reality bites revisited

Last time I watched Reality Bites, it was really more of an Empire Records period in my life, so I knew that by now I should have earned some fresh perspective on Ben Stiller’s 90’s classic.

Oh dear! A little bit too close to home? Never mind. It’s still a terrific romantic comedy, with the job interviews, cash anxiety, and shiny happy memories of college so fresh in my mind it’s a little bit poignant. Oh, the layers of meaning. I now truly, truly “get” Reality Bites. Good for me!

What a great fashion movie! Remember when the GAP was king of retail, the shapeless grunge dresses, the 1970s acid reflux and guys in plaid flannel shirts? Oh yeah. It’s amazing how much attitudes can change in 12 years, too. I find my generation is a lot harder to get a comfortable handle on, maybe because there’s no generation-defining romantic comedies to cite yet.

But I’ve changed my mind since I saw it when I was in high school. Back then I was cheering for Lelaina to pick Troy (Hawke), the hot, brooding, slacker philosopher. But now that I’m in my twenties I can’t believe she picked Troy over Michael (Stiller), who obviously cared so much about her and wanted her to succeed. It’s a funny movie in that way, because usually in romantic comedies it’s pretty obvious who the “right” guy to pick is.

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2 thoughts on “reality bites revisited”

  1. Ha! That’s so funny… I just re-watched this movie last week and had some of the same thoughts. At the time I thought the fashion was cool, but now it looks seriously dated. I just graduated last year so the low-paying jobs, the brokeness… it’s all a little too real!

  2. I recently re-watched it again, now that I’m a post-grad it hits closer to home than when I watched for the first time in high school. I remember thinking then: real life can’t be this hard? NOoo, that’s not possible. Haha…oh the naivete…

    But yes, the clothing – shapeless dress, I’m looking at you – will always hold a special place in my heart. From a present standpoint, I DEFINITELY would not have picked the non-sellout (Hawke’s character).

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