METRO CHOICE: Getting paid

Slackers are largely an invention of a desperate media, scrambling around for umbrella terms - New Queer Cinema, New Wave Of New Wave - to define an era. But you see the plaid shirts and goatee beards and you think: well, something must be afoot. Either that or they've all been shopping at The Gap. If you suspect a friend or relative of yours to be a "slacker", try this simple test. Show them Ben Stiller's self-conscious slacker film Reality Bites. Do they run screaming from the room to the sanctuary of a joint? If so, they're the real McCoy. The genuine king of the genre is Richard Linklater, whose beguiling films Slacker and Dazed and Confused are being screened as part of the NFT's season "A Slacker's Guide To Film". There's also the seminal Stranger Than Paradise, Gus Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy and a fair proportion of turkeys in slackers' clothing (Naked in New York, Bodies, Rest And Motion). Plus a preview of Linklater's new movie, Before Sunrise (opening here on 21 April), which stars Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy (below) as two strangers who spend a day together in Vienna. Sounds riveting, huh? Don't be sarcastic; it's, like, a real dream, man.

CINEMA / Talking about their uncertain generation

THE BITES in Reality Bites (12) cut two ways. The title puns on the film's subject matter, which is both a close- up critique of the MTV culture, where all experience is reduced to a series of soundbites, and a snapshot of the end of adolescence, that time when childhood illusions fade and the real world begins to gnaw at our fantasies. The film's heroine (Winona Ryder) is the valedictorian of her college year, and the film opens on her commencement day, with strains of 'Land of Hope and Glory' on the soundtrack. Ryder loses her place in her speech ('The answer is . . . I don't know . . .'), and the rest of the film is a light-hearted examination of the uncertainty of her whole generation, how blasted its hope is, how inglorious its future.

FILM / Football 1, Film 0: Angie (15), Director: Martha Coolidge (US); Lost in Yonkers (PG), Director: Martha Coolidge (US); The Chase (15), Director: Adam Rifkin (US); Reality Bites (12), Director: Ben Stiller (US); Hercules Returns (15), Director: David Parker (Aus)

Angie is being pushed in press releases as the thinking woman's alternative to the World Cup, though one suspects - the gorgeous Geena Davis notwithstanding - its target audience will have a tough time tearing away their partners from the TV screen.

Edinburgh Festival Day 6 & 7: Word of Mouth

STATUESQUE cowgirl Charlotte Storey, from The Heartbreak Kid, can't say no to Sod. She calls Arthur Smith's comedy 'a wonderful mix of laughter and tragedy'. Kristina Boller from Berlin says the Mark Morris Dance Group 'was witty and beautiful. I've never seen such fantastic dancers.' Her companion Stephanie Schmidt picks The Persians for of 'its psychological treatment of a contemporary problem'. Comedian Malcolm Hardee, however, prefers the Gilded Balloon's Wow Show: 'Lee Cornes follows the three golden rules of comedy. He wobbles about, falls over and then gets his knob out.'
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