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Reality Bites (1994)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 31,158 users  
Reviews: 142 user | 42 critic

Generation X Graduates face life after college with a filmmaker looking for work and love in Houston.

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Title: Reality Bites (1994)

Reality Bites (1994) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Based on writer Susanna Kaysen's account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the 1960s.

Director: James Mangold
Stars: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Harry O'Reilly ...
Susan Norfleet ...
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Tami (as Renee Zellweger)
James Rothenberg ...
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Eric Morgan Stuart ...
Damien (as Eric Stuart)
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Grant's Producer (as Barry Sherman)
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Storyline

In this study of Generation X manners, Lelaina, the valedictorian of her college class, camcords her friends in a mock documentary of posteducation life. Troy is her best friend, a perpetually unemployed musical slacker. Vickie is a manager at the Gap who worries about the results of an AIDS test, while Sammy has problems grappling with his sexuality. When Lelaina meets Michael, an earnest video executive who takes her homemade video to his MTV-like station, she must decide what she values--the materialism of yuppie Michael or the philosophical musings of Troy. Written by Rick Gregory <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A comedy about love in the '90s.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some language, drug content and sensuality | See all certifications »

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La dura realidad  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$20,982,557 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lelaina (Winona Ryder) sabotages Grant Gubler's ('John Mahoney') program by tampering with his cue cards. At the beginning of the film, when delivering her Valedictorian speech at the Graduation ceremony, she herself experiences some cue card trouble, the end of her speech has gone missing ("The answer is.... I don't know.") See more »

Goofs

At one point, the characters are drinking Big Gulps from 7-Eleven. This would have been impossible in Houston in the early 1990s. All Houston-area 7-Elevens (269 total) were acquired by National Convenience Stores (parent company of Stop'n'Go) in October 1987, which was later consolidated by Diamond Shamrock (National Convenience Stores and Diamond Shamrock entered into a buyout agreement in November 1995). Valero Energy Corporation now owns the assets of Diamond Shamrock since 2001. To get a Big Gulp (prior to September 2013), they would have had to drive 109 miles to Smithville, Texas - the easternmost location of a 7-Eleven in the state east of Interstate 35. 7-Eleven Inc. owned/operated stores including those corporate-owned in Texas, prior to December 31, 2012 were limited to Austin and Dallas-Fort Worth metro areas along the Interstate 35 corridor - its West Texas stores are operated under license by Alon USA's Southwest Convenience Stores retail division. As of January 2, 2013, 7-Eleven acquired the retail assets of the C.L. Thomas Petroleum Carriers and TETCO where the existing Speedy Stop and TETCO stores are being remodeled as 7-Elevens, officially reintroducing the brand to Southeast Texas - with several locations in the outlying area of the Houston Metro region. As of early 2014, the closest 7-Eleven to the Houston, TX metro area is located in Edna, TX off U.S. 59. See more »

Quotes

Lelaina Pierce: Hey, Sammy, what's your goal?
Sammy: My goal is... I'd like a career or something.
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Soundtracks

Murder
Written by Travis Lane
Performed by KMC
Courtesy of Priority Records, Inc.
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User Reviews

 
No one can eat fifty eggs.
5 October 1999 | by (Ky, USA) – See all my reviews

Although I technically fall into the skipped-over demographic that lies between Generation X-- the target audience for this film-- and the Dawson's Creek trolls, I find myself having a strange affinity for "Reality Bites."

By far its greatest attraction, at least for someone like me, is its unabashed cynicism, which somehow manages to avoid becoming tiresome, even as the plot drags on and on and on toward oblivion. "Reality Bites" certainly does mean well, even if it intent is somewhat lost in the execution.

Unfortunately, this movie could not be any more overwrought, and it ultimately "angsts" itself into a very deep hole. Particularly frustrating is Ethan Hawke's character, a pseudo-philosopher who revels in his own delusions of nobility, when, in fact, he'd be a helluva lot better off just getting up off of his bum and trying to do something meaningful, instead of just moping around making pithy little comments that add up to exactly _jack_.

And Winona Ryder's character, although purportedly the film's protagonist, is just too whiney! It's very difficult for even the most jaded viewer to develop sympathy for her struggle to "find herself" or whatever it is she's trying to do.

Janeane Garofalo manages to save the film, though. Just the idea of someone like Janeane attempting to work at the Gap... it carries the movie through its many self-absorbed flaws.

But, for all of its shortcomings, "Reality Bites" has somehow managed to DEFINE a large segment of a generation-- how it holds up over time will be an interesting test of its worth. Still, it's difficult to imagine that Ethan's trite little musings, however "deep" they were intended to sound, will impress people even five years from now.

Rating: 7 out of 10, which seems inflated, even to me. But I've given out lots of 5s and 6s (my voting has a nice bell-curve pattern...), and "Reality Bites," at the very least, attempts to say something more than the vast majority of films, so I must give it some credit. And the performances, although it would be a stretch to say that ANY members of this cast were challenged by their roles here, are impressive. Some great scenes and one-liners, as well. Like 50 eggs, "Reality Bites" will go down more smoothly if broken down into smaller viewings, so you don't choke on all of the angst at once.


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