likexritual’s review published on Letterboxd :
Mid90’s took my spot for “movie of the year” yesterday after I saw it. it’s a beautiful story, a love letter to the underlooked suburban settings of los angeles and it’s such a well written coming age story with skateboarding as it’s backbone.
shot on 16mm Kodak, Mid90’s glows. the grit and hue add such a cool element to this film. it feels warm and consistently like a summer break. the black concrete, store fronts, traffic, potholes and packs of kids skating feels so beautifully choreographed but also natural at the same time. everything flows and amongst the chaos of family conflict, growing up and acceptance from peers it’s a very emotional story about just simply fitting in but a bond and camaraderie between friends.
Mid90’s feels like an exact interaction I had once at the corner of Santa Monica and Virgil with my dad and younger brother (which in this film, Stevie and his brother were about our age difference) as we stumbled into a skate shop next to a hamburger stand my grandfather worked at (RIP Jay’s Burgers). I remember walking into this store and seeing a quarter pipe, the baggy jeans and hip-hop blaring over a PA as kids skated. told jokes, played arcade games and set up new skate decks. my brother begged my dad to buy him a shirt and some stickers and I complained about not being able to afford a new pair of shoes. it’s small memories like this that if you grew up here, Mid90’s floods back to you, whether you were expecting it or not.
I love film shot in Los Angeles. I love where i’m from and I have so many important memories here. although my skateboarding career lasted only a few months and after one very hard bail, I hung it up for good. my environment and being surrounded by my brother skating. punk rock and growing up near these scenes provide a very important connecttion between being a teenager in southern california and this film.
Mid90’s is probably my favorite casting line up of the year. Sunny Suljic (Stevie) and Ne-Kel Smith (Ray) had such incredible chemistry. the bond between them and Ray taking Stevie under his wing has my eyes swollen with tears. I think every single person growing up can remember at one point, looking up to older kids and just wanting to be as cool as them. Stevie and Ray’s scene together as Stevie sat alongside a setting sun and the yellow wall of their skate shop and have a deep conversation about loss and how their friends are family is my favorite scene in film this year. this entire movie is covered wall to wall with honest dialogue and emotion. it warmed my heart on so many occasions. Lucas Hedges (Ian) plays Stevie’s little brother with a major insecurity issue which he covers up with a hard demeanor, a lot of which he takes out on his brother and contributes to Stevie’s almost impossible thirteenth year of his life. Lucas is an incredible actor and I enjoy everything I see him in.
I was fortunate to had seen Mid90’s with a q&a which included Jonah Hill and Ne-Kel Smith as they told stories about making this film, cracked jokes and had some incredible insight on how to make a honest film as great as Mid90’s. I was also able to be picked in the audience and express to Jonah how much I appreciated this film being a perfect representation of Los Angeles and how I’m sure so many people watching this film could relate to it. he smiled and thanked me for it. it really made my day.
the soundtrack of Mid90’s might be my favorite soundtrack ever crafted for a film. from the opening crawl which features Souls of Mischief, to the high energy screams of Bad Brains and chill vibes of Pharcyde, this soundtrack was made for me. i’ve been listening to the Spotify playlist for a week straight.
I cannot recommend Mid90’s enough. I knew I was going to like this film, but I didn’t know it was going to grab at my heart as much as it did. I am so overly impressed and inspired by this project and I am so excited to see what Jonah Hill takes on next.
fall. get back up.