“Mid90s” Takes You Back

From Filming to Casting, Movie Gets It Right


Lara Garay

“Mid90s” was written and directed by Jonah Hill and was his directorial debut.

Jaqui Hill, Contributing Writer

Falcon Rating: 5/5

It is rare that you see a movie that can translate over multiple decades, have a specific target audience, and still be entertaining to most groups of people. However, the movie
Mid90s does this in incredible fashion through light-hearted comedy, distinctive cinematography, and a personal story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The movie follows a confused 13 year old boy named Stevie who is trying to find out where he fits within the ’90s culture, despite his strict mom and abusive older brother. The writer and director of this movie, Jonah Hill (21 Jump Street, Superbad), highlights the boy’s confusion and lack of self by showing all his newfound interests and attempts to gain social acceptance. Hill’s directorial instincts excelled in this plot; it allowed the movie to touch on societal issues such as stereotyping and false judgment.

Personally, I believe these messages hidden within the movie’s plot allow for it to be a story that doesn’t put you to sleep—in fact, it keeps you interested at all times. But, what I think truly puts the movie over the top are the retro visuals and the amazing soundtrack.

The nostalgic ’90s vibes that are evoked by the visuals and soundtrack allow the viewer to feel like a part of the film as well as a part of skateboarding culture. They are particularly unique because the film was shot on physical film with a 35mm camera, and had a soundtrack mostly made up of popular songs from the ’90s. The shots filmed on this 35mm camera, alongside the distorted zooms which occasionally altered them, truly helped add to the aesthetic and build the 90s setting. It was completely necessary for the team behind this film to get the aesthetics right; not only to please the targeted skateboarding audience, but also to educate the average viewer on skateboarding culture. I myself went into the movie not knowing much about the topic besides my experiences with different video games, but I left the movie knowing different skateboard tricks and the amount of practice it requires to learn them.

Another part of the film that the creators got completely right was the casting. The filmmakers made sure to choose members of a real skateboard group to act and star in this film. The members they chose were from a group named “Illegal Civilization.” This group creates short films, designs clothing, and coordinates different tours nationally for their fanbase.

The lead member of the group, Mikey Alfred, was one of the co-producers of this amazingly executed movie. When asked about some of his biggest accomplishments, he mentioned working with Jonah Hill, and had this to say about his role as co-producer: “Since I’ve been ten years old, I’ve had a YouTube channel, and every day of my life since then has been committed to making films, editing them, writing them, watching them, etc. To be able to work on a feature with my hero, Jonah, learn so much from him and Eli, and cast all my friends as the actors and extras, was a dream come true.”

In summary, I thought this movie was excellent for its amazing cast, authentic soundtrack, high-quality visuals, and story, which balances heavy societal issues with light-hearted comedy. I would recommend it to any friend and believe it’s a story that should be seen twice. It’s a feel-good film that does a great job of developing characters and making the viewer feel as if they are a part of the story. You will be enthralled and wishing for more. Mid90s is really unique and definitely a story worth watching.


This piece also appears in our October 2018 print edition.