Reality Bites (1994)
Starring: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo
Directed By: Ben Stiller
Release Date: February 18,1994
Summary: This films shows the lives of a bunch of college graduates trying to find their way in the world.
My Thoughts: Well, well Ben Stiller completely impresses me every single time. I kind of wrote him off as nothing special, but after seeing this, I respect him so much more in the film world. This movie could've been taken so many ways and if it had taken a different direction, it could've been much better, but it followed the path towards cliche after cliche that made it a little hard to watch.
The part that kept me interested was Winona Ryder's character and 1. her inventive ways of getting cash/ her job hunt, and 2. her documentary. The interweaving of direct camera footage from her camera and footage for the movie itself was also a nice touch. It made the movie feel real and that was on the aspects of the movie that made it a bit better when I wasn't cringing from the different character's decisions. The dialogue, their interactions and their overall struggle was real. While the 90's are long gone, this movie is about growing up and I'm at the same point in my life that these characters were and so, I see the similarities in the hardships of having friends, having a job, sharing an apartment with said friends, coming up with rent every month and just becoming an adult in general because it's hard.
However, like I said, it's those damn cliches that get you every time. A film maker finally getting the good news that her film is liked by a company and then hating what they put together? Obvious chemistry between the two leads who won't get together? One thing that I noticed was how these guys seemed to forever be in this angst-y teenager phase even though they were adults, like children put into adult situations in adult bodies. It was weird, but added to the realism of the film because like them, this is me and this is how I feel, however, as for the film, I wish they'd show more about their lives and why they are the way they are. Their previous lives at home are mentioned, but I wish they went into more depth on what's what. The guy who came out to his parents? What happened? How was his home life considering he lived at home? Ryder's character's parents? Her mother trying to commit suicide? What was that about? However, the movie slides over these things and just goes on with the lives of the main cast, which is sort of disappointing.
So, Reality Bites, a film filled with the truths of the adult world, but also filled with the many, many cliches that these kinds of coming-of-age films fall victim to, but it's worth the watch not only because of the phenomenal cast, but because it's filled with the truth of what it means to be an adult