Reality Bites is the seminal coming-of-age tale centered on Lelaina (Ryder), who films a documentary about herself and her friends as they flounder in their attempts to create meaningful relationships and careers. Released in 1994, the comedy became a moderate hit grossing about $33 million in the box office but has achieved cult status in the years since.
Ryder played Lelaina Pierce, a budding filmmaker who falls in love with Troy Dyer (Ethan Hawke). Ryder would also go on to star in Little Women the same year Reality Bites was released, and followed it up with performances in Boys; The Crucible; Girl, Interrupted; and Mr. Deeds among others. She currently stars as Joyce Byers in the hit Netflix series Stranger Things.
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Hawke portrayed Troy, a guitarist who spends his time making a living playing at coffee houses and with part-time jobs. Hawke has worked on a slew of other films since then including Before Sunrise, Training Day, Before Sunset, Lord of War, The Purge and more recently in the 2017 film First Reformed.
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On top of directing Reality Bites, Stiller portrayed Michael Grates a TV executive who Ryders’ character begins a personal and working relationship with in the film. Reality Bites was a small film the actor was involved in compared to the mega hits that followed such as Meet the Parents, Along Came Polly, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tropic Thunder and Night at the Museum to name a few.
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Garofalo starred as Lelaina’s friend, Vickie, who — through a series of one-night stands — becomes concerned she could have contracted the HIV virus. As a comedian, Garofalo was a cast member of The Ben Stiller Show, The Larry Sanders Show and Saturday Night Live. She also appeared in Wet Hot American Summer, Sweethearts, The Independent and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion alongside Lisa Kudrow and Mira Sorvino. She also voiced Sally Reardon, Felicity Porter’s mentor on the hit show Felicity.
Zahn played Sammy Gray, a friend of Lelaina and Vickie, who lived life as a closeted gay man before coming out to his conservative parents. Zahn is probably best known for his roles in Riding in Cars with Boys, Shattered Glass, Out of Sight, You’ve Got Mail,Dallas Buyers Club and War for the Planet of the Apes.
The veteran actor starred as TV host Grant Gubler, Lelaina’s obnoxious and rude boss. Mahoney passed away in February 2018 at the age of 77. He was best known for portraying the blue-collar patriarch Martin Crane in the sitcom Frasier.