Mid90s | Chicago Reader

Mid90s

Jonah Hill’s directorial debut, which he also wrote, is an earnest effort that nonetheless relies too heavily on gimmicks. Shot on 16-millimeter in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, its aesthetic—reminiscent of lo-fi films from the eponymous era—is accomplished (the cinematographer, Christopher Blauvelt, worked under the legendary Harris Savides), but the enervated plot falls short of its visual ambition. The film follows 13-year-old Stevie (Sunny Suljic, a real charmer) as he makes friends with a group of skateboarders who have nicknames like Fuckshit and Fourth Grade. Like them, he lives amid familial discord, with a spacy single mother (the perpetually underrated Katherine Waterston) and an abusive, though complicated, older brother (Lucas Hedges). Hill seems to have been more concerned with finding the perfect vintage Ren & Stimpy shirt than developing the film into something more than a vehicle for said nostalgia signaling, but he’s not without promise as a director.

Credits

Director:

  • Jonah Hill

Cast:

  • Sunny Suljic
  • Lucas Hedges
  • Na-kel Smith
  • Gio Galicia
  • Ryder McLaughlin
  • Alexa Demie
  • Katherine Waterston
  • Olan Prenatt

Producers:

  • Scott Rudin
  • Eli Bush
  • Ken Kao
  • Jonah Hill
  • Lila Yacoub
  • Scott Robertson
  • Jennifer Semler
  • Alex Scott

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