Jonah Hill either had to live through it, or had some very reliable sources, because he nailed this time period to a tee. Growing up skateboarding from being groms (young bucks) in 1990 to being established sponsored skateboarders by 1999, we can tell you first hand that this movie was about as accurate as you can get.
Tim Martinez (left) and Will Turner (right) co-founders of Artform circa 1996
I have no reservations about claiming expert status on 1990's skateboarding in the Los Angeles area. We lived it. The photo above was taken at the infamous Hubba Hideout in San Francisco (and of course we brought markers and left our signatures on that thing). We drove from LA to SF to skate for a few weeks, slept in a tiny hatchback with 3 people, and every 3 days would spring for a roach motel. This was Mid 1990's skateboarding to a tee. Young, broke, and all we wanted to do was skate.
Back then skateboarding was still considered a deviant activity. Most skaters we knew either were from broken homes, had gangbanger brothers or alcoholic mothers or fathers, and lived similar lives as were portrayed in Jonah Hill's movie. The music was perfect, the party scene completely accurate (only about 8 people at a party), not like these high school ragers you see in most movies. The wardrobe was on point. And the crew was completely accurate.
You always had one or more homies from a very bad family situation, a grom, a dude who partied too much, a dude who primarily filmed, and the one guy who was actually very serious about skating that led the crew.
My only critique was going to be that it was too short, but then I looked it up and the movie was an hour and a half. It just flew by. There was of course more to the era. There was usually a really good skater that got into drugs or gangs and ended up in jail. There were spot wars and hierarchies of who could skate and when. It might seem foreign to some, might seem disturbing to others, but either way that's how it was. Congrats to Jonah Hill for accurately capturing a very nostalgic time for many, and a very important time for the growth of skateboarding culture. And congrats to Sunny Suljic, Na-Kel Smith, and the rest of the cast for doing an outstanding job bringing this era to life.
Great take on a great era. It definitely stirred up a lot of memories and emotions from my earliest days of skating, to what i can remember about the much darker last days of it.
And the soundtrack was dope.