This isn’t really my type of film but hearing about Jonah Hill directing his first film was what sold me into catching this. Full disclosure, teenagers annoy me. Especially movies based on them. The trailer looked like a film full of annoying dipshits being annoying dipshits. Oh yeah, the kids in this are annoying as hell but Jonah Hill crafted a compelling coming of age story. Its not groundbreaking or original but its quite a promising start for Jonah Hill if he does decide to continue a career behind the camera.
The film is about a kid named Stevie who is looking for friends. He one day stumbles across a few teenage slackers who skateboard, drink, and smoke all day. They aren’t exactly the best influences for Stevie but he quickly becomes attached to them and as an impressionable 13 year old would do, he joins in their habits. He soon becomes to realize his own identity and discovers the dangers of hanging out with kids who dabble in a lot of debauchery. Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, and Katherine Waterston are the big name stars in this, otherwise its filled with relative newcomers.
The film is shot in 4:3 frame and will feel the part of a 90’s music video. Its very reminiscent of the time Sunny is actually fantastic in this film. Him or any of the kids he hangs with aren’t wholly likeable (Fuckshit was so annoying) but they perform their roles well. Everything feels natural. I guess the film really sends a message of being a crazy yet funny coming of age tale but also a cautionary tale of sorts. Stevie starts out as a quiet kid who can’t even skateboard and then evolves into a drug using, foul mouthed, thrill seeker. Its nothing you haven’t seen before but Jonah Hill manages to bring a compelling film about slacker kids in the 90s.
It almost feels like something I’d see from Richard Linklater but no this is brought to you by Jonah Hill. Its a really impressive debut actually from a person I didn’t expect to go behind the camera and bring a fairly quality film. I definitely want to see what he does next should he go on to make more films. The characters will annoy but there’s no denying that the film is funny, important, and presented well. Surprisingly good stuff here.