kid 90: A Pre-Internet Time Capsule of Fame

As a teenager in the 90s, Soleil Moon Frye carried a video camera everywhere she went, documenting her group of friends as they grew up in Hollywood and New York City. kid 90 is a coming-of-age story that explores how sometimes we need to look back to find our way forward. Soleil Moon Frye, shown. Courtesy of Soleil Moon Frye.

kid 90 captures life in the early 90s when actress Soleil Moon Frye was carrying a video camera everywhere in an era before cell phones.

Watch until the end of the credits.

At times when watching this documentary, you can’t help but feel bad for Soleil Moon Frye.  The actress went through puberty after Punky Brewster came to an end.  I’m obviously not going to get into the specifics here but sometimes, this takes a psychological toll.  And then later on, she opens up about a sexual encounter that she “put in a vault and never wanted to open.”  This is the first time that she opens up on camera about the incident but doesn’t name any names.  In addition to having a camera everywhere she went, Frye also kept a journal.

Think about living life before the internet and cell phones.  How did you go about your day without social media?  You didn’t need to take photos of yourself or food for the sake of doing so?  Now put yourself in the steps of child and teen actors.  I mean, Soleil is carrying her camera around everywhere but it’s different than nowadays.  Nobody was thinking, Oh, this might end up damaging my reputation.  They were just teens being teens.  In making this documentary over 20 years after the fact, she controls the narrative.  Sure, a studio executive might provide notes but this is Soleil Moon Frye’s story through and through.  I can’t even imagine what was going through her head while sifting through hours of footage.

This documentary might run shy of 90 minutes but it shows enough.  More than enough, really, to know that fame takes a psychological toll on child actors.  A number of Frye’s fellow teen stars make appearances and help provide some context.  I grew up during the 1990s but watching this film really does remind me of a bygone era.  Kids will never know what life will be like without the internet.  They will never know what it will be like to not carry a computer in their pocket.  If a teen is going into a profession that provides fame today, they don’t have the benefit of going through such career without social media.  I think back to watching Christy Carlson Romano and Will Friedle discuss their life while working on Even Stevens and Boy Meets World, respectively.

kid 90 should be required viewing for any parent with a child wanting to move to Hollywood and become famous.

DIRECTOR:  Soleil Moon Frye
FEATURING:  Soleil Moon Frye, David Arquette, Stephen Dorff, Balthazar Getty, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Brian Austin Green, Tori Leonard, Heather McComb

Hulu launches kid 90 on March 12, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.