mid90s ★★

Full Review on Much Ado About Cinema

ORIGINAL REVIEW _________________

The first act of this film showed real promise. We are introduced to Stevie's daily life, his relationship with his older brother; which is contrasted to the (imperfect but better in a way) skate group who quickly welcome him to their gang of misfits. I liked where this was going. I recognized this as an opportunity to show the cycle of masculine relationships. How toxicity and aggression are normalized in our spaces, how we pay it forward. Then the rest of the movie happened.

I have huge issues with Mid90s constantly dropping thematic potential as an excuse to maintain its aesthetics. Hill clearly has a love for the time period, and is dedicated to making sure it lives within every stylistic choice of his film. The brands, the bands, the posters, the drugs, the alcohol, the sex and even the aspect ratio all add up to create a nostalgic portrait of the culture- but Hill's obsession proves to be the film's downfall. Not enough effort is made to justify all of this cultural texture.

Perhaps my biggest problem is that for a film about 90's skate culture, there's a real lack of skating. Only one sequence in particular stood out to me, and even then I couldn't help but feel that Hill was so attached to his meticulous portrait of nostalgia that the camerawork felt limited. Skateboarding is a magical, flowing sense of freedom and the cramped, squarish frame of Mid90s feels restrictive-- lacking in any of the dynamism that makes skating feel so beautiful to watch on film.

At the very least. I liked the performances between these non-actors. I just feel like this movie could have been way more had the screenplay put in more energy. And for a slice of life film, there's always a looming sense of manufacturedness I felt all throughout.

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