‘Dumb Money’: Should You Watch the Roaring Kitty Flick as GameStop Fever Returns?

Close followers of GameStop bull trader Roaring Kitty (aka Keith Gill) and the 2021 meme stock/short squeeze saga will already know the ending of last year’s “Dumb Money” from the start: He gives one last signoff on his popular YouTube livestream and stops posting online, potentially forever, following a few extremely crazy months of being in the spotlight.

But the ending didn’t stick. After three years of inactivity, Roaring Kitty returned last month and started posting memes on Twitter, followed by Reddit posts about his GameStop (GME) stock position. On Friday, he reemerged on YouTube for the first time since that 2021 signoff, confirming that he’s still alive—and that he was not, in fact, the actor who portrayed him in the film.

“I’m definitely not Paul Dano,” he said Friday. “I still haven’t seen that movie. I’ve seen some clips.”

Roaring Kitty’s story clearly has not concluded. While the price of GME dipped Friday following his return stream, the trader still holds an enormous position between both stock and options. And his YouTube comeback helped assuage concerns that someone had hacked or taken over his accounts, or that his tweets and posts had just been a big goof.

But if, like Roaring Kitty, you still haven’t seen the star-studded biopic based on his 2020-2021 rise and the broader GameStop meme stock phenomenon, should you bother watching “Dumb Money” now that we’re watching a sequel unfold in real-time?

Definitely. I watched the film for the first time this week via Netflix, just hours before Roaring Kitty’s YouTube return, and it still paints a compelling and entertaining picture of his personality and trading mindset—and can serve as a useful starting point to catch people up as the real-world saga continues.

Based on 2021’s “The Antisocial Network” by Ben Mezrich, author of an earlier book that inspired the film “The Social Network,” “Dumb Money” not only tells the story of Roaring Kitty and his big bet on GameStop but also the Wall Street firms that got dragged into the short squeeze and several of the retail traders who rallied around the meme stock.

It paints a well-rounded and compassionate picture of Gill as a financial analyst who has developed this outlandish thesis about the downtrodden video game retailer being undervalued. He takes it to the masses via a livestream filled with catchphrases and cat imagery. Before long, Gill’s unexpected revolution is threatening the Wall Street giants.

Dano is a celebrated actor, and he captures a lot of the nuance of Gill that we saw in his hours-long livestreams, although the “Fablemans” actor can’t quite match the manic energy of the real deal. Given Gill’s own wild performance Friday, I can’t blame Dano for falling a bit short of recreating that magnetic, live-streamed allure.

Pete Davidson and Paul Dano (from left) in “Dumb Money.” Image: Sony Pictures

He’s complemented by a large ensemble cast that includes Seth Rogen, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Shailene Woodley, and Pete Davidson.

Rogen and Offerman portray prominent hedge fund managers Gabe Plotkin and Ken Griffin, respectively—and while not in the comedic roles we typically know those actors from, the film sharply characterizes them as out-of-touch elites through their lavish spending and callous disregard for retail traders. (The real-life Griffin wasn’t very happy about it.)

Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen (from left) in "Dumb Money." Photo: Sony Pictures
Nick Offerman and Seth Rogen (from left) in “Dumb Money.” Image: Sony Pictures

“Dumb Money” keeps a lively pace, even as director Craig Gillespie tries to cram too much into roughly 100 minutes. There are a lot of threads being pulled here, and the retail investor stories sometimes feel excessive—not to mention overly dramatic. By the time the meme stock trend explodes, “Dumb Money” has to rush to fit in the rest of the big headline-grabbing events without overstaying its welcome.

Even so, “Dumb Money” provides a nuanced and approachable retelling of the chaotic saga. It’s a cohesive recap that balances Roaring Kitty’s big personality with a more human edge, all while keeping things lightweight and entertaining enough for viewers who aren’t financial experts.

Edited by Ryan Ozawa.

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