I’ve been a Jonah Hill admirer from the get-go. It’s not just his nervy, envelope-pushing talent that I love, but his moxie and ambition. He began as a Millennial jokester but since The Wolf of Wall Street and Moneyball Hill has been upping his serious actor game, and now he’s a director of considerable merit. You can call me one of Hill’s obedient little bitches, but I know a serious X-factor talent when I see one.
Now, I wasn’t over-the-moon about Mid90s (A24, 10.19), his autobiographical West L.A. skateboard-culture film, but I definitely felt respect and admiration. And in my 9.10 review I included three or four blurbs that could have been easily been used in the new, just-posted Mid90s trailer:
(1) “Mid90s holds its own, and that ain’t hay”; (2) “Jonah Hill has stepped up to the plate and swung on a fastball and connected…crack!”; (3) “[Hill] has honored that straight-from-the-pavement aesthetic by dealing no-bullshit cards, at least by the standards that I understand”; and (4) “This is a fully realized, nicely shaded, highly engaging first film.”
So what review quotes did A24 marketers choose for the new trailer? Fellatio quotes. Review excerpts that are so gushingly positive that the likely Average Joe response is “Uhm, really?…it’s that good?”
According to the trailer the Globe and Mail‘s Barry Hertz has called Mid90s a “straight-outta-the-gate masterpiece.” Now that’s just ridiculous. That’s an undisciplined effusion. Mid90s is a real-deal, shrewdly honed and honestly observed film but it’s not a “masterpiece”…c’mon!
Little White Lies critic Hannah Wooodhead has called it “a scrappy triumph with heart, soul and boundless energy.” Really? “Boundless” energy? Does anyone remember Tom Tykwer‘s Run Lola Run? That had boundless energy. Mid90s is mostly a dialogue-driven thing, group shots and two-shots and whatnot. Some skateboard action but mostly a hang-out deal. And what does she mean by “triumph”? A triumph over what?
Business Insider‘s Jason Guarrasio called it “beautifully authentic.” Yes, that’s true, I’ll go along with that.
On the other hand Vice‘s Justin Staple has allegedly called Mid90s “the film of the year.” Whoa there, sunshine. You can’t call a very well done, emotionally trustworthy skateboard flick “the film of the year”…c’mon! The film of the year in what sense? Critics who ejaculate without discipline accomplish one thing and one thing only — they diminish their cred.
Collider‘s Perri Nemiroff called Mid90s “masterful” Okay, I’ll buy that. Within its own realm Hill does exert a certain masterful command.
All to say that A24 should’ve come down to earth and used one of my quotes. Because unlike 80% of the critics whose blurbs they used, I’m a Hill admirer whose feet are on the ground and who hasn’t gotten carried away.