Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
The Post - Athens, OH
The independent newspaper covering campus and community since 1911.
The Post

‘Mid90s’ is now showing at The Athena Cinema, 20 S. Court St. (via @MTVNews on Twitter)

Film Review: Jonah Hill’s ‘Mid90s’ is a great achievement for a first-time writer and director

Jonah Hill has had one of the most colorful careers in Hollywood. From his crude and raunchy roles in films like Knocked Up and Superbad, which defined his early career, to Oscar nominations for roles in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street, Hill has seemingly struggled to find his niche in Hollywood, just as Stevie (Sunny Suljic) struggles to find his place growing up in Mid90s

Stevie is a 13-year-old boy with a challenging home life, but he finds solace when he starts spending his time with a group of rambunctious skaters. It’s an incredibly well realized cast of characters: Ruben (Gio Galicia), who, like Stevie, just wants to hide from his problems at home and fit in with the older kids in the group; Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin), who is far from the brightest of the bunch, but has an enduring passion for film and his friends; Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt), who wants nothing but to party it up and have a good time with his buddies and can’t help but say, “f---… s---!” every time he pulls off a cool trick on his skateboard; and finally, there is Ray (Na-kel Smith), the unofficial leader and best skater of the bunch who hopes to one day turn his passion into his career and make it out of the hood. 

Thanks to Hill’s sharp, witty — though somewhat over exposition-y — dialogue and those young actors’ wonderful performances, the characters of Mid90s really come to life. The film is quick in explaining each character’s role and motivations, but takes its time developing each of them, resulting in an entertaining cast the viewer can really sympathize with. 

The film manages to balance multiple tones throughout. It is funny, exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time, just like growing up. The film has the audience laughing out loud during some scenes, and feeling the characters’ tension during suspenseful scenes, as well as their sadness during dramatic moments. The film manages to shift in and out of these tones seamlessly, and this is in large part thanks to the film’s music. 

Not only is the score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross incredible, as you would expect from such highly regarded film composers, but the songs Hill hand-selected for the film are great. They add a lot to each scene.

Old-school hip-hop songs from groups like Cypress Hill and Wu-Tang Clan add an exciting energy to the scenes where the crew is skating and causing trouble. Songs like “Gyöngyhajú Lány” by obscure Hungarian rock band Omega and “We’ll Let You Know” by Morrissey add a lot to the feelings of their respective scenes. 

Hill easily could have gone with memorable ’90s classics when selecting the music for the film, bet he never took the cheap route. He doesn’t overplay on ’90s kids’ nostalgia, and when he does play that card, he does so in subtle ways, such as Stevie’s Street Fighter t-shirt, the posters in his brother’s room or a brief glimpse of a Tony Hawk game. 

For all the film gets right, the film does unfortunately suffer in its ending. One of the film’s pivotal dramatic turning points happens very suddenly, and when the credits role, it feels even more abrupt. Though heartwarming, the film’s ending was not as satisfying as one might hope. You could look at it as a glass half full sort of situation and make the point that the movie must have been really good if it left you wanting more — and it was. There was just too much left to be desired for the ending to really hit home. It felt as though there was no real resolution to any of the characters’ storylines.

All in all, though, Mid90s is a very entertaining film and is great achievement for a first-time director. Jonah Hill found his voice with Mid90s and will hopefully cement his place in Hollywood as a writer and director. It is always a great accomplishment when a film can balance so many different tones and seeing now that Hill has the skills to do so, it is exciting to think of what he will be able to accomplish next. 

Rating: 4/5


Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2016-2024 The Post, Athens OH