Creativity doesn’t always trump consumerism.
In what’s perhaps the most jarring realization to post-college grads, creative idealism doesn’t always prevail in the face of commoditization. Throughout the film, aspiring documentarian Lelaina Pierce follows her post collegiate pals as she films their everyday struggles ranging from unemployment to romantic triangles. Set against the backdrop of moment-defining tracks like Dinosaur Jr’s angst-ridden “Turnip Farm”, she captures the unveiled fears that plague their newfound adulthood, and sets out to produce a melodramatic documentary in the hopes of selling it to PBS.
Instead, the footage winds up in the hands of her cable-executive boyfriend, Michael, who pitches her film snippets to his bosses at his MTV-like station. From there, Lelaina’s artistic endeavors are gnarled into a sleazy reality show akin to the Real World, complete with awkward sexual ramblings over Salt-N-Pepa’s libidinous jam “Let’s Talk About Sex”. As Leilana’s dreams evaporate into a tawdry, tricked out video, there’s no starker realization for the audience that youthful idealism will ultimately be defiled by a culture devoted to nihilism.