6.6/10
43,250
158 user 51 critic

Reality Bites (1994)

Trailer
2:12 | Trailer
A documentary filmmaker and her fellow Gen X graduates face life after college, looking for work and love in Houston.

Director:

Ben Stiller

Writer:

Helen Childress
Reviews
Popularity
5,000 ( 586)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Singles (1992)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A group of twenty-something friends, most of whom live in the same apartment complex, search for love and success in grunge-era Seattle.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Bridget Fonda, Campbell Scott, Kyra Sedgwick
Mermaids (1990)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An unconventional single mother relocates with her two daughters to a small Massachusetts town in 1963, where a number of events and relationships both challenge and strengthen their familial bonds.

Director: Richard Benjamin
Stars: Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

24 hours in the lives of the young employees at Empire Records when they all grow up and become young adults thanks to each other and the manager. They all face the store joining a chain store with strict rules.

Director: Allan Moyle
Stars: Anthony LaPaglia, Debi Mazar, Maxwell Caulfield
Heathers (1988)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In order to get out of the snobby clique that is destroying her good-girl reputation, an intelligent teen teams up with a dark sociopath in a plot to kill the cool kids.

Director: Michael Lehmann
Stars: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

The life and career of wildly controversial rock 'n' roll star Jerry Lee Lewis.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: Dennis Quaid, Winona Ryder, John Doe
Lucas (1986)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A socially inept fourteen-year-old experiences heartbreak for the first time when his two best friends - Cappie, an older-brother figure, and Maggie, the new girl with whom he is in love - fall for each other.

Director: David Seltzer
Stars: Corey Haim, Kerri Green, Charlie Sheen
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Bride-to-be Finn Dodd hears tales of romance and sorrow from her elders as they construct a quilt.

Director: Jocelyn Moorhouse
Stars: Winona Ryder, Ellen Burstyn, Anne Bancroft
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A small town prepares for the homecoming of superstar Roxy Carmichael, as does a young outsider, who believes Roxy is her mother.

Director: Jim Abrahams
Stars: Winona Ryder, Jeff Daniels, Laila Robins
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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

Director: James Mangold
Stars: Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie, Clea DuVall
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
Boys (1996)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.9/10 X  

Patty Vare falls off a horse and is found unconscious by preparatory school student John Baker. He takes her to his dormitory. As he quickly discovers, she is hiding from something. For ... See full summary »

Director: Stacy Cochran
Stars: Winona Ryder, Lukas Haas, John C. Reilly
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A poor girl must choose between the affections of dating her childhood sweetheart or a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch
Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Winona Ryder ... Lelaina Pierce
Ethan Hawke ... Troy Dyer
Janeane Garofalo ... Vickie Miner
Steve Zahn ... Sammy Gray
Ben Stiller ... Michael Grates
Swoosie Kurtz ... Charlane McGregor
Harry O'Reilly ... Wes McGregor
Susan Norfleet Susan Norfleet ... Helen Anne Pierce
Joe Don Baker ... Tom Pierce
Renée Zellweger ... Tami (as Renee Zellweger)
James Rothenberg James Rothenberg ... Rick
John Mahoney ... Grant Gubler
Eric Morgan Stuart Eric Morgan Stuart ... Damien (as Eric Stuart)
Barry Del Sherman ... Grant's Producer (as Barry Sherman)
Chelsea Lagos ... Troy Groupie
Edit

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 »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Reality Bites See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$11,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,113,050, 20 February 1994

Gross USA:

$20,982,557

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$33,351,557
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene in which Michael and Lelaina discuss the Big Gulp on the back of Michael's car was originally supposed to have the song "Beth" by 'KISS' playing. Ben Stiller couldn't secure the rights to the song so they opted for "Baby I Love Your Way" by Peter Frampton instead. Peter Frampton was an upstairs neighbor of Ben Stiller during filming of the movie. See more »

Goofs

When Troy is singing "I'm Nothing" in the club, his strumming does not match the sound of the acoustic guitar. See more »

Quotes

Troy Dyer: [answering the phone] Hello, you've reached the winter of our discontent.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Australian print only runs 94 minutes, and most notably actors Kevin Pollak and Jeanne Tripplehorn do not appear. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Waiter (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

Let's Talk About Sex
Written by Hurby 'Luv Bug' Azor (as H. Azor)
Performed by Salt-N-Pepa
Courtesy of Next Plateau/London Records USA
By Arrangement with Polygram Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

to think I once felt guilty for being a little disappointed...
20 October 2009 | by dbistolaridisSee all my reviews

I first saw this movie when it came out in the theaters and I was a teenager myself, and I remember feeling a just a little shortchanged and even dirty, like I'd been manipulated in a way. I did enjoy it, but the reasons for enjoying it do not hold up today. Watching it again has been fun because looking at it through adult eyes, I am having fun seeing how easy it is to spot the dated qualities and outmoded philosophies that, as one reviewer said, were pretty much defunct by 2000, or maybe even by 1995-6.

