Lainey calls him “Jonah Hill, 2x Oscar nominee and friend of Leo, Scorsese, and Brange”, but I think Jonah Hill needs a nickname update. Not only because the Brange is no more—who do you think got him in the divorce?—but because Jonah Hill has another tick on his resume: filmmaker. The first trailer for his directorial debut, mid90s, which he also wrote, was released yesterday. It’s backed by A24, increasingly prestigious and consistent displayers of good taste. They released Ex Machina, Lady Bird, The Florida Project, and Moonlight. Over the last few years, A24 has managed to be in the Oscar conversation, at the least. So for Hill to have his directorial backed by them is not insignificant. It means he’s going to get a Real Director push, not your typical actor vanity project tolerance effort.
And mid90s does not look bad. There is a definite Kids vibe, between the era and the “youth run amok” story, though mid90s is set in the skater world of Southern California, not New York. It also reminds me of Sean Baker’s work, with the naturalistic style and almost documentarian look of it. It’s not a bad first impression. So let’s spin it out. The worst case scenario is that it’s self-important navel-gazing award bait and no one bites, and Jonah Hill goes back to being “2X Oscar nominee and friend of Leo, Scorsese, and Brange”.
But the best case scenario is that mid90s is really good, and suddenly Jonah Hill isn’t just an actor but a filmmaker with potential. He could be a director we have to take seriously. If that happens, what would be his new nickname? Do we just add “director” to the current mix? Or would that warrant a whole new nickname? And how much higher does he climb up the intolerability index? 2x Oscar nominee Jonah is already kind of intolerable. Finally, if mid90s is a success and Hill becomes a respected director, would that put him above or below Leo in the wolf pack?
Here's Jonah Hill on Kimmel last week.