Friday, November 2, 2018

Mid90s - Movie Review

The Movie: Mid90s

The Director: Jonah Hill

The Cast: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Gio Galicia, Ryder McLaughlin, Alexa Demie

The Story: A thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.

The Review:
This was an interesting first effort as a director for Jonah Hill and I'm sure there is a ton of influence from his own life growing up. There is so much raw energy from the group of teenagers that it feels more like a documentary than a narrative film which to me just added to the intimacy and intrigue. Hill keeps everything really small and close in so you feel like you are right in the middle of the conversations and tagging along with the young men on their adventures. The music is one of the film's major highlights and, for me, was legitimized by '93 til Infinity from Souls of Mischief being one of the first songs you hear. If you don't know, the song is a west coast classic because of how different and innovative it was versus the predominant gangsta rap style that dominated the time period.

Other than Katherine Waterston, the entire cast is filled with relative newcomers including rising stars Sunny Suljic and Lucas Hedges who play perpetually quarreling brothers. Waterston is great as a single mom struggling to raise two boys who are both at a very defiant stage of their adolescence. Hedges doesn't have a whole lot to do other than be mad at his little brother but he finds a way to show a hint of compassion underneath all of the teenage bravado. Suljic is definitely on his way to becoming a big star with this performance as Stevie adding some serious weight to go with smaller roles he has played in The House with a Clock in Its Walls and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

Hill's movie isn't anything like the raunchy teen comedies he first became known for although you will still see some similar attributes woven into the much more serious material. The main things to look for are the conversations and interactions between the characters and I mean all of them not just the boys. There is a lot of depth and meaning to every statement or question and, especially with Stevie, you see him learning and evolving every time he takes in new information or has a new experience. At times the story is predictable and a little bland but is otherwise an entertaining look into the lives of a young man dealing with the prospect of transitioning from adolescence to being a full blown teenager.

Pro tip: Watch for 90's hip hop artist Del the Funky Homosapien who has a pretty cool cameo.

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