Newest Reviews
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Newest Articles
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
  Reality Bites Generation Wrecks
Year: 1994
Director: Ben Stiller
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn, Ben Stiller, Swoosie Kurtz, Joe Don Baker, John Mahoney, Harry O'Reilly, Renée Zellweger, Andy Dick, Keith David, Anne Meara, Afton Smith, David Spade, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Evan Dando, Karen Duffy
Genre: Comedy, Drama, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  2 (from 1 vote)
Review: When Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder) gave her speech at her university graduation she was railing against rampant consumerism and the evils that the older generation had got the younger one, her one, stuck with, except that when she got to the end of it she found she had lost her final cue card and could not deliver her solution to the crowd, offering a flustered "I don't know" that received a cheer. One post-graduation celebration later and she was left in a house with her roommates with a thankless job as assistant to chat show host Grant Gubler (John Mahoney) - not where she wanted to be...

When Reality Bites was initially set loose upon an unsuspecting world in the mid-nineties, it was evident that all involved in its manufacture were hoping to capture that dreaded term, the zeitgest, and for many it was the film that summed up Generation X as it was living its life at the time; or slightly before the time, as it was observed it was already dated by the point it came out. Certainly it had its fans, but even then there were an army of naysayers who judged Ben Stiller's feature directing debut as a misstep in a career that had been promising beforehand, and watching it now it has not aged well; in fact, it looks positively dreadful.

It was easy to take down this as an example of the most facile chasing of the youth market since... well, since whatever was released immediately prior to this, but what made this less comfortable as a target was the fact that it had been written by a nineteen-year-old girl, Helen Childress, who significantly never had another script produced. So when it all comes over as clunky, embarrassing and downright infuriating, the knowledge of the writer's then-youthfulness did stop the blood boiling and left it with the excuse that yeah, it probably would seem better to you if you'd conjured it from the mind of a teenage girl. Except that Stiller for one had some years of experience in this industry.

Actually, his debut was precisely the kind of thing that his television comedy shows would have sent up mercilessly, so why couldn't he see how terrible this was when he was shooting it? From the first scene, where you wonder why Lelaina has forgotten the big ending of the speech she presumably wrote herself, to the love triangle between the square TV exec Michael (Stiller) and the hip aspiring rock singer Troy (Ethan Hawke) and our flaky heroine, all of this had a tin ear for dialogue and a grating sense of smug personality. Lelaina is planning her big break in television, and to do this she obsessively videos her friends mouthing banalities which she edits together as a show reel.

That's one thing that Reality Bites got right, the need for the new generation to express itself through technology and pop culture, so perhaps Childress was right on the money as to what we would be watching as this lot got jobs in the media and everyone's thoughts were broadcast for anyone to idly digest; what this really needed was for the internet to be widepsread, but it didn't warrant a mention in 1994. Instead, there was a steady stream of references to TV shows, pop music and drinks cartons that pass for depth, something that in better hands would be the source of a savvy wit, but here look like desperate attempts at making a connection simply by bringing them up in the glibly navel-gazing conversations the characters take part in. The main thing this captured was not so much how we all lived back then, but how annoying just about everything must have been if we had taken the time to notice.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2930 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf


Last Updated: