Kid 90 (2021)

kid 90 poster 2021 documentary hulu
7.5 Overall Score

Decent reflection on kids growing up in a weird Hollywood niche

Pretty targeted audience

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Kid 90

Studio:  Appian Way/STX Entertainment

Genre(s):  Documentary

Release Date(s):  March 12, 2021

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

kid 90 documentary soleil moon frye hulu

Step back in the time machine…

Soleil Moon Frye was an 1980s star.  As the lead of the family friendly sitcom Punky Brewster, she was a celebrity…but kid stars grow up and the 1990s hit.  Soleil is now reflecting on those times and reading journal and watching hours of video she took over the years.  With the benefits of age, Soleil and her circle of friends are recalling what it meant to grow up famous and how time changes many things.

Directed by Soleil Moon Frye, Kid 90 is a Hulu documentary.  The film was produced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way Productions and released on March 12, 2021.

I watched Punky Brewster all the time growing up.  Soleil Moon Frye is less than a month older than me, and most of her contemporaries were also in the same age range.  As a result, Kid 90 feels like both a throwback to teen years and a look how the other people lived in the time.

kid 90 middle finger soleil moon frye

Punky actually gets punky (and people ask her to stay little)

The movie features an amazing amount of video.  Throughout the film, Soleil talks of always having a camera in her hand (this is even mentioned by her friends throughout the documentary…but in the 1990s and today).  With a higher level of technology than present in the hands of most people, it feels like insight to a different world than the “average teen”.  These were teens with even less responsibility and more money…but also extremely isolated at the same time.

Soleil is surprisingly reflective about her life.  She doesn’t paint it as rosy, yet she also doesn’t bemoan all she was able to do because of her early childhood starhood and having to live life on a stage…and the amount of death around her shows what happens if you do that.  She also admits that she does have guilt of not seeing the signs of depression in some of her friends like Jonathan Brandis…but seems to come to terms with the fact that it was their decision in the bigger picture to take their lives.

kid 90 jonathan brandis soleil moon frye

A lot of loss

The film has the challenge of editing some of the older tech into a movie that looks new and modern.  It also has the difficulty that Soleil wasn’t a trained cameraperson.  She honestly does a pretty good job and you can see it sometime evolve…and there are tricks the filmmakers used to make the film feel less like a VHS compilation (and it also had to deal with some “audio only” points).  Overall it is a solid presentation.

As a kid you always imagine that celebrities are all friends and hang out together.  You think the casts of shows spend time in their off time together through holidays, weddings, birthdays, etc…and Kid 90 shows that sometimes can be true.  When you are part of an exclusive group and the only people that understand it are other stars, it makes sense…especially while growing up.  If you grew up in the ’90s, Kid 90 is definitely for you, but it also is a decent view of growing up in Gen X, and that is something that is sometimes overlooked.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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