#REVIEW: “NORTH HOLLYWOOD”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
North Hollywood – no not Canada sadly – is the first Feature from Writer/Director Mikey Alfred, an impassioned coming-of-age story that allows its stars to shine, with an understated Script that shines. The Film tells a story about someone wanting to just be themselves, and betting on themselves. While there isn’t anything groundbreaking here, it certainly is affecting.
The Movie focuses on Michael (Ryder McLaughlin) who wants to be a professional skater; that’s all he ever wanted to be, he plays by the rules (mostly) and tries to get along with his father Oliver (Vince Vaughn). Michael mainly hangs out with his two friends Adolf (Aramis Hudson) and Jay (Nico Hiraga). They are rather inseparable until Michael finally gets the attention of Rachel (Miranda Cosgrove) and has a timeframe on how long he can spend with her before she goes to college. Above this new revelation, he catches the eye of some local professional skateboarders and his priorities and personality begin to shift.
North Hollywood is so easy to digest, and at times it almost feels like a Documentary crew went around following some kids who wanted to be professional skateboarders, with a similar vibe to the great Mid90s (which Mikey Alfred also was a Producer on). In fact it could pass for a pseudo-sequel and we mean that in a good way! This story bleeds emotion and anyone who connects with anyone who identifies as an underdog, has failed to live-up to others’ expectations or has tried to pass as someone they’re not.
None of this matters without a Cast that really delivers. Ryder McLaughlin absolutely nails his performance, capturing the essence of that kid in school whom nobody believed, but really persisted in following their dreams. Nico Hiraga and Aramis Hudson are perfect as those friends who are your ride or die. Miranda Cosgrove and Vince Vaughn are also fantastic in their roles respectively as the love interest and father, who just wants to see his kid excel.
We’ve seen several films in the genre, but the truly special ones stick with you. North Hollywood is one of those gems, truly a great outing.
Vortex Media release NORTH HOLLYWOOD on VOD on Friday, July 23, 2021.