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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Reality does bite, SOMETIMES

CHANNEL SURFING - Althea Lauren Ricardo -

HBO has been airing Ben Stiller’s Reality Bites. So far, I’ve caught it twice. I graduated high school in 1994, the year the movie Reality Bites was released. Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke), Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder), Vickie Miner (Janeane Garofalo), and Sammy Gray (Steve Zahn) pretty much set the tone for my post-university expectations even before I set foot in university, which pretty much set the tone for the experience I expected from university. Looking back, though, I realize that wasn’t always a good thing.

Let’s begin with Troy Dyer, who ruined me for all potential college romance. I was supposed to fall in love with a guy who played guitar for a band, preferably someone who was a little bit of a slacker despite being extremely smart, someone who was always poetic, even when fighting with me. He had to have long hair and fear and hurt and a dash of arrogance in his eyes. Heck, he had to be Ethan Hawke. In whichever of his artsy movies.

So, let’s just say I didn’t meet an Ethan Hawke, though I was always on the lookout for him. I did fall in love with a poet who played guitar for a band who was a little bit of a slacker despite being devastatingly smart. He had long hair, and fear and hurt and a dash of arrogance in his eyes. Unfortunately, he was always on the lookout for a Lelaina Pierce.

In college, our friends and I sometimes fancied ourselves to be like the lost foursome in Reality Bites. We refused to be sellouts; we didn’t want to feed the machine like Troy Dyer. I wasn’t about to steal a Snickers bar and rationalize the act away by concluding that the world owed me something, but well, we raged against convention and conventionality. When I found out that my college love hadn’t seen Reality Bites despite having a huge crush on Winona Ryder circa Edward Scissorhands, we decided to hold a film screening just for him.

And he hated it. He laughed at lines like, “I have this planet of regret sitting on my shoulders.” Even if the succeeding lines are still what kill me every time I watch this movie: “And you have no idea how much I wish that I could go back to that morning after we made love and do everything different. But I know that I can’t, so I thought that I would come here and tell you something. And what I wanted to tell you…was that I love you. And, uh… just wanted to make sure that that was clear…so that there wasn’t any confusion.”

It was already 2008 when he saw it. Angst was dead. Back then, even I agreed with him that their interpersonal dramas and rage were on their way out. Troy and his crew already seemed pretentious, with lines like: “There’s no point to any of this. It’s all just a... a random lottery of meaningless tragedy and a series of near escapes. So I take pleasure in the details. You know... a Quarter-Pounder with cheese, those are good, the sky about ten minutes before it starts to rain, the moment where your laughter become a cackle... and I, I sit back and I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt.”

But watching it now in 2011 brings back a lot of memories... and thoughts of things that were very important then that aren’t important now, but should be. Like the details I have chucked out as my being part of—gasp!—the machine. Reality has bitten me.

I should take pleasure in the details more. For me, that would be raindrops in one corner of the house, where I keep my four-leaf bay leaf plant. Breakfasts with my mother. The edge of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Long bus rides to god-knows-where... and I wish I could say I would smoke my Marlboro Lights, but that movie made smoking cool and it is not!

With that, I leave you with my favorite line from the film: “This is all we need. A couple smokes, a cup of coffee, and a little bit of conversation. You and me and five bucks.”

Email your comments to [email protected]. You can also visit my personal blog at http://althearicardo.blogspot.com. You can text your comments again to (63)9179164421.

BEN STILLER

BUT I

CAMEL STRAIGHTS AND I

EDWARD SCISSORHANDS

ETHAN HAWKE

JANEANE GAROFALO

LELAINA PIERCE

REALITY BITES

TROY DYER

WINONA RYDER

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