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Reality Bites

3.9 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Ben Stiller (directing his first feature film) star in this wildly romantic comedy that looks at life, love and the pursuit of gainful employment through the eyes of a generation sandwiched somewhere between The Brady Bunch and Melrose Place! As her college valedictorian, Lelaina Pierce (Ryder) should be destined for greatness. In reality she is a lowly production assistant for an obnoxious TV morning show host (John Mahoney). In her free time, Lelaina is making a biting, often outrageous video documentary about her peers: promiscuous, '70's-crazed roommate Vickie (Janeane Garafalo), sexually repressed Sammy (Steve Zahn) and best friend Troy (Hawke), a brilliant but unmotivated rebel. Meanwhile, Lelaina meets Michael (Stiller), an ambitious video executive who wants to showcase her documentary on "In Your Face TV." Suddenly, she finds herself at the center of a very odd love triangle with dependable, fast-track Michael on the one side and a sexy, brooding Troy on the other.

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers
  • Theatrical Trailer

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Steve Zahn
    • Directors: Ben Stiller
    • Writers: Helen Childress
    • Producers: Danny DeVito, Michael Shamberg
    • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      PG-13
      Parental Guidance Suggested
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: July 21, 1998
    • Run Time: 99 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 0783227922
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,740 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Reality Bites" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Andrew Ellington VINE VOICE on August 29, 2008
    Format: DVD
    I think that `Reality Bites' has been unfairly labeled as thin and hollow. I actually feel as though the film tackles its issues with grace and delicacy, handling the subject in a way that feels complete when the credits begin to roll. The film was never meant to be a weighty message type film but more a relaxed look at real concerns of the youths of the 90's (or `Generation X'). For what it sets out to do, I think `Reality Bites' works very well. When you couple the finely crafted script with the exceptional cast and Ben Stiller's surprisingly attune direction you have a very entertaining and satisfying cinematic experience.

    The film follows a group of friends after they graduate from college and struggle to decide what to do with their lives. Their lives in general are being documented by Lelaina, an aspiring filmmaker. She passes around her video camera asking her friends intimate questions and capturing their every moment on film in order to document the struggles of the average young adult. Her friends include the promiscuous Vickie (Garofalo in a sublime supporting performance), the slacker Troy and the closeted Sammy. Together they make for an interesting group, and when you add in Michael Grates, a video executive who takes a liking to Lelaina after a fender-bender causes them to meet.

    The script allows the cast to really sink into the issues their breed of young adult faces in a world that is not ready to accept them despite the fact that they are finely crafted. They are over-educated and under-appreciated and cast into a world that doesn't `get' them. Each actor really grabs hold of their character and delivers a strong and passionate performance. Janeane Garofalo is wonderful as Vickie, really getting the sense of her characters fears and ambitions.
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    "Reality Bites" is a movie that I found (and still find) to be very close to the real life experiences people who leave the safety of college face. If you are in your late 30s or early 40s and kinda settled in your ways and job, you probably won't get this movie anymore. You are too grown up and the issues these mid-20 something kids are facing will seem trivial and nonsensical to you. Heck, even the actors, in the movie's "special features" section - especially Steve Zahn and Ethan Hawke, as well as Ben Stiller - don't really get the characters they played 16 years ago anymore. They talk about how childish their struggles in retrospect seem to have been and how bratty and ungrateful they find their characters now that they themselves have reached their mid-late 30s, early 40s and apparently figured out what life is all about: "having a career or something..." I guess that's where the true tragedy lies: no longer being able to identify with your idealistic, hopeful, driven young self of the past anymore.

    This movie is about four friends who face life - Reality - right after college. Leleina's (Winon Ryder) speech at the beginning of the movie about what her generation is going to do with the damage they have inherited and a poignant "I dont know" as a response sum it up pretty well. She is the valedictorian of her college and an aspiring documentary film maker. She walks around with her camera filming her friends, asking them lots of personal and intimate questions about themselves and life in order to eventually create a documentary that will mean something. She wants to make a difference in the world and just like any hopeful college student, was imagining that she would "be somebody" after all the hard work she put in thus far.
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    1 Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    ...but I found that I still liked it. I watched it with my girlfriend (it was her choice), but we later broke up. But don't cry for me, because she fell asleep during The Big Lebowski, so the relationship was clearly doomed anyway.
    Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    It was fun. The script wasn't bad. It is a pretty cliche type of film.

    Spoiler Alert: Woman is treated like crap by a jerk and treated pretty respectfully by a nice guy... guess which one she chooses? The jerk of coarse. Though this does happen sometimes in real life especially with girls who are model types (I think the modeling business really whittles down the self-esteem of many women because the guys they choose are often complete tools) that's not really a reflection of reality for the most part. Whatever it is she saw in that guy I still don't understand even after watching the movie.
    Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    I wanted this DVD to add to my collection of Winona Ryder movies. The movie is fine but I just did a quick check of the DVD and in my opinion, the sharpness is a little soft. This usually occurs when too much "bonus material" is added (exceeding compression limits), or as in this case, indifference is shown during the transfer process.

    Don't get me wrong, the DVD is perfectly viewable, but I have seen other DVD's of similar length and features that were nearly Blu-Ray in sharpness. They could have done it better. Still, it's entirely adequate and typical of most transfers.
    Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: DVD
    I LOVE this movie. Its definitely one of my favorite go-to movies, although I don't think it was/is a very popular one. Maybe I like it because I'm a girl, (my husband doesn't really like it, but loves Ben Stiller so I made him watch it) but I think both sexes would be entertained by it. A perfect, early 90's-era flick about the lives of young 20-somethings. I think it has a really good cast of characters and is very entertaining!
    1 Comment 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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