IMDb > Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Better Luck Tomorrow
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Better Luck Tomorrow (2002) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 22 | slideshow) Videos (see all 4)
Better Luck Tomorrow -- A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities.
Better Luck Tomorrow -- A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities.
Better Luck Tomorrow -- A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities.

Overview

User Rating:
7.2/10   7,588 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Down 6% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Ernesto Foronda (written by) &
Justin Lin (written by) ...
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Better Luck Tomorrow on IMDbPro.
Genre:
Tagline:
Never underestimate an overachiever. See more »
Plot:
A group of over-achieving Asian-American high school seniors enjoy a power trip when they dip into extra-curricular criminal activities. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
1 win & 2 nominations See more »
NewsDesk:
(111 articles)
How Fast & Furious 7 Will Be Directly Connected To Its Director's Past
 (From Cinema Blend. 29 September 2014, 6:57 PM, PDT)

Justin Lin Targets True Detective Season Two
 (From Comingsoon.net. 5 September 2014, 10:52 AM, PDT)

15 MTV Films Every Millennial Should Watch
 (From VH1.com. 5 August 2014, 9:34 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
A Disturbing View of the Slide Into Anomie See more (139 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Parry Shen ... Ben Manibag
Jason Tobin ... Virgil Hu
Shirley Anderson ... Hot Dog Planet Customer
Nanette Matoba ... Housewife
Kenji Matoba ... Toddler

Sung Kang ... Han
Ashley Arai ... Cheerleader
Danielle Conner ... Cheerleader
Karen DiTota ... Cheerleader
Smita Satiani ... Cheerleader
Kristen Stinson ... Cheerleader
Jeff DeJohn ... Ryan
Robert Zepeda ... Jock

Collin Kahey ... Jock
Christopher J. Francis ... Jock
Jimmy Lin ... Jock
Ryan Cadiz ... Jesus Navarro

Karin Anna Cheung ... Stephanie Vandergosh

Roger Fan ... Daric Loo

Jerry Mathers ... Biology Teacher
Jessie S. Marion ... Gina Nabham
A.J. Green ... Mr. Farmer
Jaime Serene Kelly ... Nurse (as Jaime S. Kelly)
Esther Mercado ... Hospital Patient (as Esther 'Tita' Mercado)
Octavia Osby ... Doctor
Beverly Sotelo ... Cashier
Scott McShane ... Cashier
Brandon Bain ... Basketball Player
Jesse Bustos ... Basketball Player
Troy Cartwright ... Basketball Player
Brandon Dennis ... Basketball Player
Ronald Dross ... Basketball Player
Christopher R. Edmonds ... Basketball Player
Jon Paul Lourenco ... Basketball Player
Anthony Moore ... Basketball Player
Jason Reyes ... Basketball Player
Dominique Ricks ... Basketball Player
Khalil Semaan ... Basketball Player
Jonathan Uyloan ... Basketball Player
Terry White ... Basketball Player
Chad Young ... Basketball Player
Kenwood Jung ... Basketball Coach
Jeff Russell ... Assistant Basketball Coach

John Cho ... Steve Choe

Aaron Takahashi ... Takashi

Darian Weiss ... Kenny Vandergosh

Alden Ray ... Ulden (as Alden Villaverde)
Emmie Hsu ... Miriam
Lily Hu ... Tina
Donna Tina Charles ... Waitress
Crystal Keith ... Karen
Laura Esposito ... Camille
Juliet Wong ... Mary
Justin Murphy ... Adam / New Year's Party Band

James Isaac Barry ... Porn Jock
Wayne Ford ... Student Buying Cheat Stamp
Kevin Alfoldy ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member
Daniel R. Bonneau ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member
Lisa Grant ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member
David Laurence ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member

Nate Petre ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member
Ramona T. Ramirez ... Steve's Decathlon Team Member