And it's not like I was some profound kid who had all this insight how mass media sells these ideas to young people...I bought into the whole "Seattle grunge" thing lock, stock and barrel, I thought guys with stringy unwashed hair and bad attitudes were totally hot, I wore crocheted vests, mood rings, and colored sunglasses with the best of them. So me thinking that something did not ring true must have been because it is pretty obvious that this movie is in essence a failure.

1. The characters-The movie works really hard to make Troy be the better option for Leilana. For teenagers, he was totally sexy to watch on screen and totally swoon worthy, but his utterly obnoxious attitude, his rudeness to Ben Stiller's character, and his bullying just came off as unpleasant at the least, and his philosophy for not working are textbook definitions of a narcissist. Hearing some of his pseudo intellectual discussions are painful and embarrassing, because it is clear that the movie feels that young Gen X'ers embrace and admire such outlooks unequivocally and at face value. And kids were supposed to identify with this person? What an inconsiderate person, to stand up Leilana's father for the job interview and lead her to blame herself, and to embarrass women around him for being attracted to him. Any good friend and countless therapists would advise against having him as a boyfriend. The sad few seconds devoted to his dying father are not enough to redeem him or "understand" him.

Bottom line, if Ethan Hawke was supposed to make this person somewhat sympathetic, he failed, or if he truly was supposed to be this unlikable, then good work.

Leilana did come off as sympathetic and overall was well played by Winona, and her beauty is the one of the few things in this movie with true staying power. Her character does some pretty awful things, though. When her boss rudely rebuffs her video ideas, she humiliates him on air. When her friend offers her a job, she snaps at her. Instead of swallowing her pride and working at the gap for a bit, she resorts to the embarrassing "gas card" scene, which we are supposed to think is cute and rebellious. It is totally unconvincing that a "valedictorian" would ever be so irresponsible and immature, even if she had fallen on bad times.

As for the other two, they are both well acted and likable, but seem to be added on simply to achieve a gritty "90's" edge, like HIV testing and coming out to your parents. Neither subplot is developed enough to give this movie the edge it craves. Both are attractive and funny, and Vicky especially projects a friendliness, sympathy, and is cute as hell in those throwback clothes.

2. The Michael stuff really is a failure. Ben Stiller did a good job acting in this movie and came across as warm and real, but this movie is his work too. I guess a simple plot device would have been to make him more arrogant from the get-go so that he could seem like the "bad guy" but that would have been cheap. Either way, the movie does seem like it's trying to convince you that he either "betrays" Leilana or "doesn't understand her" the way Troy does, and it doesn't work. Those two had a positive chemistry and seemed to complement each other as characters. To make this a true coming of age and growing up story, Leilana should have either chosen Michael, who emphasizes growing up, taking responsibility for your actions, and change for the better, or decided to be on her own for a while to become a more mature person.

3. The biggest failure of this movie, and in my opinion, the most dangerous, is how it elevates Troy's attitude as the noble one above all, as if being narcissistic and self-involved are desirable. Being that he is the hot guy of the movie and that the other characters seem to respond so positively to him, a young teenager is left with the message that this is the "new" way to be and that Michael's responsible and kind persona are "hypocritical" or "selling out." Leaving the theater back in '94, I was enjoying myself thinking about the romance between two good looking and stylish characters, but I couldn't really get into that part as much as I should have. Since I also really wanted to be cool and up to date, I was wondering if I should be acting or living like any of these characters, living in a flat with a guy who mooches off me, sleeping around with strangers, dancing at the gas station, etc. The movies have a lot more influence on young people than one thinks.

In my gut, I felt two things: a-My parents would be horrified if I brought friends like that around and more frighteningly, b-I secretly would agree with them.


47 of 63 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 158 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed