Genre: Coming-of-age, skate movie
Favorite character: Stevie “Sunburn”
Favorite scene: The one with the gap
How to view: Rent on iTunes
“Mid90s,” Jonah Hill’s directing gig, is filled with 1990s-centric references, relatable skaters-turned-actors and all the grittiness of adolescence. While the film itself was compelling, it also revealed another layer of my dad to me.
My dad doesn’t usually jump at the idea of watching a movie I’ve chosen with me, mainly because he uses films as cheap thrill entertainment while I seek films with depth and narrative.
In other words, he is usually “The Fast and the Furious,” and I am “Lady Bird.”
Despite this lack of bonding over films, we watched Jonah Hill’s critically acclaimed and highly anticipated “Mid90s,” and it turned out to be unexpectedly enlightening.
Before getting into the semi-cheesy part involving my dad, it’d be only right to talk about how surprised I was by the film. From the “Superbad” dude of all dude movies, I thought Hill would give audiences a comedy presented in the indie A24 style we know and love.
But this movie was — for lack of a more complex word — beautiful.
The film has a way of making you feel strongly nostalgic, whether it’s for a decade you never grew up in or for the gritty stages of young adulthood.
The plot is centered around Stevie, who, looking to escape his suppressive home life, finds a group of skater misfits that guide him through his adolescence. What I loved most about this film was learning that most of the actors, including Sunny Suljic who plays Stevie, were discovered by Hill via their skate videos.
When it comes to the stylistic re-creation of the mid-’90s, I think the film did a pretty decent job (in comparison to what I’ve been told about the mid-’90s, of course).
The costuming in “Mid90s” features fads that we associate with the decade as well as swag that is less familiar to us millennial/Generation Z hipsters. My favorite costumes from the film are Fuckshit’s beanie and baggy T-shirt combinations (and yes, that is his actual name in the movie).
Hill also nailed the portrayal of ‘90s skate culture. Coming from someone who has a closeted obsession with street skate videos, I recognized a lot of references to this specific aesthetic.
Overall, “Mid90s” made me appreciate coming-of-age stories in a way that felt more genuine than other sugar-coated stories I’ve seen in the past. Rather than idealizing the quirks and awkwardness of adolescence, it reveals an often unspoken, repressed part of teenhood that includes an often confusing, sometimes painful journey of self-discovery.
While watching “Mid90s,” my dad made a lot of comments about how he related to Stevie’s story. He would pause the film at times (thanks, TeVo!), provide a little anecdote inspired by the scene, and continue the movie with an appreciative smile on his face.
Aside from the insanely good fashion and soundtrack filled with ‘90s rap and hip-hop classics, he empathizes with Stevie’s desire to be one of the skater boys.
My dad told me how he didn’t like the idea of just being known as a Puerto Rican kid involved with other Latinx kids and groups because, for the most part, in the ‘80s that meant being implicitly affiliated with gang crime. So, like this film’s protagonist, he started to hang out more and more with a very early brand of skate kids.
He told me about how much he learned by talking to his skater friends as he reminisced about the days he would meet them in the nearby park.
I know a lot about my dad, and I know the general story of his life before me. But seeing him react positively to this film, filling me in on more of his childhood, made “Mid90s” more fulfilling to watch. And mainly for its sentimental value, it deserves a 10.