Mid90s is the perfect period piece for the era in which many young adults today grew up in. It truly captures the culture of the decade while giving audiences a great coming of age story.
The film follows the story of a 13-year old boy, Stevie, growing up in Los Angeles in the 1990s. He befriends older skater boys at his local skate shop that take his life in a different direction: sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
Written and directed by Jonah Hill, he used real skaters to fill the roles and does an excellent job of turning them into actors. Their performance is extremely believable for the most part, and they really let the audience in on their world. While of course, some parts fall short, the overall performance of the cast is worthwhile. This is coupled with a great script.
The dialogue between the characters made me feel like I was growing up right along Stevie and hearing curse words and conversations for the first time. It really captured the experience of growing up without cell phones and talking with strangers about something you have in common. While some parts of the story are predictable, it works in a way that makes you feel like an older soul looking at a child make the same mistakes you did.
The music choice screamed 90s. Featuring A Tribe Called Quest, Souls of Mischief, etc., the film’s choice of music built its world while providing emotional support in each scene. However, an aspect of the film that makes audiences either love it or hate it is the cinematography. While it captures the vibe and feel of the 90s, the 4:3 aspect ration shot on 16mm film can be disorienting. While many directors like Tarantino and Nolan have chosen to go wider than smaller on their productions, Hill makes a bold creative choice to go smaller in order to feel like we are watching a video that came right off the characters’ camera. While I respect this creative decision, it does feel distracting at times.
Mid90s is a good film that I recommend to anybody who grew up in the 90s or was invested in skate-culture. Everything from the music, cinematography, dialogue, set design, etc., puts the audience in a believable representation of the decade and culture while showing the escape of a young boy through skateboarding.
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