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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:

The Boyfriend. The Beauty. The Overachiever. The Mastermind. The Clown. The Muscle. 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

Although some people thought that the film was inspired by the 1992 murder of Stuart Tay, an Asian-American youth who was killed by four of his peers on New Year's Eve in Orange County, California, filmmaker Justin Lin has stated that "at the very beginning of the writing process, [he] made a conscious decision not to base it on that, or any other, real event." See more »

Goofs

Orange and blue seem to be the school colors of the school where this was shot, as can be seen when Ben is making free throws. The sports and cheerleading uniforms, however, are yellow and green. See more »

Quotes

Steve Choe: Everyone needs a wake-up call.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 2004 IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Chase Mode
Written by Scott Ricks
Produced by Scott Tropik
Published by Ketone Music (c) 2001
Courtesy of the Artist
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A superbly crafted, very mature insight into teenage culture
30 December 2002 | by (Toronto, Ontario) – See all my reviews

I saw this film at the Toronto film festival, and was completely absorbed in it. It is both an intelligent observation of teenage culture and a great achievement in style and cinematography Follows in the footsteps of masterpieces like "Goodfellas" and "Menace to Society". Like them, this film plunges us into the lifestyle of its characters, and unrelentingly attempts to relate us to them. One wouldn't think that it is possible to be so consumed by a world occupied by those quiet over-achievers we overlooked in high school, but this film offers a darker, edgier vantage point that is so involving we cannot look away.

What I enjoyed so much about this film is that its characters are intelligent, but their intelligence is constantly overwhelmed by hormones and social pressures typical of the American teenager. It begins as a story of four Asian-American high school students, all with promising futures and crystal clean records, who decide to enter a life of crime and violence. Their crimes are easy because their reputations as do-gooders make them inconspicuous. The film follows Ben, whose richly observant narration offers a voyeur type insight into their declining souls. We watch, with unblinking eyes as harmless vices transform into drugs and murder. Soon enough the lives of these characters collapse, rendering one a surviver of a botched suicide attempt, and another a paranoid killer. The brilliance of these characters is not simply an excuse for their crimes, but an added weight on their shoulders. Their intelligence breeds conflict; they are smart enough to know that their lives are being jeopardized, but logical enough to see that when the extra pennies are so easy to attain, the crime is to lose the opportunity.

The crown jewel of this film is Stephanie, strongly portrayed by beautiful Karin Anna Cheug, possibly the hottest new thing to hit Hollywood in years. Her character is strong, on par with the boys in terms of intellect and achievement, but her heart is gold. Mark my words, after the release of this film, this girl is going to be on the cover of every magazine in this country. Wonderful girl, Wonderful film.


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