Four friends who recently graduated from college live together in Houston, Texas.Coffee-house guitarist Troy Dyer and budding filmmaker Lelaina Pierce are attracted to each other, although they have not acted on their feelings save for one brief, drunken encounter.“You’re not telling the truth in regards to the facts of their life, you’re making art of their life, which is a slightly different thing.But you have to do it with a tremendous amount of love — and with Chet, I found that really easy.” Hawke stumbled upon the film more than 15 years after he was already working on a similar movie about the life of a younger Baker.
“When you’re playing a person who really lived and breathed on this Earth, there’s a part of you that has to just love them,” Hawke said.It stars Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke and Stiller, with supporting roles by Janeane Garofalo and Steve Zahn.The plot follows Lelaina (Ryder), an aspiring videographer working on a documentary called Reality Bites about the disenfranchised lives of her friends and roommates.These friends kind of take her film as a big joke and don’t get the point at all, but it’s solid stuff, and if Good Morning Grant, her current eye-rolling gig, doesn’t want to give her stuff a chance, then it’s damn time she takes a stand. Lelaina scoffs at the idea, and then they have their first, real lesbian fight. Along the way, Lelaina starts dating macho chump Michael (Ben Stiller) who works at this uber-‘90s network called “In Your Face.” He agrees to take on Lelaina’s documentary but turns it into a cheesy Real World-type thing that completely takes the artistic edge off what Lelaina had in mind.Lelaina is fired, retreats to her shared apartment, the “maxi pad,” and Vickie offers an instant-job for Lelaina at the Gap. Realizing she’s been duped, she sort of falls into the arms of Troy (Ethan Hawke), who’s always had a secret hankering for her, but he’s a total mess and can’t commit to a relationship.