Stephanie Little ... Steve's Barbie (as Stephanie Noel Little)
Tom Chalmers ... Liquor Store Clerk
Bryan Baluyot ... Gangster
Mark Baluyot ... Gangster
Joseph Jaldon ... Gangster
Marc Montecillo ... Gangster

Joe Hernandez-Kolski ... Scared Student
Jay Green ... Assistant Vice Principal
Denise Barnard ... Assistant Vice Principal

Bruno Oliver ... History Teacher
Fabian Marquez ... Security Guard
Walter Butler ... Peter
Christopher Monjoy ... Student Buying Drugs
Ina Burke ... Tracy
Jennifer Wu ... Ben's Admirer (as Jennifer Avelyn Wu)
Pauline Kanako Kamiyama ... Party Girl

Lela Lee ... Slapper
Evan Leong ... Slapper's Boyfriend

Suzanne Keilly ... Salesgirl
Shane Kualapai ... Casino Security Guard

Ariadne Shaffer ... Rachel
Sean Alexander ... New Year's Party Band
Joey Barro ... New Year's Party Band
Ben Donaldson ... New Year's Party Band
Walker Edmondson ... New Year's Party Band
Chris Good ... New Year's Party Band
Diana Bonilla ... New Year's Party Flirt
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Ronnie Gene Blevins ... Skinhead (uncredited)
Patrick Chavis ... Student (uncredited)
Rick Cortes ... Extra (uncredited)
Louie Giangrande ... Photographed Student (uncredited)

Justin Lin ... Jock (uncredited)

Directed by
Justin Lin 
 
Writing credits
Ernesto Foronda (written by) &
Justin Lin (written by) &
Fabian Marquez (written by)

Produced by
Julie Asato .... producer
Michael Cole .... executive producer
Troy Craig Poon .... executive producer
Ernesto Foronda .... producer
Steve Herr .... associate producer
Joan Huang .... co-producer
Sung Kang .... associate producer
Justin Lin .... producer
Michael Manshel .... executive producer
Gustavo Spoliansky .... executive producer
 
Original Music by
Michael Gonzales 
Tobin Mori 
 
Cinematography by
Patrice Lucien Cochet 
 
Film Editing by
Justin Lin 
 
Casting by
Donna Tina Charles 
 
Production Design by
Yoo Jung Han 
 
Art Direction by
Yoo Jung Han 
 
Costume Design by
Sandi Lieu 
 
Makeup Department
Robin Felix .... hair stylist: Ms. Cheung
Jaime Serene Kelly .... key makeup artist
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Josh Diamond .... first assistant director
 
Art Department
Joseph Fedo .... lead man
Lorri Jakubuv .... prop master
 
Sound Department
Tim Bindel .... adr supervisor
Tim Bindel .... sound supervisor
Curtis Choy .... sound
Paul Davidson .... foley artist
Aleksandr Gruzdev .... sound re-recording mixer
Cindy Jo Hinkleman .... dialog editor
James P. Lay .... sound re-recording mixer
James P. Lay .... supervising sound editor
Michael J. McDonald .... sound re-recording mixer (as Michael McDonald)
John Sanacore .... sound foley adr mixer
Scott M. Silvey .... sound
William Tabanou .... sound effects editor
Kelly Vandever .... sound re-recording mixer
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Patrice Lucien Cochet .... camera operator
Bryan Hayes .... electrician
Bryan Hayes .... grip
Guy Livneh .... chief lighting technician
Paul Maletich .... first assistant camera: second camera
BJ McDonnell .... dolly grip
BJ McDonnell .... key grip
Bill Otto .... second assistant camera
Michael Tiratira .... best boy grip
Remi Tournois .... first assistant camera
Bryan Hayes .... dolly grip (uncredited)
 
Casting Department
Joel Juarez .... casting associate
 
Editorial Department
Ben Boodman .... assistant editor
Greg Le Duc .... avid post-production system supervisor
Mato .... color timer
Fred Raskin .... additional editor
Steve Barnett .... post-production consultant (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Sheri Ozeki .... composer: additional music
Tamala Poljak .... composer: additional music
 
