I mentioned a month or so ago that one of my favorite movies is Reality Bites. Back in the nineties I lived and breathed this movie. I wanted to be Winona Ryder's Lelaina. For some stupid reason, I could relate.
Well last night, after having not seen the movie for 12 or so years, I watched it and I gotta say....this movie SUCKS! What did I ever see in this film?!?! The story is thin and the whole premise is just lame.
The thing that bothers me the most is the way Lelaina somehow feels she is forced to choose between Troy (Ethan Hawke---more later about how much I hate him) and Michael (Ben Stiller). Troy is a lazy, pretentious, idiot who thinks he is a lot smarter than he actually is. Michael doesn't think he's all that smart or clever but is still basically a dope---well, a dope with a good job. Wow---such appealing options. Why couldn't Lelaina see that both of these men are idiots who are totally wrong for her and just stay single a bit longer? I am certainly not an optimist when it comes to life but even I feel that life gives you more than two choices and you shouldn't feel you have to choose between the lesser of whatever two evils show up on your doorstep. Even though I thought this was a major flaw in the movie, I was trying to overlook it and rekindle my love with the rest of it. But I couldn't.
In places where this movie could have done some real good, it just sort of dropped the ball. For instance, Vickie (Janeane Garofalo), who is kinda slutty, has a friend who tests positive for HIV so she decides to get tested too. Long story short, she's negative but then we hear nothing more about her! We don't know if she changes her ways, she seems to just completely fall out of the movie.
The same thing basically happened to gay, celibate Sammy. He comes out to his mom and she doesn't take it well, throwing him out of the house. Other than a scene where he's sitting in a diner talking to another guy, we don't find anything else out about him.
Back to Ethan Hawke. Being of the generation that I am, I've always felt obligated to like him. It's expected of me. But as I watched this movie I realized that I've always wanted to like him much more than I actually like him. I hate him. He spends the entire movie greasy and unwashed which is somehow suppose to equate artsy rebellion. I'm not feeling it.
Maybe I hated this movie so much because I'm no longer young and I know that life sucks and it's only going to get a whole lot harder for Lelaina. In ten years, when she's had two kids, is working full time, and Troy STILL isn't working----that's when Reality really starts to Bite. This movie took two people with actual problems, Vickie and Sammy, and shoved them to the side and forced us to watch Lelaina manage her petty problem of choosing a boy.