Olivia Cattabriga / Art director

Mid90s (2018), written and directed by Jonah Hill, is a film that doesn’t try to be perfect. It is a film that captures more of a specific style or nostalgia about the 1990s without being disingenuous or corny that people really gravitate toward, therefore making this movie more digestible to the viewer.
It tells you everything you need to know straight from the tagline, which is “fall, get back up,” referencing a phrase that the character Ray (Na-Kel Smith) says in the movie when he explains to the main character Stevie (Sunny Suljic) that he hasn’t seen anyone take falls as hard as he has.
The film is another coming-of-age tale, featuring the life of 13-year-old Stevie who ends up befriending some skaters from the local skate shop. Mid90s captures the style and attitude of what it was like to join a skating crew at that time, but also gives us some insight into the life of young Stevie, his aggressive brother Ian (Lucas Hedges) and caring mother Dabney (Katherine Waterston).
Stevie’s homelife is portrayed early in the film as his brother is constantly beating him up for little things like being in his room or showing disrespect .
His mother is the reliable and sensible one in the house, typically breaking up fights and parenting.
Other than those few things his home life doesn’t provide much else than context to Stevie’s mental state throughout the film.
One of the things that immediately caught my attention when the film began was that it seemed to be shot or edited to look like they were using film to give the movie a more realistic look into the viewfinder that leads to the 1990s.
The crop on the movie was the classic aspect ratio of (11:8) instead of the normal standard for today’s movies which is 4k (also known as IMAX).
Another thing that I thought was done extremely well was the casting. Hill and Allison Jones made sure to cast good skateboarders before actors with a lot of them having this as their first film.
I think that if they did the same film with actors instead of skateboarders it would have been a very different film.
By having skaters in the roles it made everything seem way more natural in terms of movement.
This film definitely has its issues.
For example, lazily providing an answer about why Ruben (Gio Galicia) started off treating Stevie like he wasn’t equal toward the beginning of the film. I think Hill should have made the two address the answer to why Ruben suddenly hates the same kid he was trying to mentor.
Another interesting thing is that at a certain point in the film, his mentor goes from Ruben to F***s*** (Olan Prenatt) and Ray, who are on two different sides of the spectrum in terms of goals and ideas.
F***s*** wants to find parties and have a good time while Ray wants to actually make it big in terms of skating.
In conclusion, the film Mid90s gives us a clear look into the life of Stevie and how he is coming into his own and growing up.
He is being shaped by the group that surrounds him and suddenly beginning to stand up for himself and have the confidence of someone who is three feet taller than him.
The film itself looks and has the same feeling as the found footage skate videos that it was based on.
Every scene utilizes the hip-hop music era to help explain and convey the theme of the scene.
Overall, I give this movie an 8/10.

DISCLAIMER: This article is the sole
opinion of Joseph Guzman

Joseph Guzman can be contacted
at jguzman@kscequinox.com

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