Jonah Hill’s Directional Debut Mid 90’s Reinforces Nostalgia

Everyone has something that makes them feel nostalgic, whether it be a show that left an imprint in their head or a toy that followed them throughout childhood. Nostalgia is a wonderful feeling and 90’s kids are one of the many groups of people that experience it. The 90s were known for its slang, fashion, shows/movies, music, and in this case, the skate scene. Mid-90s (directed and produced by Jonah Hill) is a movie that has recently come out that follows some skaters that must make some life decisions as many teenagers must do. Good or bad, that is debatable.

 Mid-90s follows thirteen-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic) in Los Angeles as he struggles with his home life. Stevie struggles with his abusive and disconnected brother and his hardworking single mother.

He later finds his place in a group of misfits who happen to be grungy skaters. The skaters consist of Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin), Ruben (Gio Galicia) Ray (Na-Kel Smith), and F**kS**t (Olan Prenatt), who are all played by first-time actors. While in the group, Stevie gets into trouble while also trying to figure out where he belongs. It follows subjects such as marijuana use, underage drinking, and even trouble with the police. Above all else, it is a story about growing up and coming of age.   

Jonah Hill, known for starring in movies such as Superbad and Moneyball, does an amazing job capturing the 90’s vibe by using Super 16 film and having the movie have a size of 4×3, really giving Mid-90’s that spark, instead of the standard widescreen format most movies employ.

Every corner and turn of the movie has a reference and a reference after that. The music they played (Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, A Tribe Called Quest, etc.) the clothes they wore, and even the way Fourth Grade filmed all of their videos just screamed 90’s. During one of the final scenes where they put together a montage of all the things that the group did, I was immediately excited about the choices and decisions.

They used a fish-eye lens, played the right music, and just did a great job at making the audience forget that they were watching a movie with actors. They felt like real people.

Along with the accurate representation of the time, the acting was sublime. It almost seemed as if the cameras were on without the actors knowing, giving the scenes something that makes the movie feel even more real.

The movie portrays how, regardless of someone’s background,  the group managed to come together. Skating is more than just skating. It’s an escape. It can be an escape from family, poverty, or something that brings glory and Mid-90’s does an excellent job at bringing that to light.  

However, there are scenes that raise questions, such as a controversial scene between Stevie and Estee that occurs at a teen party. They talk for a while and it eventually leads to a more intimate encounter.

Sunny is thirteen-years-old while Alexa Demie, the actor for Estee, is definitely a couple years older than him. Sunny is obviously younger and he even looks like he is closer to 10, so watching a kid that resembles a sixth grader and a woman who looks close to her late teens engage in some questionable activities is pretty jarring. Besides this, the movie thrived in other aspects and overshadowed the negative.

Skate culture is one of many cultures that thrived in the 90’s and Mid-90’s beautifully captures the essence of friendship and teen years. It depicts different people that come from different backgrounds and it shows the development that these teens go through. Overall, MId-90’s deserves 4.5 stars out of five and I highly recommend that you check it out, especially if you consider yourself to be a “skater”.

By Diego Medina, Reporter