Reality Bites wasn’t the biggest blockbuster of the 1990s, not even remotely close. In fact, a drama called Blue Chips starring then-NBA star Shaquille O’Neal beat it at the box office in its opening weekend in February 1994. But 25 years after the film’s premiere, the comedy about four friends in Houston trying to navigate their lives post-college graduation still resonates for an entire generation. “Everyone loves it,” star Winona Ryder says. “It’s a universal story.”
It also features the most hipster fashion, pop-culture references and soundtrack this side of Slackerville. Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo, screenwriter Helen Childress and director (and costar) Ben Stiller reunited on Saturday, May 4, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the seminal film with a screening and Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival in downtown New York City. (Bonus: Lisa Loeb performed her hit “Stay” over the closing credits.)
“This is a really emotional moment for me,” Stiller, 53, shared, adding that it marked his feature-length directorial debut.
Though nobody broke out into a dance-off to “My Sharona,” plenty of memories and laughs were shared. Here’s what we learned: