exploitation · Fandango's One Word Challenge (FOWC) · Word of the Day Challenge

The Pile of Crap that is Jonah Hill

child exploitation

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Fandango’s FOWC is whitewash and the Word of the Day Challenge is toxic.

Let me see if I can write on what I’m fuming about using these two words.

I started to watch a movie I’ve been waiting for awhile to get. It wasn’t released on netflix until late last week or maybe even on Monday, but it was at the library over the weekend and so picked it up, free, yo.

The name of the movie is, “Mid-90s” and it was written and directed by Jonah Hill. If you remember, the last time I mentioned Jonah Hill I was commenting that he was looking hot in “Maniac”, the mini-series on netflix, after having dropped some weight and toned up. I was very drawn to the idea of Jonah writing and directing a film. I saw previews of it multiple times and thought it looked like my kind of movie.

The main character of “Mid-90s” is Sunburn, a 13 year-old boy – and yes he is actually 13 years old, not some 20 year-old who is playing a 13 year-old – who has a semi-beastly older brother who likes to beat him up sporadically and a too-young-to-have-two-kids-at-her-age mother. The kid idolizes big brother and mostly tolerates his mom – and he has no friends. One day he’s riding his bike and sees a group of older teenagers on skateboards and sees them as killing two birds with one stone: he can pick up a hobby and a group of buddies.

The movie proceeds on its linear track smoothly and is actually pretty good – until the scene where I had to eject DVD in the middle of and check out the crystal ball to see how old Sunburn is. I’ve been fuming ever since.

The scene is at a guys and girls house party. As Sunburn is way younger than everybody else, watching him smoking something out of a pipe and guzzling alcohol is uncomfortable but tolerable. When one of the older girls – guessing 16 or older – corners him in the kitchen and starts hitting on him, it’s sweet to see. When she leads him off to the bedroom, I’m getting somewhat concerned. It then shows them kissing, him undressing her, he ends up undressed – she is still in bra and panties and he is in his boxers – it went into the child exploitation realm. I didn’t want to see what was next and fast-forwarded it. The next scene shows him outside the house with his skateboarding buddies, where they are grilling him about what happened, and he’s saying some very graphic things that transpired. The look on his face as he was saying these things gave me a pit in my stomach and I had to eject the DVD.

I want you to imagine this scene, but with the roles reversed. The 13 year-old is a girl, and the 16 or 17 year-old is the boy. Would it be OK? No effin way. And it is not ok the way it was shown here. Why has this film been blanket marketed and allowed to be released mainstream Hollywood? Because it’s a young boy instead of a young girl? Because Jonah Hill is “hot” now and has money to burn to make movies? Because the filmwatching American public is so desensitized to exploitation that it’s no big deal exploit a 13 year-old?

There is a toxic mindset out there that suggests boys can’t be sexually exploited by girls, older women, etc. because that’s just the way they get all of their sexual experience. WRONG. In my previous job, these kinds of scenarios happened with girls and boys being exploited frequently. It almost always traumatizes them.

Jonah Hill, if you ever read this, you’re a pile of dog crap to me now. You’re no better than Woody Allen and Roman Polanski in my eyes. No, you didn’t put your hands on this 13 year-old, but you set that pornographic scenario up in your movie and filmed it as the director. That’s pretty close. Count on my boycotting anything you have anything to do with from now on.


29 thoughts on “The Pile of Crap that is Jonah Hill

    1. I saw previews of that one and it looks really good. William C Reilly is starting to get some roles of substance! He was in a film, “Sisters Brothers” last year with Joaquin Phoenix and was really good in that. (classic western)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. There is no need to say that about Jonah Hill, I don’t see the point. Young actors are protected when they film these kind of scenes, they do it in a safe environment, it’s an ACT, it’s not real… What is real is the final product and the way you interpret it… And if you are not ok with young actors doing dramatic scenes why is it Jonah Hill’s fault? The parents knew what kind of scenes their son will be filming… There are plenty undearge actors doing much worse scenes than this.
    At the end, there are moments to laugh, moments to cry, and moments to feel an overwhelming nostalgia and joy. Hill’s writing is clearly influenced by his own experiences growing up as a skateboarder in the middle of the 90s. This is what the film is all about.

    Read this interview of Sunny Suljic:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everything you say here is an intricate rationalization to minimize the exploitation in this film. To suggest it is a “clean” industry that protects its members is to be in denial. You are entitled to your opinion, as am I. I forgot which US Supreme Court Justice(s) said about pornography/obscenity, “I know it when I see it.” It’s subjective, but I know it when I see it also. Are you saying that it would be ok to depict an infant being raped in a movie using your rationalizations? There is a point where a line needs to be drawn, particularly in mainstream Hollywood. These two scenes, in what I considered a pretty good movie up until then, are not appropriate for a mainstream Hollywood movie — or anywhere else for that matter.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok, I think I’m starting to see your point of view and i respect it: the problem is with the final cut of projecting a scene of a minor having sex with someone older than him + that this appears in a mainstream Hollywood film.

        But then, what the purpose of making movies? But tell stories. Probably Jonah Hill could have omitted that scene, yes. I agree that the film industry must stop showing these kind of scenes with underage actors, yes.

        And do not get me wrong, I understand your position but from that to say that this is pornography I really don’t understand it. Plus there was no rape in this scene, it’s not a violent sex scene, it’s not even a sex scene… it’s a coming of age story and that particular scene you describe is not dirty at all, it’s your imagination that trasnforms it in something bad, it’s no explicit. I know it doesn’t have to be explicit, but your interpretation is not accurate.

        Yes, the scene is controversial, the final cut can lead you to overthink what happened. And i agree, maybe Jonah went too far. But it’s a movie, and i don’t think the young actor got traumatized after filming it.

        Have you seen The Florida Project? That movie really goes beyond!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I appreciate the thoughtfulness of your opinion. Where the consensual part comes in is irrelevant as this is statutory criminal sexual conduct in most every state. If it was flipped around and the girl was the young one you may or may not be as ambivalent. I saw The Florida Project and saw nothing remotely like what was here. What in particular did you feel went “beyond” in it? Getting back to the exploitation in “Mid-90s”, have you seen the movie, “Taxi Driver”?


          1. Since we are talking about the exploitation of young actors, The Florida Project goes further with the type of acting involved in the story. These children are much younger than Sunny Suljic and they exposed them to the use of dirty language, to a scene of a pedophile predator, to a sex-servant mother, to drugs, to bad attitudes and simply to a violent environment.
            That’s worse for me than seeing a 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl in a scene that really only reflects a sexual awakening.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Jorge, again we will have to disagree in our opinions about the films. The children in The FL Project were in an environment where these things were happening, but at no time did the director place any of these children in a situation where they were enacting anything remotely sexually inappropriate. The environment they grew up in was a forced lifestyle of poverty, juxtaposed against the rich tourists coming to squander money in the magical kingdom. That is way more obscene than anything the kids witnessed in their motel complexes.


  2. I have to wonder about parents who let their children be exploited in this way. Horrible! My girls were approached by modeling recruiters and I refused to consider it for a second under any conditions.

    I do understand legit acting jobs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s like being blindsided. They could have just suggested something without showing it and there was no need for that graphic description afterwards! The movie was good without getting gratuitous! And of course exploitive!

      Liked by 1 person

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