Reality Bites explored the lives of four generation-x college graduates looking for work and love in Houston, Texas. The main character (played by Winona Ryder) is an aspiring film-maker who documents their lives, hoping to make a film from the footage. The film was released in early 1994, when i was 25 years old.
I'm simply not sure whether I am remembering this correctly or not, so perhaps my fellow gen-xers can help me out. I remember watching this movie and thinking OH MY GOD, SOMEBODY FINALLY GETS ME! THIS IS MY LIFE! THIS IS SO GREAT! ETHAN HAWKE IS SO AMAZING AND DISTANT AND COOL AND MISUNDERSTOOD, I WANT TO DATE SOMEONE JUST LIKE HIM! WINONA RYDER IS SO BORED AND SMART AND SARCASTIC AND UNDERVALUED - I'M SURE I'M JUST LIKE HER! I'm so GLAD they got back together at the end! That's JUST how it works out in REAL LIFE, when the boy FINALLY realizes he screwed up, and he comes back changed, loving and PERFECT and after that they stay together FOREVER!
I didn't watch it again for years, but I carried around this memory of a movie that had encapsulated my life at that time MOST perfectly. I'd refer to it from time to time fondly, reminiscing about the plot as though I was reminiscing about my own memories.
Last night I watched this film again, for the first time in fifteen years (in two weeks, it will be the fifteenth anniversary of its release).
OH MY FREAKING GOD. The SHALLOWNESS of the characters! The INSIPIDNESS of their lives! The TRANSPARENCE of Ethan Hawke's ridiculous detached facade! The HORROR of Winona Ryder's acting! The TRITENESS and PREDICTABILITY and CERTAINTY OF RELATIONSHIP DOOM of the final reunion love scene!
The only saving grace was Janeane Garofalo. Her character was at least SOMEWHAT three-dimensional, and she was, as always, brilliant. Why didn't I want to be HER??
I'm not certain what upsets me more.. the fact that I was so FREAKING naive at 25 (was that SERIOUSLY my life???) .. or the fact that I'm so UNREMITTINGLY cynical at 40.