Other crew
Keith E. Cooper .... legal services
Winston Emano .... publicist
Erin Heidenreich .... sales agent
David Magdael .... publicist
Annalee Paulo .... publicist
Damon Isiah Turner .... assistant: Mr. Poon
 
Thanks
Kayo Hatta .... special thanks
Dawn Suggs .... thanks
Billy Woodberry .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

MPAA:
Rated R for violence, drug use, language and sexuality
Runtime:
101 min | USA:98 min (2003 version)
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Original prints of the film's theatrical poster misspelled Parry Shen's name as "Perry Shen".See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Slanted Screen (2006)See more »
Soundtrack:
WhistleSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
22 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
A Disturbing View of the Slide Into Anomie, 20 February 2004

"Better Luck Tomorrow" has attracted much IMDb comment despite being shown in few theaters and then over a short period. Now available in DVD it will clearly garner a slowly widening audience by word of mouth. And it should.

This idie film operates on several levels. The story of a loose cohort of high school high achievers, mostly Asian-American, they are simultaneously self-challenged to make it to the Ivies while at the same time drifting in an affluent bubble of moral emptiness. They volunteer for public service project for points to strengthen their "apps" without any real commitment to the values of service.

Ben is the central character, a youth of untapped ability and boundless promise who seems unable to find any real meaning in his academic goals. The others are a cross-section of teenagers running from the daring to the reckless to the pathological.

He slowly falls hard for Stephanie, a beautiful classmate (actually almost thirty when the film was made but you'd never know it). She has a manipulative, rich boyfriend, "Stevo," and her relationship with him is both resistant and dependent. Girls in this film are ancillary arm candy for the males. Stephanie, who has issues of her own, she refers to her obligatory therapist, knows she's dominated by Steve but resisting submissiveness is very hard. Asian-American or not, Stephanie is a very recognizable teenager. Not too different a story from many high school buddy films, that part.

What is different and distinctive about this story are two factors. The first is that Ben and his friends start running scams at stores to get money for stolen merchandise returned for refunds and then graduate to both selling and using drugs. Their criminal activities become both more sinister and essentially aimless as challenge predominates over possible gain. To describe more would be to give away a genuinely original story line.

The second factor that separates "Better Luck Tomorrow" from the usual run-of-the-mill teen angst flick is the total absence of adult authority figures- parents, teachers (one biology teacher has a brief, colorless classroom presence), police (a sole cop is shown in a couple of seconds in a hallway, almost an opaque shadow). These kids have wheels and money but there's no evidence of their being accountable to anybody. Their ambitions and schemes are their sole interior reality.

Many IMDb comments are from Asian-Americans who view the characters as reflecting their own background. There is a brutal fight scene between the Asian boys and white kids at an unsupervised (of course) booze bash but much of the behavior that escalates into disaster isn't limited to any racial or ethnic group. I'm not even sure I feel comfortable dismissing the behavior as just another example of SoCal teen life.

The acting here, by a cast unknown (check IMDb for their names) is outstanding as is the direction and cinematography that pictures a slightly bleached suburb mirroring the superficiality of the central male characters. Anomie rather than evil is the malevolent controlling force for most of the boys.

A very disturbing film-one that does and should arouse discussion.

8/10.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (139 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
So Does Han Here become FAST AND FURIOUS HAN? dutchlevin69
Asian version of 'Very Bad Things'/'Meanstreets' man_of_steel540
this movie sucked, nothing to do with stereotypes doodwithbooks
Still didn't understand the ending (spoilers) dxnguyen89
Do you think Steve would have... (spoilers) Brotorious09
Car? lily_mow
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Alpha Dog River's Edge The Basketball Diaries The Departed The Black Dahlia
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Crime section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.