Review: Mid90s

Mia Vandermeer - November 6, 2018

Disclaimer: I missed the first five minutes of the movie.

Disclaimer to the disclaimer: The 79 minutes that I did see were raw, authentic, shocking, nostalgia-inducing, and I highly recommend you purchase some tickets for Jonah Hill’s Mid90s.

Mid90s portrays the coming-of-age story of Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a thirteen-year-old boy struggling to find his place among a new group of skater friends during a hot summer in 90’s Los Angeles.

Within the first five minutes of the film, Hill throws you into a room with four teenage boys smoking cigs and debating one of life’s hard-hitting questions: would you rather eat your mom out or suck your dad’s dick? (Did I say trigger warning?) Some find it funny, some disturbing; regardless, the scene evokes feelings from viewers because of the candidness of the conversation. To my delight, these authentic interactions continue throughout the entire film. Hill’s screenplay doesn’t feel like a script, but rather like an honest account of genuine conversations, somewhat embodying a cinema vérité style. Watching Mid90s is like opening a sealed time capsule for the first time and finding inside real moments between real people.

Though it is early in Oscar season, it’s safe to say Jonah Hill has managed to make the most relatable movie character of 2018 a thirteen-year-old boy in 1990. Stevie’s young age means many of the coming-of-age situations he endures in the film are ones audience members have experienced themselves, allowing viewers to empathize directly with the protagonist. That said, do not confuse relatable for unoriginal. While Stevie’s burning desire to fit-in is an objective we’ve seen in many characters before, the means by which he acts on this objective make for a fresh take on an antiquated story. And once again, part of this is due to Stevie’s young age. At just thirteen years-old, he has few boundaries and ample naivety. Thus, when placed in an environment filled with drugs, alcohol, and girls, Stevie has little incentive to tread lightly. For example, early on in the film Stevie’s eagerness to prove himself to his friends results in him falling off a roof, cracking his head open and knocking himself unconscious. Never fear, however, for Stevie comes to smiling ear-to-ear as his skater friends wake him with some concern and ample acclaim for his—to be frank—ballsy-ness. This audacity which Stevie portrays throughout the film will have the audience keeling over laughing just as often as it will has them breathless in shock. And Hill’s use of quick-cuts between scenes only amplify this effect.

Ultimately, Mid90s is a must-see film and the only way I can truly convey its power is by saying this: I’m nostalgic for the 90’s and I was born in ’98.

So, if you’ve made it this far in the review without purchasing your tickets, 1) I’ve either failed in writing my first movie review or 2) you choose to deprive yourself of a beautiful thing.