Entertainment » Movies


by Greg Vellante
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Jan 10, 2019

Jonah Hill's "Mid90s" is an admirable debut film by the actor-turned-writer/director, focusing on a thirteen-year-old named Stevie (Sunny Suljic), a boy who is living in '90s-era Los Angeles. It follows this young boy, sans father figure, who immerses himself in a group of five older male influences who shape his coming of age. When Stevie is accepted into the group and nicknamed "Sunburn," Suljic brings a natural delight to the young character's face. "I made it," we can see Stevie thinking through the half-smile on his face, "I'm cool." But Suljic also brings great nuance to the performance, especially in the moments where we sense an internal struggle between what he believes to be right and wrong.

It's a strikingly accurate portrayal of juvenile masculinity, with coarse language and sexually-explicit wordplay leading these characters' conversations, and also captures the universal curse/ecstasy of youth where one believes they are invincible and incapable of death. It's a slice of life with a minimally complicated story structure: Boy meets friends, boy is influenced by friends, boy learns more about himself through friends.

A worthy debut overall, "Mid90s" showcases a fantastic ensemble cast led by a filmmaker finding his footing. With slight thematic brutalities akin to Larry Clark's "Kids" and subtle nods to the youth-meets-the-big-bad-world story arc of Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous," this film does a lot of things right, yet leaves much to be desired at the same time. It's worth your time for many reasons, but don't be surprised if certain elements leave you wanting more or questioning the decisions made by Hill.

Now on Blu-ray, "Mid90s" includes very limited bonus material, so this is only a worthy addition to your collection if you're a fan of the film. Bonus features include deleted scenes and an audio commentary with Hill and cinematographer Christopher Blauvelt. It's an interesting enough commentary, but behind the scenes footage would have been welcome for a movie with such interesting ambition and origin.



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