Hip Hop…..Skateboarding….they both go hand in hand. Academy Award nominated actor Jonah Hill figured out a way to tell an honest story that combines both in a film that doesn’t rely on A-list actors to carry the plot. Think of it as KIDS meets Gleaming the Cube.
Mid90s is about a 13-year old named Stevie (played by Sunny Suljic) who escapes his troubled home life at a local skate shop in Los Angeles. Stevie is constantly bullied by his older brother Ian (played by Lucas Hedges) and spends his summer bonding with a group of teens at the Motor Avenue skate shop. The group is led by Ray (Na-kel Smith), Ruben (Gio Galicia), Fuckshit (Olan Prenatt) and Fourth Grade (Ryder McLaughlin).
This is Jonah’s directorial debut. He’s got plenty of successful acting credits such as 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Moneyball, 21 Jump Street, The Wolf of Wall Street, 22 Jump Street and Sausage Party just to name a few. For this being his first time behind the camera, he hit a home run in my book.
Being famous comes with a price, especially in this age of social media. Jonah’s weight has long been a topic of discussion with blogs and gossip sites. He sat with a group of his closest friends and interviewed them for a special magazine called “Inner Children” and he opens it with a foreword about how he’s managed to deal with all of the public scrutinies:
“I became famous in my late teens and then spent most of my young adult life listening to people say that I was fat and gross and unattractive. It’s only in the last four years, writing and directing my movie Mid90s, that I’ve started to understand how much that hurt and got into my head.
I really believe everyone has a snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young that they’re ashamed of. For me, it’s that 14-year-old overweight and unattractive kid who felt ugly to the world, who listened to hip hop and wanted so badly to be accepted by this community of skaters.
For this magazine, I asked twelve people I respect and admire if they can relate to this in their own way and how they’ve learned to love themselves. The interviews are all centered around the questions of, “What is that snapshot for you?” They turned into some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve ever had.
I hope you enjoy this magazine.”
This isn’t about a film review. I could sit here and dissect the plot, characters, soundtrack and cameos, but how often does a director let the world know about his inner demons and reveal why he made this movie.
Jonah came by Sway in the Morning to promote Mid90s but that conversation became less about telling people to see a film and more about why Hip Hop and skate culture was so important to him. See for yourself…
If you remember what the 90’s was like then you will appreciate Mid90s. Hip Hop and storytelling at it’s purest form.