Stars: Sunny Suljic, Lucas Hedges, Katherine Waterston, Olan Prennat, Gio Galicia, Ryder McLaughlin, Gio Galicia, Na’kel Smith
The feature directorial debut from actor Johah Hill is an appealingly heartfelt but unsentimental study of growing up in LA in the titular period. Suljic is Stevie, a thirteen-year-old who lives in LA with his single mother Dabney (Waterson) and troubled, aggressive big brother Ian (Hedges). After hanging around in the local skate shop he is thrilled to be admitted into the company of the seemingly cool skate kids: the laidback Fuckshit (Prennant), named after his initial two word response in any conversation; sensitive black kid Ray (Smith); the socially awkward misfit Fourth Grade (McLaughlin); and the younger Ruben (Galicia) who offers to show Stevie the ropes. In the company of his new friends, Stevie has his first experiences with drink, drugs and sex, much to his mother’s concern – the non-sanitized depiction of which may trouble faint-hearted viewers. It begins as an almost fetishistic look at 90s culture as Stevie scans his brother’s bedroom with its collection of trainers, posters and cassettes before blossoming into a disarmingly frank coming of age tale, as well as an exploration of the desire to belong. While the characters are all recognisable types from earlier teen movies, they feel fully fleshed-out here, thanks to an attentive script and wonderfully naturalistic performances. Excellent eclectic soundtrack too.