Jonah Hill's Mid90s

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I assumed he would have had his own thread--related to something he said or did, if not his actual film career--but no, so I'll start this one.

You can see Mid90s' influences all over the place (Gus Van Sant seems like an obvious one), but for a first film, I found this impressive--much more so than Eighth Grade, I thought, and as actor-directed debuts go, I liked it at least as much as Lady Bird. Na-kel Smith's character isn't the most demanding role--the benevolent, wise symbolic older brother--but he carries it off so well, I hope (and assume he will) get some year-end recognition. Lucas Hedges's real older brother is Smith's diametric opposite, and he's really good too. My first reaction to the event that sets up the ending was "Was that really necessary?" (stylistically, it's convincingly jarring), but the ending itself, I loved. The music sounds mostly mid-'90s, not much of which I recognized, but Hill will stray; there's a great minute of the Mamas & the Papas' "Dedicated to the One I Love."

clemenza, Sunday, 11 November 2018 00:53 (ten months ago) link

I hadn’t thought about whether I wanted to see this or not yet, but your take makes it sounds promising, especially since, though I typically go for coming-of-age stuff, I was similarly unmoved by Eighth Grade. If anything is swaying me against it, it is my own suspicion of 90s nostalgia. The 90s were my teen years, but every time I encounter any kind of 90s nostalgic sentiment, it tends to be for things—bad sitcoms, pop music and video games—that I didn’t care about the first time around. The curse of being part of whatever that generational hiccup that came between Gen Xers and Millennials is called, I guess.

Timothée Charalambides (cryptosicko), Sunday, 11 November 2018 01:21 (ten months ago) link

I an excited for this. He seems generally like a humorless dick but he’s really good in a wide range of stuff

Οὖτις, Sunday, 11 November 2018 01:40 (ten months ago) link

The '90s aren't my decade (I do love lots of music from that time), so I'm not the best judge, but I didn't really feel nostalgia guiding this--the odd reference, a couple of loving shots of Lucas Hedges' CD collection (a match for the record collection Zooey Deschanel bequeaths to Patrick Fugit in Almost Famous), and I suppose the ending carries a strong undercurrent of nostalgia. More than that, though, it felt like an attempt to make something low-key and poetic. I'm susceptible to that kind of thing. Eighth Grade seemed to me to studiously avoid that kind of thing, so I can see where someone who responded to the mood of that film not liking Mid90s as much.

clemenza, Sunday, 11 November 2018 02:09 (ten months ago) link

i liked the acting and the comic timing, the nostalgia was a bit much, the main kid's tv show t-shirts in the beginning were one detail that rang false. dialogue was full of exposition. thought lady bird was more idiosyncratic and interesting, but it was an enjoyable watch.

Freda VanFleet (symsymsym), Sunday, 11 November 2018 02:10 (ten months ago) link

soundtrack was kind of the hip-hop version of the big chill

Freda VanFleet (symsymsym), Sunday, 11 November 2018 02:11 (ten months ago) link

I just looked at a Spotify soundtrack playlist that lists 46 songs, and if I go by that, yeah, a whole bunch of famous ones. Swear that I missed most of them--either my hearing's worse than I think, or they were buried deep in the background.

clemenza, Sunday, 11 November 2018 02:17 (ten months ago) link

haven't seen this yet, but i must admit if he and Paul Dano never appear in front of a camera again i'd be thrilled.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 11 November 2018 08:56 (ten months ago) link

That must have taken a lot of courage to admit

Greta Van Fleek (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 11 November 2018 13:46 (ten months ago) link

nope

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 11 November 2018 15:44 (ten months ago) link

seven months pass...

This was...surprisingly cinematic? Hill has either studied Scorsese, or he paid close attention while working with him; there's a tracking shot here that feels like he's trying to do Goodfellas in a skate-punk milieu. Also, was this shot on film? There is the occasional bits of grain on the picture that was jarring (in a good way) to encounter in a movie made in 2018 that I watched on the Netflix app on my iPad.

