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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 7,468 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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Title: Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

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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

On the employees of the month board of the fastfood restaurant where Ben works, Justin Lin is listed as employee of the month February. 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

Ben Manibag: Virgil called Han over to watch some new porn, I guess Virgil just didn't have the balls to do it all alone.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Eat with Your Eyes
Written and Performed by Semiautomatic
Published by Yellow Dog Robotic Center/Glowbunny (ASCAP)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Highly stylish, and superbly acted
25 April 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

4 Asian high school friends seem to have it all, good grades, a bright future where colleges are going to be fighting over their applications and the world is their oyster. But beneath the suburban undercurrent lies a group of the most jaded Asian-American kids who get in over their head in illicit activities.

The film is narrated by Ben, a smart kid who is going about his usual run of the mill life. Eventually he is approached by Derrick a born class leader who finally mentions to him, Why are you being a second class benchwarmer on a basketball team?? When you can be your own man?

It turns out Derrick first starts asking Ben to write up cheat sheets for $50 bucks, and then with the enlistment of scrawny Virgil and his no nonsense cousin Han, the guys end up with a reputation that leads to bigger and riskier things...

The film has a great fresh style and pace to it, Justin Lin's direction is impecable. Slow motion edits, fast cuts, perfect timing with the soundtrack, good cinematography are all apparant and enjoyable and not to annoying as they sometimes can be when they are thrown at you constantly. What's probably the most telling thing about this movie is the focus on Asian-Americans in a not so seen light. All these kids have the world ahead of them, perfect grades, homes, money, but they are all dead inside and lacking direction. It doesn't help also that their parents in the film are nowhere to be seen, and no doubt non existent. All the trappings of success and great intelligence that the kids have is no match for there lack of faith and spiritual deadness which Better Luck Tomorrow shows off impecably!

Most important is the camradare these kids share and the wonderful casting that was chosen. Derick exhudes confidence and smarts like a crooked politician, Han is the cool guy doesn't say much looks like he can break your face with his intesnse stare, and Ben is the guy we follow through all his dillemas and trials with much anticipation and hope. But the best is saved for the scrawny Virgil played AMAZINGLY by Jason J Tobin.

He's the small kid who ends up a lot like the whipping post, and over compensates his rash bravado and toughness to hide his obvious weaknesses and extreme vulnerability. He is the guy you can't help smile and appreciate but also pray for knowing that he is in someway doomed cause of his lack of self esteem.

Wonderful film

Rating 9 out of 10.


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

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So Does Han Here become FAST AND FURIOUS HAN? dutchlevin69
Fast and the Furious???? Unofficial prequel Fozzy13443
this movie sucked, nothing to do with stereotypes doodwithbooks
deserved none of the praise it got tictacbk
Some of the shots made me feel sick! stupid_mansuit
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