Mid90s (2018) – Good Old Days

Coming-of-age, I don’t know but I started to like this type of story. It’s not just about a relatable story or influence of our parents. But, it’s really sticking with its own style which is not just a coming-of-age or grown-up story. This is what makes me wonder with Jonah Hill. Just like other “actor turns into a director,” “Mid90s” became his directorial debut. It’s just another Boyhood-like movie or anything. With its nostalgic impressions, they are probably the greatest of our times. We playing PlayStation, Super Nintendo, and of course, skateboarding. But, what makes this movie great – for me – is not just that sense of nostalgia but we really feel that as a person. We have felt it whether you knew many friends besides playing skateboarding, we really stick with that.

There are rules and resistance. Of course, we don’t want to be kept isolated by people who look at us from below. They only act everything and assume that they are more powerful. Therefore, we try to go beyond the boundary. We come across Sunny Suljic as Stevie or Sunburn. His life wasn’t much good. He was often beaten by his own brother, his mother didn’t pay too much attention to him, and his father who was busy working. Stevie is just a child around the age of 10. He tries to struggle and become a street skateboarder. After seeing a group of teens which is also almost the same as his age, he began to move little by little.

On the other hand, he was so fragile. So many emotional impressions he poured in him. He needs friends but no one. Then, Stevie created a bunch of messed up to paying more attention. He stole his mom’s money to buy skateboards set up, smoke, and hang out with other girls. But what kept Stevie going was the togetherness. His friendship with Ray, Fuckshit, Ruben, and Fourth Grade made him more comfortable than with his family. Besides they hang out and meet other skateboarders, they also share their experiences and feelings with each other. They have a complex life, not just a Stevie.

Jonah Hill thinks that “Mid90s,” as his first debut as a director, will bring many critical responses and controversies. There are so many f****t words in every dialogue and the usage of gay terms becomes the trigger of this film. However, I see this film more than a picture of a child who tries not to say ‘thank you’. Stevie is a weak character but doesn’t want to show any weakness in himself. He is an immature child but wants to show his manhood. There are friends and enemies. There is hatred, there is happiness. Stevie was finally recognized by his friends and moved into the next idiot phase.

“Mid90s” are also not typical films of the 80s or 90s. A typical movie with a child as the main character is normal. Such films always illustrate the stage of an innocent child being a star. Such stereotypes always follow the same format. One of them is a child not recognized by his parents to exceed his limits. From there, the child has finally been approved. Unlike this film. There are stages of a child we must be passed first. It’s about ‘feel that moment’. They are looking for friends from their early-age, growing, progressing, until later separated and looking for their own ways.

This is about a child who is so ‘dependent’ on his friends. When he is ‘dependent’, no one dares to mess with Stevie. Including his brother even though which is one of the scenes when Fuckshit accidentally bumps into Ian. That also works. I once felt what if I was alone, one of the groups were good at daring to threaten me. In fact, they are only a group of children who are easily one-year compared to me. But, you are more adaptable when you have your own group. Moreover, if they are one year older than your age. Jonah Hill is one of the comedians best understands such teenage phase.

Jonah Hill is not pushy all young actors to trying hard in this film. He prefers to ‘let them act’ rather than trying to build its conflict as dramatically as possible. In the end, it worked well. This film impressed out of the Hollywood box. It’s not a ‘from zero to hero’, Jonah Hill lets those young actors improvise. In addition, the 90s element, just like the title, is so thick. I just love the ending that doesn’t offer anything special. For some people, this film is like a passing-by. However, I feel this film is so special for certain people including what Jonah Hill wants to say.

Not that friends are everything. This film as well actually becomes the mindset of a family including a father and mother figure or even a brother to be more critical. In essence, everyone can be a friend. Young actors such as Sunny Suljic, Na-Kel Smith, Olan Prenatt, Gio Galicia, and Ryder McLaughlin were phenomenally playing their respective characters. “Mid90s” is a broken home film with skateboard pop culture of the 90s.

This film is so special. As a comedian, Jonah Hill managed to handle his directorial debut. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross as the music, Martin Scorsese and Ethan Coen were a little helpful, Christopher Blauvelt with his 16mm as the cinematography, and great editing from Nick Houy. The soundtrack slipped a bit because the majority of the music was mostly from existing songs. But, what do you feel about growing up in your neighborhood? Is it bad or the same as Stevie?

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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