by Zach Smith-Michaels
I’m a massive fan of the Judd Apatow posse. I love Seth Rogen, James Franco, Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride, Craig Robinson, and of course Jonah Hill. The most excited that I have ever been for a movie was the 2013 film This Is The End. I love these guys because not only are they’re talented actors, but a number of them are also great film makers. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg with This Is The End, James Franco with The Disaster Artist, and Jay Baruchel (writer and producer) with Goon. So naturally, I was very interested to see Jonah Hill’s directorial debut. Hill has worked with some very impressive directors! Judd Apatow, The Duplass Brothers, Lord & Miller, The Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Martin Scorsese, and many more! As I look at this list of filmmakers, I can see that Jonah Hill had a great film school…and man. It really shows in mid90s.
Jonah Hill has delivered a film that feels like a beautiful combination of Boyhood, Manic, and Where The Wild Things Are. I believe that the title of this film is intentionally misleading. I think that people are going to show up at the theater expecting a nostalgia wash, but that’s not what this film is. This is a movie about finding your “thing” and finding your first group of friends. I was a really bad skater when I was a kid, so that wasn’t quite my scene. I was a band kid. I spent my high school days playing bass and screaming in whatever band was short a member. I think about those days a lot. Those were some really important and formative years for me, and I see that in this film.
Hill has assembled an awesome cast! He cast a lot of non-actors in this movie, but you can tell that Hill was really able to speak their language and really direct them. Hill never really “shows off” with his dialogue or direction. mid90s feels unflinchingly real. The main actor in this film, Sunny Suljic…dude. This kid is going places! Also Na-Kel Smith and Olan Prenatt gave great performances. Honestly, it felt like they didn’t know they were in a movie. This isn’t a criticism. It felt like these guys were just hanging out, and someone happened to be filming them. Lucas Hedges continues to impress me with his acting range! If you had told me that Hedges was this character in real life, I’d totally believe it. All of these characters felt like kids I knew and kids who I’ve lost touch with. I even saw myself! There’s a character called Fourth Grade, and that was me.
I’m currently listening to the film’s score as I write this review. I adore the scores that Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross have created and this film is no exception. I almost want to see this movie again just for the opening credits sequence.
When I saw a GZA Liquid Swords poster on a characters wall, I knew that this was going to be a special movie. The soundtrack for this movie is so authentically amazing. Every song was great, and the soundtrack felt like an irreplaceable character in this movie.
I suppose that I could find flaws, but a movie like this is more about the experience. This is a story that I really relate to, and I believe that many others will share my experience. The heart displayed in this movie is greater than I could have expected. Is this movie perfect? Probably not. However, this movie is perfectly what it is.
There are a few films that have left me with a permanent emotional bruise. Movies that I think about every single day. Movies that haunt me, so to speak. Such films include A Ghost Story, Blade Runner 2049, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and the aforementioned Where The Wild Things Are. There is a strong possibility that mid90s may join this list.