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Mid90s has the rawness of Kids, but feels less about being provocative and more about trying to present characters you’d think were based off real people.

Director(s) Jonah Hill
Written By Jonah Hill
Date Released 10/25/2018
Genre(s) Coming of Age, Drama, Comedy
Good If You Like Coming of Age Films

Films Which Balance Being Artsy & Mainstream

Noted Cast
Stevie Sunny Suljic
Dabney Katherine Waterston
Ian Lucas Hedges
Ruben Gio Galicia
Fourth Grade Ryder McLaughlin
Fuckshit Olan Prenatt
Ray Na-kel Smith
Estee Alexa Demie

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Summary (2nd Page – Full Spoilers)

Sometime in 1995, we are introduced to a young man named Stevie. He is 13 and lives with his, at the very least, 16 to 18-year-old brother Ian and also his mom Dabney. Someone who, to put it nicely, might have both of her children because of former line of work. However, according to Ian, since Stevie was born, Dabney has cleaned up a bit.

But, with Stevie getting a better mom than Ian had, and your usual sibling issues, Ian isn’t the role model and friend Stevie desires. So, he goes out into the world and that is how he meets Ruben, Fourth Grade, Fuckshit, and Ray. These dudes hang out at a skate shop Ray seems to work at, maybe Fuckshit too, and spend most of their days skating around their town.

Which, eventually, they have Stevie join them in doing and even give him a nickname, Sunburn. But with those kids all in their mid to late teens, Fuckshit specifically being a junior, Stevie finds himself growing up a bit fast. Leading to him potentially becoming all Dabney was trying to protect him from after exposing Ian to so much.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • The year of the movie is assumed based off the Slick Rick cover Ian has that came out March 1995.
  • Nickname explanation: Fuckshit is called Fuckshit because when he sees something dope, those are the words he uses. As for Fourth Grade? Everyone calls them that because they think he is only as smart as a fourth grader.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Did Fuckshit’s family own the shop or did someone really decide to just leave Ray and Fuckshit in charge of their shop on a daily basis?


Ray’s Relationship With Stevie

Though Stevie, as the central character, naturally develops many a memorable relationship in the film, it is the one he crafts with Ray which may touch your heart at most. For while Ruben he develops an interesting relationship with, as he climbs the social ladder of the group, and Fuckshit also is someone Stevie looks up to, Ray is perhaps what Stevie was always looking for. Someone who could be that big brother or paternal figure Ian never wanted to be. Someone who was cool, accepted him, validated him, and really looked out for him.

Making Ray, when he sees Stevie starting to really mess up, taking him closer under the wing, something that’ll touch your heart a bit. Especially since Suljic has that smile only little kids have when, if they feel safe and loved, it’s like seeing pure joy.

You Are Given Enough To Make This Entertaining, Without The Movie Not Feeling Real

Presenting characters in such a way that you think the story is based on real people is tough. Yet, Mid90s finds a way to balance being a movie which seems true to life without trying to be artsy like it is just made for an Avant-Garde appreciating audience. Not to say it doesn’t have shots which would appeal to those who went to film school, but it never dives so deep into that world where it feels like it would alienate a general audience.

Leading to why Kids is mentioned in the overview. There is something about the conversations, be it a “Would You Rather?” conversations, girls talking about Fuckshit, or you seeing Ray’s hustle which feels very real. Yet, as noted in the topic preceding and which follows, there is this balance of making sure to have these touching, sometimes depressing, moments balanced with just random comical moments. Even when someone really gets messed up.

While Not A Tear Jerker, This Movie May Get You In Your Feelings

Ruben (Gio Galicia) introducing himself to Stevie.
Ruben (Gio Galicia)

While Ray just runs off everyone’s issues, and no one gets to tell their own sob story, the writing and performances allow us to understand what everyone is going through. Take Ruben, for example. He was the runt of the group before he brought Stevie in. Yet, as Stevie becomes the group’s mascot, beloved by all, while Ruben didn’t get kicked out the group or nothing, you can see his joy dim. What was the silver lining of his life kind of got stolen by Stevie.

Which I wouldn’t say will get you teary-eyed but even as Ruben becomes distant, even an ass, you’ll feel for the kid. Maybe even, as you reminisce about the movie, get in your feelings enough to cry.

On The Fence

Girls/Women Play Such A Minor Role In The Movie

There really are only two women who are worth noting this whole movie. Stevie’s mom, Dabney, and this girl who Stevie meets at a party, who I wanna say is Estee. Now, one could argue that having this be a film which gave the girls a place beyond being a mom or someone to mess around with would have taken away from its realness. Yet, it brings about one of those things where you have to challenge what is the ideal and what is realistic. Something writer/ director Jonah Hill spoke about in his Breakfast Club interview.

Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)Recommended| Purchase Or Rent On (Fandango/ Amazon)

While the first film for some, but not all, what Jonah Hill has given these kids and us is the future. Like how Judd Apatow did for him, he has given these kids what may very well jumpstart their careers and make them staples in the industry within the next ten years. For truly, when it comes to the guys anyway, you can’t cite one bad performance. Even those like Ian, who are just ass****s, use what little screen time and focus they have to show a surprising amount of depth.

Hence the positive label, and recommendation. This film is a star maker in so many ways. Also, it feels like the best of both worlds when it comes to what you expect when Jonah Hill’s name is attached. It addresses that comedic nature which made him famous, as well as his dramatic chops which made him get taken more seriously as an actor. Leading me to hope, at the very least, his work gets recognized on an indie level and when it comes to major award shows, though I know the competition is fierce, I hope he gets nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

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