by Ayana Antoine ’20
“Mid90s” connects the lives of four boys from differing backgrounds, the only constant being their love for skateboarding. Written, directed and produced by Jonah Hill, the movie captures the life of a 13-year-old boy named Stevie whose home life consist of his single mother (played by Katherine Waterston), who struggles to take care of Stevie, and his older brother Ian (played by Lucas Hedges). The setting of the movie is in Los Angeles sometime between 1990 and 2000 but never gives a clear understanding of what year exactly with the intention by Hill of capturing the feeling of 90s culture as a whole.
Stevie goes to a local skate shop and meets four boys, Fourth grade, Fuckshit, Ruben, and Ray. Stevie, desperate to fit in with his new friends as most coming of age kids are, decides to pick up skateboarding as a way to get closer to them. Although Stevie was not good at skating, he quickly fits in with the group and even earning the nickname him “Sunburn.”
The film itself focuses on the the summer of Stevie’s 13th year. At no point does the film shy away from controversial topics or profane language, and it fully captures the life of a boy navigating through early adolescence. Several different sexual slurs and references were used, which added a more realistic touch to how teenage boys actually talk to each other, especially in the 1990s when many slurs were socially accepted.
Every aspect of Stevie’s character is accurate to that of an impressionable preteen. Stevie gradually picks up new behaviors as he is exposed to smoking, drinking and his first sexual experience. Stevie who is convinced he has the worst life tells Ray about his troubles, and Ray responses by telling Stevie that the other boys have it worse.
Throughout the movie the four friends bond in a roller coaster of events that never at any point loses the interest of the audience. Hill never shies away from depicting everything from underage drinking to different forms of abuse. Whereas many coming of age movies would have become cheesy or highly unlikely, “Mid90s” remains realistic not only to the situation but the times. For four boys connected only through the love of skateboarding.