If you were a skater growing up in the 90s, Mid90s is a movie made with you in mind. In fact, Mid90s is more like a love letter to the skating scene of the 90s. While most of it is a fairly accurate portrayal of the 90s, there are some liberties taken. Let’s take a deeper dive into the movie with our review of Mid90s!
As the directorial debut for Jonah Hill, Mid90s is an impressive feat. It’s a very minimalist approach to filmmaking. The cast primarily consists of Stevie (Sunny Suljic) and his friends, Ray (Na-kel Smith), Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt), Ruben (Gio Galicia) and Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin). Stevie’s brother, Ian (Lucas Hedges) and mother, Dabney (Katherine Waterston) also play a role in this story of skating in the mid 90s.
The cast as a whole is phenomenal. Led by young Sunny Suljic, each person in this group of friends has at least one standout scene in the film. While many of them are actual skaters in real life, the emotion and raw juvenile nature of their characters just feels real. The script makes them seem a bit more intellectual than they probably would be as young teens, but it’s a minor hiccup in otherwise exceptional performances.
Mid90s follows Stevie as he tries to escape his lackluster home life. His single mother seems more concerned about finding a new man than taking care of her kids. Meanwhile, his older brother is borderline abusive, and won’t hesitate to inflict lasting physical pain on Stevie, or take advantage of his youthful naivety. Stevie turns to a group of skaters who are several years older than he is. Once he befriends them, he must deal with the rapid departure of his innocence.
There’s a lot going on in Mid90s for a film with such a small scope. As we watch Stevie start to fit in with his friends, he goes through a set of obstacles that we’ve all gone through, skater or not. There’s a lot of emotion to be had in some scenes, but the dialogue is so intellectual at times that it feels reminiscent of an episode of Dawson’s Creek. It also impacts some really bad decisions these kids make from time to time. Are they smart or are they kids?
While some of the dialogue does feel a bit too sophisticated for these teenagers, it doesn’t take away from the overall message the movie sends. Everyone has problems, it’s just a matter of how you deal with them. There’s so much to take in while watching Mid90s, but that message is loud and clear. It’s unlikely Mid90s will take home any awards, but it’s an enjoyable film that retraces the steps of 90s kids, especially of the skater variety.
Synopsis: Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 90s-era LA who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
Director: Jonah Hill
Writer: Jonah Hill
Stars: Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges
Runtime: 1 Hour, 24 Minutes