Reality Bites (Or: We’re on the road to nowhere, but we sure do look fine)

I’ve been craving a good, old-fashioned viewing of Reality Bites lately. Maybe it’s because I just graduated, and am myself currently occupying that floaty, uncertain space known as the cusp of real life. So today I closed the curtains against the world outside, made myself a pot of Kraft Dinner (although I replaced the macaroni with whole wheat spaghetti – that’s how you can tell I’m a grown up now), and settled into a 90s post-adolescent angst kind of afternoon.

I was still a pre-teen when Reality Bites came out in 1994, and it completely shaped my understanding of what being in one’s twenties must be like. This included my understanding of style:

You will wear vintage. Lots of vintage. And cool sunglasses. And shirt-dresses.

Friendship:

You and your fun friends will have awesome dance parties wherever you go.

You will spend lots of time talking about AIDS and laughing in kitschy diners.

“This is all we need. A couple smokes, a cup of coffee, and a little bit of conversation.” Seriously, this image is, to me, the epitome of friendship in your 20s, and hopefully the rest of your life. You can ix-nay the igarettes-cay if you really must (which you should – smoking is gross).

And romance:

Big gulps = major aphrodisiac.

For the most part, these lessons have all proven to be true.

You have already seen my favourite outfits in the form of anything Vickie (Janeane Garofalo) wears. Even as an impressionable youth I could tell that Janeane Garofalo was the coolest person in this movie. She is still among my favourite women ever.

Not that I’m immune to Winona Ryder’s charms. How can you be when Lelaina (WR) shows up looking this adorable?

Honestly, I spent a good deal of this movie marvelling at the prettiness of Winona Ryder’s lip colour(s).

Au naturel(ish) (photo also featuring Vickie in her pitch-perfect early 90s GAP employee outfit/uniform):

Pretty glossy reddish colour:

And my favourite, this amazing kind of matte red colour that looks so so so good:

It makes me wish I liked wearing lipstick. I always try. I go and pick out a lipstick, wear it exactly twice, then abandon it. Oh well.

One of my favourite fashion moments comes with this face off between Troy (Ethan Hawke) and Michael (Ben Stiller):

I absolutely love this scene. Yuppie suit vs. Slacker tee. I can tell I’m getting old because I started to hope Lelaina would end up with Michael. He’s a nice guy! Also, I always forget that Ben Stiller directed this. Way to go Ben Stiller. Please make more sort of subtle comedies.

In keeping with this suit vs. tee death match, I feel I must point out one thing:

Note to greasers everywhere: dude doesn’t get the girl until he wears a suit. His reason for wearing it may not be ideal, but still.

Dressing sharp: it works.


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  1. […] even seen the movie. An excellent example of her mad fashion/movie reviewing skillz is her recent review of Reality Bites.  I’m hoping she’ll take a stab at Singles – a movie I didn’t really love, […]



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