Admission: my recent viewing of Eighth Gradegreatly colored my opinion on Jonah Hill’s much-anticipated feature directorial debut, Mid90s. Both movies aim to tell a coming-of-age story about children in similar age ranges. Where Eighth Grade takes the viewer deep into the psyche of its protagonist, Mid90s focuses on serving a highly-curated vibe; I recently read an article about the hours Hill spent in the editing room, contemplating the tiniest of details, like what was being shown on a background television.
Seeing the runtime prior to entering the showing led me to believe that this would be a brief exercise in world shaping. I was unpleasantly surprised when I ended up checking my watch multiple times. One could say that Mid90s is severely lacking in terms of a storyline, consequences or any kind of stakes.
If I were to guess at a plotline, I’d say it was revealed in the long stoner soliloquies from the skater crew, one of whom goes by the nickname “Fuck Shit”. Along with conversations with LA’s homeless population, these speeches hinted at a gravity that Hill was trying to reach, but ultimately failed to nail down.
Still, there were glimmers of the movie which I enjoyed. There was an excellent party scene and the soundtrack is incredible. Hill created a well-thought-out world and the nostalgia immediately sucks you in. If the movie had focused on fleshing out the atmosphere and staying more adherently to a storyline, it could’ve been great. Sadly, the constant introduction of random elements and lack of any real consequences leads to viewer detachment and–frankly—a boring and disappointing way to spend 84 minutes.