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Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  12 January 2002 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 7,524 users   Metascore: 67/100
Reviews: 139 user | 51 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jason Tobin ...
Shirley Anderson ...
Hot Dog Planet Customer
Nanette Matoba ...
Housewife
Kenji Matoba ...
Toddler
...
Han
Ashley Arai ...
Cheerleader
Danielle Conner ...
Cheerleader
Karen DiTota ...
Cheerleader
Smita Satiani ...
Cheerleader
Kristen Stinson ...
Cheerleader
Jeff DeJohn ...
Ryan
Robert Zepeda ...
Jock
...
Jock
Christopher J. Francis ...
Jock
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Storyline

Ben is a perfectionist and overachiever whose tunnel vision leads to nothing less than graduating at the top of his class. As he struggles to achieve social success, he discovers his darker side. He and his friends: Virgil, Daric and Han lead a double life of mischief and petty crimes to alleviate the pressures of perfection. As their adopted identity grows, the gang tumbles into a downward spiral of excitement, excess and fun. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who do you want to be? See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, drug use, language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 January 2002 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$360,772 (USA) (11 April 2003)

Gross:

$3,799,339 (USA) (20 June 2003)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original prints of the film's theatrical poster misspelled Parry Shen's name as "Perry Shen". See more »

Goofs

Early in the film when Virgil is standing in the strip mall parking lot, a wide shot shows two blank store signs in the background. In the close-up, he has shifted down the parking lot slightly, and is now standing further to the right of the signs. This can be confirmed by looking at the addresses below each sign, which have changed. See more »

Quotes

Steve Choe: Are you happy?
Ben Manibag: I don't know.
Steve Choe: Fuck. That's the most truthful thing I've ever heard.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Back to School Special (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Eskimo on Fire
Written and Performed by Versus (BMI)
Courtesy of the Artist
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What About the Girls?
12 April 2003 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Just came back from a screening of this movie in NYC. Being Chinese American, I felt I could vicariously live through the characters' mishaps and adventures. I think this film is a manifestation of some unconscious fantasies I had during high school. Unfortunately, during high school I was too busy trying to land a spot in the incoming class of an Ivy League to think about power trips from petty crimes or even relieving the stress of perfectionism. Being female also dramatically reduced my access to the possibility for petty crimes and other risky experimentation. Chinese girls are raise to be good, dutiful daughters, who in turn become their own slave drivers feeding off of their need for perfectionism. Thanks to the oppressive histories of East Asian cultures, Asian parents brook no rebellion from girls. Girls are constantly taught that the slightest transgression will bring harsh criticism. And, having already fallen out of favor for not being born male, girls are dealt much harsher punishments than boys for rebellious behavior. The patriarchal adage "boys will be boys" resonates through Asian cultures with the accompanying implication that "girls must also be girls". Unfortunately, "Better Luck Tomorrow" makes no mention of the double standards imposed on Asian-American girls. It was disappointing to see the sole female actress become a pawn in the brokering of power between two high school boys.

The Asian girls in my high school who exhibited risky behavior were always sidelined by more daring male exploits. Essentially, female risky behavior amounted to wanton sex with men and occasional petty thievery. How little it differs from our non-Asian counterparts!

But if anything, at least this movie is not about kung fu fighting Chinese actors coupled with black or white male leads in movies like "Bulletproof Monk". Justin Lin's "Better Luck Tomorrow" aptly reminds the audience that Chow Young Fat, Jet Li, and Jacky Chan are not Asian-American men!

Criticisms aside, "Better Luck Tomorrow" is a clever film featuring some fine acting. The strengths and vulnerabilities of the Asian American boys are explored in a hitherto unprecedented way. Kudos to Jason Tobin for some fine acting!


9 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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