Coming-of-age tale has language, drinking, drugs.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that North Hollywood is the story of high school senior trying to figure out how to become a professional skateboarder while maintaining his long friendships and without disappointing his overbearing father. Teens and younger kids smoke marijuana. Older teens drink alcohol and smoke cigarettes and also seem to use harder drugs. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "d--k," "bitch," "ass," "suck," "butt," and "piss," as well as the "N" word. A teenager is punched and beaten several times, leaving bruises on his face. A boy seems to have spent the night at his girlfriend's house after they kiss. It's implied they had sex. Boys suggest that they can see from the pants outline that someone has a small penis. A boy bares his buttocks to show disrespect to security guards. At what seems to be a crack house, an older guy "offers" sex with a stoned woman to a younger teen.
I’m 14 and In my opinion this movie is fitting for younger audiences
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It’s ok for kids
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What's the Story?
In NORTH HOLLYWOOD, Michael (Ryder McLaughlin) is a high school senior, altar boy, and skateboard fanatic. The hopelessly-clueless kid has no social skills and no understanding of how the real world works. He dreams of becoming a professional skateboarder, but doesn't seem to have especially extraordinary skills in that area nor any idea of how to make that dream happen. He hopes Walker (Angus Cloud), a slightly older stoner in the neighborhood, will introduce him to the local pros, Isiah and Nolan (Tyshawn Jones and Bob Worrest). Another impediment to reaching his dream is a hard-driving insensitive father (Vince Vaughan), who expects Michael to either go to college or join him in the construction business, neither of which interest Michael. Instead, he lies to his dad, pretending to be meeting with school counselors and sending out applications. One of his two best friends, Adolf (Aramis Hudson), is already working a job. Hoping to leave his immature friends behind, Michael gets the attention of older professional skaters in the neighborhood, hoping they'll lead him to a pro career, with sponsors and free merch. He does all of this while his old friends still support him. After breaking a board, Michael steals one and gets caught. He's grounded by his angry father, which doesn't stop him from spending the night with new girlfriend Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove). When the dad recognizes all the lies, he drags Michael to work at his construction worksite. What will happen to Michael?
Is It Any Good?
This coming-of-age tale just doesn't work. North Hollywood feels as if it's been pasted together with a series of afterthoughts, as if writer-director Mikey Alfred, working from autobiographical material, didn't recognize the plot's gaping holes until after all the scenes were shot. Alfred has the potential to be a skilled filmmaker and writer, but he isn't there yet. So this may have lots of appeal for the skateboarding community, but it misses the opportunity to be feel more universal. Coming-of-age stories usually showcase a sympathetic lead character's baseline immaturities, then show gradual behavior corrections, leaving us with hope for the character's growth. There's much to relate to here for any kid who has a passion and who feels misunderstood by parents. But where's he growth? How much more affecting this would be if that were shown. We understand a son who repeatedly lies to his overbearing father, but he lies to his best friends, too, making Michael increasingly difficult to root for. And the more he lies, the less reason we're given to believe he values his old friendships.
So late in the action, when we are suddenly told how important one friend is, it comes as a shock. Also, everything about Michael's college application activities seem far too vague for an overbearing father not to notice. Somehow other kids know where they're going to school, but Michael is still pretending to be working on his applications. Then he claims he's been wait-listed at several colleges, without filing applications? Surely his dad would put all of these contradictions together. Most puzzling of all is that skateboard footage doesn't make Michael look like a better skateboarder than you can find at any urban park in America. What exactly about his skills catches the eye of the local pros? And when his board cracks and he's caught stealing a new one, what happens after? We see him skateboarding later. Where did he get the new board? The final inexplicable moment comes when a blustery dad shows sudden stores of empathy and understanding out of nowhere. The closing scene shows the kid, who has told his dad he's leaving home for a skateboarding life, gliding through an upscale suburban street. What's the message? No clue.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the father's point of view. Why do you think the dad is so hard on Michael? The dad seems to completely turn around in the end. Why do you think he did that? Were you surprised?
Do you think Michael has a real plan for his future? How do you think things will turn out for him? Why?
Why do you think Rachel likes Michael? What qualities does he have that she might find attractive?
- In theaters: April 26, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: May 14, 2021
- Cast: Ryder Mclaughlin, Miranda Cosgrove, Vince Vaughn, Aramis Hudson, Nico Hiraga
- Director: Mikey Alfred
- Studio: Illegal Civilization
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 3, 2023
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