Based on the title, I had an aversion to this film. It is too early to think of the 90’s as a time period for film. However, I would have missed out on a fascinating film. Stevie (Sunny Suljic) is in the ripe age of discovery and debauchery. As he falls in with a group of misfit skateboarders, he endures consequences and learns about life in the most unlikely of places.
Lucas Hedges is a character actor. His aggression and will to be cool as Ian can be terrifying and relatable. He is stockier and his look is if Wallace from “Wallace & Grommit” was a wannabe gangsta. Sunny Suljic acts with total expression of his face. He reminds of Shia LaBeouf’s energy when he played Louis Stevens. Fuckshit, one of the greatest film character names of all time, is played with finesse by Olan Prenatt. I believe this film is the first time I saw Katherine Waterston act and she was unforgettable, mostly because she is the only woman as Dabney, Stevie and Ian’s mother, with the care and caution of the character. Na-kel Smith is a wonder as Ray, a character with wisdom and vision beyond his years, an oracle of the group. Alexa Demie is alluring as Estee, one of the few girls in the film. Ryder McLaughlin gives a grounded performance as Fourth Grade. Gio Galicia is strong as Ruben, who delivers conflict throughout the film. The ensemble is eclectic and powerful, natural in the ensemble and attributed by Casting Director Allison Jones.
Writer & Director Jonah Hill gives an ode to Los Angeles with glowing vibes and vulgar language, bumps and bruises, both physical and emotional. This film is more than a skate movie. It is also not a PSA. There were moments that made me uncomfortable. The use of sex, drinking and drugs add to the peer pressure of teenagedom. There is violence without being gross or unnecessary, although it is alarming. The sounds effects are sharp. Score Artists Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross lift the film with a ranging soundtrack, both highly hip hop and punk with bits of R&B.