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A teen beats violently on a kid. Aggressive, socially-awkward Ian (Lucas Hedges) didn't like little brother snooping around his room. Stevie (Sunny Suljic) wanted to check big brother's CDS, to help identify one Ian would want for his eighteenth birthday. He also admires Ian's old skateboard.

On their mother's eighteenth birthday, she was breastfeeding Ian. The boys' father or fathers have long since fled.

Stevie, thirteen, escapes home by hanging with older skate kids. Their influence will prove both positive and problematic.

Mid90s (2018) is less visually-impressive than Skate Kitchen but has more of a plot, and less histrionic than Kids, though set in the same era. Writer/director Jonah Hill does acknowledge Kids' influence, giving its writer a cameo.

The boys interact credibly. Ray (Na-kel Smith) is maturing beyond the teen rudeness and shenanigans. His brother died in an accident; he and Stevie naturally bond. "Fuckshit" (Olan Prenatt), Ray's long-time best friend, by contrast, lags in maturity. Ruben (Gio Galicia), sandwiched between Stevie and the older boys, feels he's losing status. His insecurity will cause trouble. The final member, "Fourth Grade" (Ryder McLaughlin) skates, but prefers getting footage of tricks.

The role of the female characters won't sell the film to everyone. Mom, well-realized by Katherine Waterston, works as a character. The teen girls get little development. Granted, they're not the focus, but, more than twenty years after Kids and months after pro-girl Skate Kitchen, a more nuanced depiction of gender would be welcome.

The plot careens along with side-trips and adolescent banter. We get cameos: proskaters Donovon Piscopo and Kevin White, comedian Jerrod Carmichael, rapper Del the Funky Homosapien. The film nevertheless appears to be heading somewhere. Unfortunately, Hill isn't certain where. The final ride becomes an open-ended after-school special. I enjoyed Mid90s, but its finish doesn't quite stick.

300 words

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