Hey hey, a movie that panders to me!
The story looks very simplistic, just a kid who’s trying to navigate through life, hanging out with a questionable crowd and a brother who is less than accepting of his friends.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Sunny Suljic (THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK ), Katherine Waterson (LOGAN LUCKY , FANTASTIC BEASTS , and upcoming films FANTASTIC BEASTS: THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD  and AMUNDSEN ), and Lucas Hedges (LADY BIRD , MANCHESTER BY THE SEA , and upcoming films BOY ERASED  and BEN IS BACK ).
Now for the crew. Writing and directing, making this basically his feature film debut on both accounts, is Jonah Hill. Congrats, sir. Co-composing the score are Trent Reznor (GONE GIRL  and THE SOCIAL NETWORK ) and Atticus Ross (PATRIOTS DAY  and LOVE & MERCY ). The cinematographer is Christopher Blauvelt, known for DON’T WORRY (2018) and INDIGNATION (2016). Finally, the editor is Nick Houy, known for LADY BIRD.
Overall, this looks like it could be good. The trailer isn’t exactly grabbing me, but I’m sure I’ll like it just fine.
This is my honest opinion of: MID90S
Set in the… mid 90s. Stevie is a thirteen year old boy living in a broken home with an inattentive mother, Dabney (Katherine Waterston), and an abusive older brother, Ian (Lucas Hedges). Eventually, he meets a group of older, skateboarding kids and befriends them, getting into trouble, having fun, meeting girls, smoking, drinking, and other things.
Yup, it’s a movie about a little slice of life. And you know what? It really works.
I think it should be said that this movie doesn’t have a plot as anyone would traditionally know it. This movie is just about a kid navigating through life in the only way that he knows how given his environment. It’s not about a skateboarding competition, not about trying to change his surroundings, nothing like that, so bare that in mind if you decide to roll out to see it.
I like how movies these days are normalizing kids as they naturally are. They curse, they smoke, they drink, they do dumb things, and they get in trouble. You know, real life. Okay, obviously what’s portrayed here is a bit of an extreme and likely shouldn’t be seen as a representation for every kid, but it’s still nice to see that kids can act like adults, but have actual character. What I appreciate is that these kids are clearly troublemakers and little assholes, but they’re good kids. They skate in places that are clearly marked for no skating, loiter in gated off areas, but there’s still a support system between them all. They genuinely care about and take care of each other. Sometimes, they’re brutally honest and even don’t always get along. But every one of their bad habits and choices, it’s hard to hold it all against them as they are just kids. Products of their environment and everyone is wrestling with their own struggles. I enjoy the comradery between them all and how real they feel.
About the only thing I didn’t agree with was the “sex” scene between Stevie and Estee (Alexa Demie). I won’t pretend to know how hold Estee is, my guess is sixteen years old would be most likely, but I’ve been a sixteen year old kid and I’ve been around sexually active sixteen year old girls, I couldn’t name a single one the would willingly and proactively have sex with a thirteen year old, no matter how nice he was. Don’t get me wrong, depending on raising, I’m not surprised to hear about alarmingly young kids doing the deed, but even teenagers have some measure of standards. There is a clear divide in maturity between thirteen and sixteen year olds.
Or maybe I was just grossed out and I’m too conservative to see that pan out on screen. Would anyone be surprised?
<<<SPOILERS – highlight to reveal>>> [ Also, I think the car crash scene is a little too forced. I’m aware that dumb teens making dumb decisions is a thing and will likely always be a thing, but it happens so quickly and doesn’t really seem to contribute much to the overall narrative. I suppose you could say that when Stevie is in the hospital, he seemingly patches things up with Ian, or Dabney learns to accept that Stevie’s friends are true friends to him for sticking around. However, I have issues with this. Regarding the Stevie/Ian relationship, the last time we see them together before this scene in the hospital, Stevie was getting beat up and Stevie screams that Ian has no friends and is a loser. Sure, Ian breaks down and cries, but… why? Teenagers with Ian’s level of borderline sociopathic behavior don’t exactly show emotions just because someone said something a little rude. What, that’s all he needed to realize that he was a loser? I don’t buy that. And don’t try telling me that it’s a case of “I almost lost my younger brother, I’m going to be nicer to him,” situation going on because he’s not shown an ounce of caring toward Stevie at all in this movie. Leave it open-ended. And as for the mom being touched by Stevie’s friends’ loyalty, again, the last time she saw them, she was screaming at them to stay away from him because they were a bad influence on her son. What do you think a mother would do if those same kids who didn’t respect her wishes got her son in a car accident as a result of drunk driving while also under the influence? Yeah, nah, that mother is going to wear a teenager’s balls like a necklace. Tell me I’m wrong. ] <<<END SPOILERS>>>
As a directorial debut goes, Jonah Hill certainly surprises with how authentic he makes this movie feel. Yeah, I don’t agree with every single decision, and I can see myself forgetting about this movie as time goes on, but I would definitely like to see Hill in the director’s chair again and see what else he can bring to the table. As a recommendation, I would say this is worth checking out. Maybe you don’t have to rush out to see it, but it’s a solid watch.
My honest rating for MID90S: 4/5
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