that make it more than a boom and bust Wall Street story buried deep in the evening news. This is a human story. And they use a mix of market veterans like CNBC’s Jim Cramer and at-home investors who got caught up in the cash grab.

The breakout star of this documentary is 10-year-old Jaydyn Carr. GameStop was his favorite place to hang so to teach him about money, him mom bought him ten stocks when it was languishing around ten bucks a share. Jaydyn learned all he could about trading, and explains the intricacies of Wall Street terms. He’s great.

Main Squeeze

Along with the players and experts, ABC News Chief Business Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis gives the sprawling story some structure. A couple elements don’t work, including an animated timeline that takes us back and forth over forty years and a quick look at how cool video games were back in the day. Luckily these aren’t super distracting. Rebecca tries to help us understand why GameStop is unique and that, while something like this will probably happen again, it’s not going to be an every week occurrence.

The heart of this is the little investors who tell us why they got involved in the market generally and GameStop specifically. We connect with them even if we don’t like them (one guy wants to remain anonymous so people don’t learn about his new riches). Some are looking to get rich quick. Others were working from home and had time to focus on the markets, while another just wanted to see if he could stretch his family’s money a little further by investing.

Taking Stock

On the whole, at a little less than an hour GameStopped is entertaining, as informative as it can be without making your eyes glaze over, and worth the watch.

The Critic’s Cocktail Recommendation

I’m sipping a glass of Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 23 Year. At $5,000 a bottle, it’s just the kind of thing the hard charging traders drank after hours at Bull & Bear, the old bar at the Waldorf Astoria.

Cheers!

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