“Mid90s” stars Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Gio Galicia, Na-kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Ryder McLaughlin, Alexa Demie, and Katherine Waterston. Released on October 19, 2018, the film is about a 13-year-old who befriends a group of young skaters in the 1990s.
The film features the directorial debut of Jonah Hill. The 90s were filled with lots of nostalgic moments and kids riding on skateboards from one location to the next. So it’s no wonder that it gets translated into film from the mind of comedian Jonah Hill. Like most people, I was around in the 90s as a young boy, but I can hardly remember everything that happened during that time, except the part where the decade had plenty of ups and downs that we encountered. I was very interested in seeing this film not just because of Jonah Hill’s first attempt at writing and directing a comedy-drama, but because of the authentic look of the 1990s, from its set designs to the cinematography. So far, the film has been getting some solid reviews from critics, which may show signs of a possible future for Jonah Hill as a director. As for me, personally, it’s not exactly the type of masterpiece I was expecting, but the amount of passion that was put into this film was undeniable.
Ranging from the stellar performances to its flawed, yet honest, storytelling, Jonah Hill deeply understands the nature of what life was like in the 90s. It’s not just about young teens riding on skateboards, getting drunk, or any of that reckless stuff. It’s about them hanging out with one another in order to get away from their personal issues, and it was represented as a coming-of-age story about a young teenager’s journey towards that meaning. Sunny Suljic made an outstanding lead acting debut as Sunny, the film’s main character. For those who don’t know who Suljic is, he’s been in a couple of films as a supporting actor like “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and last month’s “The House with a Clock in Its Walls”. Plus, for all of you gaming geeks out there, he portrayed Atreus via voice work and motion capture in the recent “God of War” video game. Based on what I have seen from him, he’s got a good future ahead of him. The other young actors who played the members of the skater group were pretty likable, except for Ruben (Galicia). He was just unbearable. Same goes to Sunny’s older brother, Ian. No offense to Lucas Hedges, who did a great job with his role, in my opinion, but his character makes me want to punch him in the face despite the fact that he had a reason why he’s being such a violent jerk to Sunny. Another aspect that helped carry this film was the authentic look and feel of the 1990s. Like I mentioned earlier, this is one of the reasons why I wanted to see the film, and I wasn’t disappointed. Not only was the cinematography accurate and slick, but the set designs were simply divine. It’s like viewing a 90s home movie in the 1990s. However, its technical appeal wasn’t enough to make the story look cool towards its audience. I thought the story had plenty of promise to live up to, but there were plenty of moments that could’ve been improved to further develop both the characters and the emotion behind its meaning. On the plus side, it wasn’t as overly provocative as “Assassination Nation”. It was thoughtful and interesting, but to me, it’s far from a perfect experience. I would also like to say that this film isn’t for everybody. It’s an R-rated realistic representation of teenagers in the 90s with constant swearing, drug content, and a couple of scenes that involve Ian punching the crud out of Sunny. If you’re going to the cinema expecting pure escapism, you’re not going to find any in this film. It’s one of those types of films that deal with real life issues, so unless you enjoy that kind of stuff, “Mid90s” may not be your best choice.
Overall, “Mid90s” has the right amount of authenticity and honesty to skate past its flawed plot. Thanks to its endearing cast and its irresistible representation of the 90s, the film proves that Jonah Hill is not just a talented comedian, but also a promising director. It may or may not get some awards recognition, but it might do wonders for those who are feeling nostalgic when it comes to the 90s. If it’s playing at a theater near you and you enjoy watching coming-of-age films, it’s worth a look at.