Reality Bites

“Every Black Friday, there’s always the one movie that I can’t believe is available for such a low price. The majority of the bargain deals are releases from within the past few years. Big Hollywood flops, mediocre box office takes, or the ones that everybody already has but they somehow have excess inventory. But there’s always the random classic, some gold among the crap. This year, hidden amongst the other 1.99 DVD’s was Reality Bites. Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller in a very Gen X dramedy. I’d never seen it, but I recognized the culture and time it stood for. As a child of the 90’s, though more of a Millennial or what was initially referred to as Generation Y, this is the time period I live for. And this movie was the voice of that generation.

I had hoped to watch and blog over the holidays, but didn’t have time. So I resigned myself to just watching it while I did some gaming, which I usually don’t quite pay enough attention to to be able to blog. But I was completely enthralled by this. Winona’s Lelaina has just graduated from college. In a situation similar to that which my generation faced upon college graduation, there’s a recession and minimal employment opportunities. We follow her as she films herself and her friends as they navigate life and relationships and jobs and everything else you’re suddenly hit with in adulthood.

I’m really suprised Hawke’s Troy isn’t a bigger pop culture figure. I really feel like I should have known who he was, sharing in the same infamy as Jared Leto’s Jordan Catalano. Okay, quick internet search does show that there are many who still carry a torch for him, but I still think I’ve been cheated in not knowing about him before. Basically he’s the hot mess of a bad boy with good intentions and bad actions that you know you really shouldn’t love, but you do anyways. Again, cue the Jordan Catalano comparisons.

The story, the characters, the 90’s, everything was all there, making this a movie I was destined to love (even despite the romantic subplots). When the movie was over, I had about 15 minutes until I had to go, so rather than bother getting up to change the disc, I put on the special features. That’s when I learned that Ben Stiller not only starred in it, it was his directorial debut. Did not expect that. And even more unexpected, Stiller goes on to mention people on the crew that were helpful to him, including cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki. Yeah, the one cinematographer I know, who won back to back Oscars for Gravity and Birdman and is a front runner again for The Revenant. He worked on this. Seriously, if all the brat pack movies of the 80s are still a big deal today, this movie needs to take a turn in the nostalgia spotlight.”

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