2002.11.21 – a movie changed my life

Can a movie change your life? It may sound trite, but it can happen. Once the lights go down in the theatre, anything is possible. That is why they call it the “silver screen”, isn’t it?

My first year of college wasn’t the finest time of my life. I commuted 60 minutes round trip per day and being a freshman wasn’t easy if you didn’t live on campus. Add to this, I was a music geek. Being a “geek” of any sort doesn’t lend itself well to the “make friends and influence people” attitude that is fed to kids in their senior year of high school.

This is where “Reality Bites” comes in. My salvation. I would come home from work or school, pop that worn out copy of the movie in, press play and feel relieved. I knew the characters, I knew the dialogue, I saw myself in Vicki (played by Janeane Garofalo) and it made me happy, even if for only 90 minutes.

After the movie ended each night, I knew that I would be able to face another day of voice lessons and humanities lectures. I knew that I would meet new people and develop lasting friendships. It took time, but it happened and without my time spent with Winona, Ethan, Janeane, Steve and Ben, I wouldn’t have functioned quite as well in my real life.

I have moved on now and I don’t relate to characters in movies in the way that I used to. Occasionally I feel moved or I can see a resemblance to my own life, but it is never as apparent as it was with “Reality Bites”.

Some of you out there may be asking, “Why?” “What is it about this movie that made my life so wonderful?” To be truthful, I cannot explain it. It was a feeling of that time and even now when I watch it I have difficulty recapturing that sense of security I originally felt. It is also very personal. Judging from the looks I get when I tell people that my favourite movie is “Reality Bites” and that it changed my life, I realize that it was something that only I (and perhaps a few close friends at the time) felt. One thing I know with great certainty is that this movie gave me a wider perception of my generation. “Reality Bites” portrayed characters as being resistant to commercialism, while also being slaves to the media. It gave me a sense of the consumer attitude around me at the time and it helped me to gain some perspective of that.

In time we will see what effect “Generation X” has on the future. Hopefully my peers will contribute more than great movies and new technology. I just feel honoured to be in a group that has so much to offer the world. As I grow old I know I will be able to look back with fondness on my nights spent on the couch, curled up with my favourite movie, analyzing every word and learning more and more about pop culture with every viewing. As I stated at the top, it may sound trite, but this movie changed my life. Saved me even. It gave me a reason to continue with my goals and strive for something better than low level commercial consumption.

Peace –

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