By Trevor Jones
Former comedic figure Jonah Hill transitions away from his acting career with his excellent directorial debut, Mid90s, a simple film about teenage skateboarders in 1990s Los Angeles.
A few months ago, I was grazing through my Youtube feed and saw a trailer called Mid90s published by A24. Within the first few seconds I was hooked; the 4:3 aspect ratio and the graininess from the super 16 film looked unique, nostalgic, and gorgeous.
This past weekend, I finally got to see the film, and with high expectations, I was not disappointed. Something I really appreciate is Jonah Hill’s dedication to authenticity. The movie follows the life of 13-year old Stevie, a boy who is desperately looking for friends. One day, while riding his bike, he discovers a group of skaters that bleed swagger. Stevie quickly learns how to skate and is welcomed into the group. The main characters, Stevie (played by Sunny Suljic), Ray (played by Na-Kel Smith), F*cksh*t (played by Olan Prenatt), and Fourth Grade (played by Ryder McLaughlin), are all skaters in real life. Most of them are apart of the rising skate crew, Illegal Civilization. In fact, these guys (excluding Suljic) aren’t even actors; Mid90s was the first feature film they’ve ever been in. On paper, this may sound like a recipe for disaster but in actuality, the skaters’ inexperience in acting led to an incredibly real movie. Their chemistry was great because they were just being themselves.
Mid90s is one of those rare movies that doesn’t have a story arc, and that’s okay. I think Hill’s intention with his debut was to give us a glimpse into what growing up in ‘90s LA was like, and he executed that goal with just an 85-minute runtime.
If you have a couple hours to kill, you should see Mid90s before it leaves theaters.