Reality Bites — Wow, that didn’t age well. In the 90s, it seemed to have something to say about searching for meaning in life, but now, I think it was more just seeing people my age on screen. IMDB says that screenwriter Helen Childress was in her first year of college when she wrote this, which explains a lot.
Whatever happened to Ethan Hawke? Why bother to put Steve Zahn in this movie? (He’s wasted, since he gets like three scenes and his role seems there just to say “gay people’s parents don’t always accept them”.) Why is Winona Ryder dressing like a 30s farm wife? Have never-ending pop culture references in the place of meaningful thought always been that annoying?
It’s hard to enjoy what is at core a romance when you think the girl makes the wrong choice. Ethan’s character seems dreamy when you’re young — he’s in a band, he knows her soooooo well (or so she thinks), he’s cute in a scruffy living-on-your-couch kind of way — but once you grow up, you wonder just how long he’ll stick around until he wanders off somewhere else. Plus, loser artist gets boring after a while. Ben Stiller’s young exec is slick, incoherent, and clueless, but he also seems to have more honest feeling underneath.
One of the key scenes in hte movie is how Winona’s character flunks a job interview at a newspaper when she can’t define “irony”. How ironic is it, then, that the trailer for this film strongly resembles what the MTV-like channel cuts her “meaningful” documentary into.
Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” is still way cool, and the interview with her on the disc is informative.