reality bitesUniversal
1994
PG-13

“At the beep, please leve your name, number, and a brief justification for the ontological necessity of modern man’s existential dilemma, and we’ll get back to you.”

A small circle of friends suffering from post-collegiate blues must confront the hard truth about life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment. As they struggle to map out survival guides for the future, the Gen-X quartet soon begins to realize that reality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.

Ah, the 1990s. The decade of pretentiousness, covered with a shellac of false altruism. The time of the late 20th Century where cynicism became a fashion accessory, and everyone became willfully ignorant of their own rank hypocrisy. And the music sucked, too.

That is to say, there’s not a lot about the 1990s that hold fond memories for me. Maybe the first two years or so–’90 thru ’92–but that was when the decade was young and still shaking off the hangover from the ’80s. Otherwise, regardless of being part of the so-called “Generation X” that the news media foisted upon our age group, I still scratch my head whenever I hear someone claim that the ’90s was the greatest decade of the 20th Century. There were some bright spots, certainly, but overall, no thanks.

Which brings me to this review of the movie Reality Bites. I had originally watched this movie in the second-run theater, back in 1994, when the ticket price there was $1.50, and a small bag of popcorn ran about $5. After watching it, I was rather ambivalent as to whether I liked it or not. Essentially, my thought process was along the lines of, “Well, it was a movie, by golly.”

Revisiting Reality Bites twenty-five years after the fact, I still find myself rather unmoved with the movie. At best, Reality Bites is essentially a long episode of Friends without the wit or humor and interesting characters. The irony being that Friends debuted a few months later that same year. At worst, this is an uninteresting dramady that tries a bit too hard to be smart, relying on the kind of insipid bumper sticker philosophies that was rampant in that decade. Not that things have changed much nowadays, mind you.

Overall, Reality Bites is the perfect encapsulation of everything I despised about the ’90s. I’m sure there are those who disagree. I’m sure you look on this decade–and this movie–with fondness. You might want to have those nostalgia cataracts removed from your memory, there.

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