Thursday, September 28, 2023

Movie Review: Dumb Money

The new movie “Dumb Money” is about probably the only “David and Goliath” story in the history of the stock market. This true story required a series of highly unusual circumstances to happen at the same time to create an environment that enabled everyday average people (what the rich elite used to call “Dumb Money”) to destroy several billion dollar hedge funds and a few billionaires along the way. This all happened due to the attempt to short sell and put out of business one company GME (Game Stop).

When you short a stock, which means you are selling a stock you do not even own, you are hoping that the stock goes down so you can buy it back and make a profit. However if the stock goes up, or in the case of GME skyrockets, losses can theoretically have no limit. It is the massive shorting of GME, more than any other that changed the stock market forever.

The story of Dumb Money starts and ends with the main character Keith Gill, who in 2021 was a married man with one child and mostly unemployed. Gill used social media and mainly chat rooms on Reddit to talk about his stock purchases and early on, he risked most of his net worth to buy 50,000 dollars of GME stock that was priced less than 4 dollars at the time. All of the reasons why an average and lower middle-class person like Gill would risk so much money on a stock worth less than 4 dollars should have been researched more for this film. At one point later in the movie, Gill just states, “I like the stock”. Then Gill started a podcast and turned himself into a cat-like cartoon character and over weeks and months, the heavily shorted GME stock skyrocketed, only because of Gill’s popularity on Reddit.

At this same time, the new online and free brokerage service called Robinhood started a business. Then millions of Americans received their Pandemic checks, setting the perfect stage for an unprecedented stock market boom for GME and other shorted stocks that cost billions to several prominent hedge funds, with some of them going out of business due to their huge losses.

Unfortunately many people who were doing so well when GME was skyrocketing, missed their chances to get out with a profit, many of them losing money they could not afford to lose. One reason for this was when Robinhood was forced to prevent the selling and buying of GME stock for a period of time, due to pressure from hedge funds that were trying to stave off more losses.

The acting throughout this film is outstanding, starting with Paul Dano as Keith Gill, Pete Davidson as Keith’s brother Kevin, Seth Rogen as the head of hedge fund Melvin Capital Management Gabe Plotkin and Vincent D’Onofrio and Nick Offerman and hedge fund billionaires. Actress Shailene Woodley is also outstanding as Keith Gill’s wife, it was good to see her again in the release of a major new movie.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Dumb Money are a very high 84% and I agree with this rating and recommend this movie all about the insanity of the stock market – the first very good movie of its kind since the “Big Short”, released in December 2015.

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Amazon Movie Review: A Million Miles Away

The new Amazon movie, “A Million Miles Away” is one of the best true-life stories about perseverance I have ever seen. This story follows the extremely unlikely story of a Mexican farmworker Jose Hernandez, played very well by actor Michael Peña from extreme poverty throughout his entire childhood to a dream to one day become a NASA astronaut and traveling to space. An ambition to become an astronaut is extremely unlikely for everyone who applies, but for Jose, given his meager beginning, his dream was always a million miles away.

This film follows Jose’s childhood from being exceptionally bright in school and guided by his school teacher who believed in him and changed his life. For 30 years Jose tried and was rejected by NASA, applying to their astronaut program no less than 11 times, and he was finally accepted in his 12th attempt. Once accepted into the program, Jose had his share of problems along the way, including almost drowning in a NASA practive swimming pool that simulates weightlessness.

Actress Rosa Salazar, plays Jose’s wife Adela and she is very good in her role. Adela had her own dreams of opening her own restaurant, and through it all, supported Jose with his dream as he supported hers. Their relationsjhip is one of the best parts of this very good family film. Adela and Hose had 5 children together.

A Million Miles Away plays like a very well-made Disney film and considering how unlikely Jose’s ambitions to travel into space, this movie is at times hard to belive is true.

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a very high and accurate 89% and I agree with this rating and highly recommend this movie.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Movie Review: Expend4bles

Going into any 4 of the Stallone produced Expendibles movies, you expect them to have no logic, no plot, no plausible story, and just a series of excuses for action to fight, stab, shoot, blowup any number of people. Then the question eventually becomes, when does very stupid become too stupid?

The latest and hopefully last of the Expendibles franchise is easy the dumbest of the 4, with an attempt of “surprise movie ending trickery” that is actually insulting to the audience. Movie trickery, “trying to fool the audience” only works when the logic of the story supports the trick ending. With this very bad and very stupid movie, the end of the story suprise is completely absurd and not supported by the story in any way. With an attempted explanation at the very end that holds no water.

With this 4th installment, only four previous cast members appear in this new version. Jason Statham who plays a character for some reason is named Christmas, Dolph Lundgren, who plays Gunner, and Randy Couture plays Toll Road and of course Sylvester Stallone who plays Barney. Some of the character names are as idiotic as the plots of some of these movies. The new cast includes Megan Fox, who is miscast, Andy Garcia, how much was he paid for this bad role, Tony Jaa, who plays the villain and Jacob Scipio, who is the comic foil in this story, and his role mostly fails throughout this film.

My guess is that so many of the action stars from the previous movies actually read the script and decided – no way. Considering how bad this last movie of the series is, this decision to not make the final movie could be career-saving.

The other problem is that the action scenes are not nearly as good as the previous 3 movies, almost as if they phoned in the simplest action scene ideas. Then decided to save on the budget, with Jason Statham doing almost all the action scenes in the end. With the rest of the cast, stuck in a make-shift prison. What were they thinking with this idea? High paid actors standing around in a prison for most of the last act of this movie?

The Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Expend4bles an extremely low and correct at 17%, My rating is 10%, and a big-time miss on this end of a movie franchise that was completely killed by the 4th and last installment.