Reflecting on the Past with Soleil Moon Frye and Kid 90: a Hulu Documentary

Friday, March 5, 2021
This week I had the great pleasure of screening the documentary Kid 90 by Soleil Moon Frye (of Punky Brewster fame). The documentary premieres on Hulu March 12th. The MOMS Network invited me to chat with Soleil during a virtual event about the film. Read on to hear more about Kid 90 and what I learned from watching so much nostalgic real-life footage of life in the 90's.

Disclosure: I was invited by The MOMS Network to screen Kid 90 and attend a virtual discussion with Soleil Moon Frye about the film. All opinions in this post are my own, most photos courtesy of Hulu. 

About Kid 90

As a teenager in the 1990's, Punky Brewster actress Soleil Moon Frye carried a video camera with her everywhere she went. Kid 90 features home videos, voicemails and diary entries that Soleil had kept 'locked away' all these years. Soleil, now 44, gives viewers a nostalgic look back at the past and shares some deeply personal moments in her life. Many familiar faces (and voices) make appearances in Soleil's footage and present-day interviews, including David Arquette, Balthazar Getty, Brian Austin Green, Stephen Dorff, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Harold Hunter, Justin Pierce, Danny Boy O'Connor, Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Brandis. Important to note that this is not a documentary about Punky Brewster- it's not for kids. Soleil shares some really personal (and sometimes upsetting) moments about her life that might leave you thinking about your own.

photo via Hulu

Watch a Trailer for Kid 90 Below!

I was amazed while watching the footage that Soleil had the presence of mind to create her own 'social media documentation' long before such a thing existed. Taking photos and videos in real-time moments is nothing out of the ordinary now, but in the 1990's it was not common and quality resources were limited. She presents a concept of 'in order to move forward we need to go back,' meaning that she is looking back at her life as a way to learn more about herself here in the present. 

Soleil's life in the 90's was different than mine but I found so many things I could relate to in what she shared, one of the biggest being the love we had for our friends. Do you remember your friends from your teenage years? Do you remember the fun times and laughter, or the friends who went through tough times with you? Maybe you haven't thought of them in many years, but they're always there in the background of your heart, aren't they? Soleil's documentary shows that the people you meet along the way in life help to shape who you become, and revisiting those times from your past might help you discover who you are today. She also talks about the friends she has lost, and you'll spot some of them in her footage (like teen star Jonathan Brandis, who committed suicide in 2003, or skateboarder Justin Pierce, who passed in 2000). In the documentary, Soleil expresses regret at not having listened more to some of these friends, or heard their possible cries for help. As teenagers, I think this is something we have to learn to do. In our 40's, we try to listen, we appreciate, we're grateful for the time we have with family and friends. In those teen years, we don't fully understand how to listen or help one another. I loved my family and friends in the 80's and 90's, but the 'reality' of life - the fragility of it- didn't really hit me until I reached my late 30's. 

Watching Kid 90 made me reflect back on my own past and ask as Soleil did, 'was it really the way I remembered it?' I love that she returns present-day to thank some of the people that she knew from her past, and talks to the friends who meant so much to her.  Kid 90 also made me remember the friends from my own teenage years who passed away. Maybe I hadn't seen them in many years, but their deaths still shook me just the same. 

Kid 90 made me nostalgic for my current friends from the 90's (who I still see on Facebook). Guess what? I still love you guys. We had the best time, didn't we? Nicole, Jenn, Lynn, Lisa, Mary, Donnie, Dave, Kenny, Ileana - I'm sending you all a big hug. I remember everything. 

You can stream Kid 90 on Hulu beginning March 12th, and I highly suggest you do. 

And to my friends from the 90's (and 80's) who are no longer with us, since I never had a chance to say these things to you, this is for you.

Nicky: One day when I was feeling sorry for myself in my room, playing the music score from the Neverending Story on my stereo (The Swamps of Sadness), you busted into my room and said, "What?! What is this? What the hell are you doing? Enough of this Swamp shit!" and you pulled me backwards, out of my desk chair and dragged me from the room. Looking back on it, this is probably one of the nicest things someone could have done for me. I wish I could have been there to drag you out of your swamps, too. Thank you for the laughs and for the wild neighborhood days. 

Dave: One thing I loved about you was that even though you had a crazy mohawk and a punk spirit, you also had a thing for Paula Abdul, and there was nothing like hearing you recite the lyrics to 'Cold Hearted Snake,' word for word. Thank you for teaching me to be a little wild sometimes, too. 

Pat: Here's what I never said to you: you matter. You're important. You were handsome and creative and funny. I think people should have told you more often, myself included. Looking back, I realize how alone you really were, and I wish I had understood that then. I'm sorry I didn't. 

Chad: Do you know how much fun you were? You could be crabby and snarky but we loved being around you. I hope your kids know how funny you could be and how much you are missed, even after all of these years. 

Jason: I want you to know that you were a good brother to your sister. You gave us a hard time, especially at like, 3:00 in the morning after the bars were closed, and maybe you threw my Converse in the pool, but you looked after us in your own way. "I'm over here now," as you used to say. Now I know you really are.  

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