Reality Bites :: Monday Movie Moment :: Ensemble movies I love


Reality Bites (1994)


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.” ~ Troy Dyer

For the month of March Monday Movie Moments will feature ensemble cast movies that I love. These are movies that have interlocking characters and stories that are about friendship and love and life, and that make you feel and care about each person, each character, that is central to the story. Some of my most favorite movies are ensemble movies, and on my birthday month of March I wanted to celebrate them because in my life, it is my ensemble of people who make me, shape me, and keep me going.

Reality Bites is the story of a group of friends in the mid-nineties who are post-college and in that on the cusp place of living, or settling for, that “grown-up life”. It is about changing and not changing, about sorting through who you are and what you want, about trying on different parts of yourself to see which fits you, and it is about real friendship, and real love. It also has one hell of a soundtrack.


Lelania Pierce joins my list of favorite fictional female characters, and is one on the list that I relate very much to. When I first saw the film, the boy I was with even commented on how much I reminded him of her, at that time, and how he never felt like he could be my Troy Dyer.
I love her spirit, her conflicts and struggles, her flaws, and her strengths. I love that she persists in surviving, even when her solutions make a bigger mess, and I love her vulnerability, even when it is hard to watch because it feels so close to my heart.


Oh, Troy Dyer, how you crept on into my heart and had me falling in love with you. It happens, you know, falling in love with fictional characters – I have done it a few times, and Troy is right there in good company with Augustus Waters, Jacob Grace, Joel Barish, James Ford, Dean Winchester and, well, Han Solo. Yes, it is my heart’s fate to love the snarky, intelligent, and passionate types, who are often their own worse enemies, or mine.


Vickie is more than just the stereotypical best friend character that we see all too often on film, especially in the romantic comedy genre. No, Vickie is more than that, she is complex, she has her own goals, her own struggles, her own insecurities, and is far more important to the story than just as a plot device to move Lelania’s story along. I love her friendship with Lelania, and the moments we get to see this, like in the car, singing together, and at the diner, talking about life and death, and everything in-between. Their love and friendship is believable, and beautiful, and at times reminds me very much of my closest friends, and our friendships.

The car ride sing-a-long



Sammy and Michael never touched me quite the same, but I know they were integral, as well, and not just in moving the story, either, they just did not connect and affect me in the same way. I do love the scene with Troy, Lelaina, Vickie and Sammy in the gas station, one of my favorite music in movies moments, when they dance to My Sharona in the station’s mini-mart. That small scene speaks volumes of who they are to each other, and how held back Troy is, how distant he tries to keep himself.

My Sharona scene



This part of Lelaina and Troy stayed with me, and always will, as a definining kind of way to live and love. It became a flawed ideal of what I wanted out of love, and in some ways I found it, maybe not with all the elements of it, of their fictional love story, bu definitely big parts of it. When I sit back and look at it, really take it in, I know I still want a “you and me and five bucks” kind of love.

This moment, how much I still relate to Lelaina in this moment is astounding considering I am not 43, not 23.

I don’t know who that is anymore” still gets to me.


All I Want Is You part – gets me every time


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