Jonah Hill wrote and directed Mid90s, an ode to skate culture that existed in the mid 90’s. The story follows 13 year old Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a young boy living with his brother (played by Lucas Hedges) and mother in California. He has a love-at-first-sight relationship with skating and latches onto a group of local skaters.
The rag tag group of skaters includes Ray (Na-kel Smith), ****ish (Olan Prenatt), Ruben (Gio Galicia), and Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin). The skate crew and Stevie spend all day skating, having ridiculous conversations, and dreaming about improving their life through skating
Mid90s is a gritty coming of age film that showcases skate culture and how crazy and offensive young boys can be. These boys are reckless with their bodies while skating and even is journey and home life without shifting to whatever is happening with his skating friends at home. In a very touching scene, Ray tells Stevie they’re all dealing with issues and what each member of the crew is going through at home. Even with the film focusing on Stevie’s journey, Jonah does a good job framing skate culture and why kids love it so much.
With Stevie being the focus, the story centers on his introduction to skating and home life without shifting to whatever is happening with his friends at home. In a very touching scene, Ray tells Stevie they’re all dealing with issues and what each member of the crew is going through at home. Even with the film focusing on Stevie’s journey, Jonah does a good job framing skate culture and why these kids love it so much.
Speaking of Ray, Na-kel Smith is the breakout star of this film. One of the best scenes, Ray has a conversation with Stevie. The scene is two kids talking = Na-Kel conveys who Ray is during that monologue and why he cares so much for his friends. Na-kel has an energy that flows through the rest of the cast when he interacts with them. It’s shocking to look at his IMDb and learn this is his first film. He has the poise and confidence of a seasoned young actor. Something tells me this won’t be the last time we see Na-kel on the big screen.
Jonah Hill does a fantastic job transporting the audience all the way back to the 90’s. He nails the langue, details, and especially the clothes. During the opening moments, Stevie is looking at his brother’s Jordans and flipping through The Source magazine. Without knowing anything about the film, those images would tell you exactly when this story takes place.
If you’re a fan of music form the 90’s, the films soundtrack is a trip down memory lane. There are classic songs and forgotten 90’s gems sprinkled throughout the film. It’s easy to find yourself head nodding as the film transitions from scene to scene.
Mid90s is a snapshot of a young boy’s life. It shows the joy of finding something you love, forming your own family, and the growing pains that come as you grow into becoming a young man. As serious as the subject matter can be, the film finds plenty of moments to be laugh out loud funny. Stevie’s journey is a universal one that will connect with plenty of young men and women. The vulgar and offensive language may be off putting to some. For people that can stomach it will enjoy this nostalgic trip back to the 90’s.