Beyond that, I found the movie mostly just ok. The symbolic older brother figure (mentioned above by clemenza) was the most interesting character, and Lucas Hedges was scarily recognizable as a particular brand of asshole that I went to high school with in the actual mid90s, but Hill is not without sympathy for him. I guess my main problem with movies like this and the acclaimed Girlhood from a few years back is that there is a kind of natural PSA-like shape that these narratives cannot help but avoid, but which this film dives head-first towards with its climax. I also wish I was more impressed with Fourth Grade's concluding film project (especially since I liked his character); mostly it made me think back to Roger Ebert's criticism of Reality Bites where he observes that Winona Ryder's documentary was mostly indulgent nonsense. I also don't think Fourth Grade would have titled his film mid90s (Winona might have been that pretentious, though).

The soundtrack seemed well chosen to me (I'm listening to the Spotify playlist as I type this), aiming for specificity rather than broad nostalgia. Most of the diegetic music seemed like stuff that these kids would have actually listened to. The only Top 40 hit in the film that I caught was Seal's "Kiss From a Rose," playing in a family restaurant. That seemed about right.

Herman Woke (cryptosicko), Wednesday, 12 June 2019 15:22 (three months ago) link

It was shot on 16mm. I thought Na-kel Smith was the standout in this. I think it worked in this movie but I'm looking forward to the 1:33:1 fad passing.

flappy bird, Wednesday, 12 June 2019 16:38 (three months ago) link

two months pass...

This is on Prime now. Not particularly good. Curious as to why dude’s passion project and big leap into auteur-hood is a watered down Larry Clark/Korine/Van Sant re-work. Adds nothing.

circa1916, Sunday, 25 August 2019 06:19 (three weeks ago) link

Just now read the thread and wanted to also add that Eighth Grade is miles ahead of this on nearly every level. I say that as someone who generally enjoys Jonah Hill the actor and can’t stand Bo Burnham the comedian.

circa1916, Sunday, 25 August 2019 06:36 (three weeks ago) link

Stumbled across this and liked it. It wasn't desperately "are you SHOCKED, Mr. and Mrs. America?" like Kids, which was a huge plus. The one thing that kinda disturbed me was that I didn't realize until afterward that the main kid was supposed to be 13 — he looked about 10 to me, so to watch him kissing an older teenage girl was disturbing. But the hanging-out stuff was good, the mom and older brother were very good, and overall I felt like it was a realistic portrayal of teenagers I've known. I'm both glad I saw it and glad it was free.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Sunday, 25 August 2019 13:06 (three weeks ago) link

Watched them both again last week; Eighth Grade I liked more second time around, Mid90s held up fine. I agree: Hill clearly borrows from all those directors, but he's not nearly so grim. The best thing about it, I think, is the way it plays off Stevie's relationship with his brother against his friendship with the skate crew, especially Ray. When they're all there at the hospital, and his mother invites Ray in to see Stevie, that's a great moment.

clemenza, Sunday, 25 August 2019 16:52 (three weeks ago) link

And it's funny: "You Sheryl Crow-looking motherfucker."

clemenza, Sunday, 25 August 2019 16:53 (three weeks ago) link

This fulfilled my expectations p much

Οὖτις, Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:25 (three weeks ago) link

The slow-mo watermelon man party walkthru was v derivative of scorcese and pta but it was also v satisfying

Οὖτις, Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:27 (three weeks ago) link

Fine. Will watch tonight.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:32 (three weeks ago) link

I'd have to do a mental checklist of every last character, but one thing I really liked about Mid90s is exemplified by the scene with the security guard where I lifted the Sheryl Crow line. It would have been easy to caricature the guard, make him look foolish. But he gets in some great lines, gives it out as good as he gets. I found that everyone in the film was treated well by Hill; even Lucas Hedges is more complicated than he appears initially.

clemenza, Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:35 (three weeks ago) link

I thought this movie was decent (if not a whole lot better than that), but I definitely prefer it to any of Larry Clark's hysterical teen exploitation pics.

Herman Woke (cryptosicko), Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:44 (three weeks ago) link

The slow-mo watermelon man party walkthru was v derivative of scorcese and pta but it was also v satisfying

Forgot about this. Kept waiting for it to turn into the Schoolly D song that samples that track and was shocked when it turned out to be the real thing.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Sunday, 25 August 2019 17:50 (three weeks ago) link


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