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Most of us know Jonah Hill from his acting in classics like Superbad, 21 Jump Street, and Wolf of Wall Street. Having said that, when he announced he would be writing and directing this movie, most people (including myself) thought it was going to be another cheap attempt at a 90s movie with a few skateboarding tricks and some corny jokes. I should’ve known better.
Mid90s is probably the most surprising film I’ve seen in a very long time. Labeling it as just a skateboarding movie would be like calling The Godfather a movie about gangsters. Skateboarding is definitely seen a lot in the film, but it’s more about what happens when a young kid is faced with choosing between his friends or his family. A decision most of us know a little too well.
Don’t get me wrong, there are funny parts of this movie. I mean, really funny. But the story is so authentic and raw, the comedy blends in perfectly. Hill was so deliberate with the interactions between characters so much so that the entire cast was not allowed to use their phones on set. He wanted the kids to actually talk to each other like they would’ve had to do back then. I probably watched over two hours worth of interviews before going into Mid90s, and in each one Jonah Hill talks about his struggle with making it as raw as it could possibly be. For example, the “f word” is used heavily in this movie and I am not talking about f*ck.
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Hill explains how he made a decision for a character to say, “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t use that word” but when he sent the change to his producer Scott Rudin, who is a gay man, he replied with, “Jonah would you have stopped someone from saying that in 1994?” to which Jonah replied with, “No” and so Rudin told him he has to leave it out to protect the historical accuracy of the film.
Those are the kinds of decisions, amongst many others, that Hill and A24 had to make in order for the story to be the most authentic. So, when people come out and say the movie was homophobic and sexist, it’s because that was the reality in the 1990s. Hill continually explains how his job as a director is not to be a moralist; it’s to hold a mirror up to society and allow the audience to judge it for themselves.
If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this article, stop reading it now and go see Mid90s. Btw, the soundtrack is amazing.
Rockstar, no guitar