Reality Bites At 25: Still A Pretentious Load Of Crap
It’s probably due to the wisdom that comes with age, but I came to a realization. Certain movies are bound to age well like fine wine, while others get ruined by the time that passed. While it was considered as a anthem for the Gen-X in the 90’s, the time was not kind to the movie and the legacy that it left behind.
Reality Bites falls in the second category I’m afraid, and it didn’t sit well with me after I saw it again yesterday. The movie cast and crew celebrated the 25 years anniversary by having a reunion at the Tribeca film festival, and I just had to give it a new chance to change my mind. That it was not a load of a pretentious, superficial load of crap.
But looking back at the movie’s legacy, I have to agree that Reality Bites was, in fact, a big pretentious mess. I know I know… I get it. You’re probably thinking. But you’re a Millennial. How can you possibly relate to that generation? To the struggles and the hardships of the Gen-X. I can’t really. But from my point of view, right here in 2019, I can safely say that almost every single character in that movie was an obnoxious asshole that pissed me of more than I can even tell you. Lelaina and Troy being the biggest culprits. Oh my good.
Talk about a whiny self-absorbed, slacking, entitled bunch of idiots. In fact, I’m glad they ended up together (spoiler) in the end. They deserved each other. You know why? Because literally, no one else would be able to put up their bullshit. They’re two identical versions of themselves with the sole difference of having a penis and vagina.
But you’re right. I was a child in the ’90s. Sheltered by most of the dangers in that era. The looming dangers of AIDS, the very hostile homophobia and the shunning that the homophobia eventually brought to so many families. I lived through all that with pink colored glasses on my eyes. I didn’t understand many of those things back in the ’90s, and I’m the first to admit that. But most of the movies from that area somehow brought the possibility of dating a nihilistic, sarcastic, unemployed quasi-philosopher man-child disguised in the body of a 20 something-year-old grown man. Or the uptight yappie that at least owns a car, an apartment and has a steady job. And Reality Bites is one of those movies for sure. So… The constantly unemployable anti-materialistic douche that thinks he’s a god’s gift to women… Or a younger version of your dad who doesn’t really understand you but hey… It’s just a minor character flaw. I guess those seem to be the only two options in the 90’s movies. The high maintenance douche and the low maintenance corporate poster-child.
And you know what? Even in my 20’s (heck even in my teenage years), I would have picked the Michael type. Sure he was a slightly uptight yuppie, but at least he had a job and was reliable for pretty much everything. And I get it. I worked a menial deadbeat job right after college. Who hasn’t? On one occasion I swallowed my pride and accepted financial help from my parents. But my biggest pet peeve about the Troy character was the rude awakening and the realization of his wasted youth that came after the death of his father. Really asshole? You weren’t awakened prior to that? You slept on other people’s couches for Pete’s sake.
And personality wise, Vicky was probably the only character that appeared as a somewhat grown up. She had a steady job; she even managed to get a promotion and was responsible with money. Sure she was promiscuous but hey, nobody’s perfect. She even managed to give a great pep-talk to Lelaina, make her get off the sofa, and apply herself.
And we Millennials put up a lot of crap these days. We get blamed for basically everything, and we’re being labeled as lazy, unmotivated entitled snowflakes. To which I say… Have you seen Reality Bites? The snowflakes existed prior to the Millennial generation too.
Reality Bites really captured them in all their glory (or lack thereof). And yes… Reality Bites remains one of the most pretentious, pieces of movie history. I can’t fathom why on earth somebody would call these characters revolutionary. They’re the 90’s version of the Millennials. Confused, cocky and full of piss and vinegar. Thinking they’re god’s gift to humanity, while in reality they’re scared shit-less little assholes that have no clue about what to do with their lives.