7.1/10
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134 user 47 critic

Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

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

Director:

Justin Lin
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Parry Shen ... Ben Manibag
Jason Tobin ... Virgil Hu
Shirley Anderson Shirley Anderson ... Hot Dog Planet Customer
Nanette Matoba Nanette Matoba ... Housewife
Kenji Matoba Kenji Matoba ... Toddler
Sung Kang ... Han
Ashley Arai Ashley Arai ... Cheerleader
Danielle Conner Danielle Conner ... Cheerleader
Karen DiTota Karen DiTota ... Cheerleader
Smita Satiani Smita Satiani ... Cheerleader
Kristen Stinson Kristen Stinson ... Cheerleader
Jeff DeJohn Jeff DeJohn ... Ryan
Robert Zepeda Robert Zepeda ... Jock
Collin Kahey ... Jock
Christopher J. Francis 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:

Never underestimate an overachiever. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

25 April 2003 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Завтра повезет больше See more »

Filming Locations:

Alhambra, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$360,772, 13 April 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,802,390

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,809,226
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (2003)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On the Employees of the Month board of the fast food restaurant where Ben works, Justin Lin is listed as employee of the month February. See more »

Goofs

In the Las Vegas montage scene, while the protagonists are in a casino attempting to pull out their identification cards to prove their ages to a police officer, the badge on the officer's shoulder says California, while Las Vegas is in the state of Nevada. See more »

Quotes

Virgil Hu: What does he think he is? Some kind of Chinese movie star?
[Imitating Han]
Virgil Hu: "Hi, I'm Chow-Yun Fat. I'm sorry, I-I-I thought I was going to be fucking your girlfriend tonight. I guess I'd better just go home and stroke myself weally good. Weally weally good.
[normal voice, as Ben and Han leave]
Virgil Hu: Hey! Come on! I was just getting started!
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Connections

Referenced in The Nice Guys (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Hello Hello Hi
Written by Mario Hernandez
Performed by From Bubblegum to Sky
Published by Ciao Ciao Music (ASCAP)
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User Reviews

 
Gripping, occasionally self-conscious, but a brave, awesome feat in the end
11 May 2003 | by MisterWhiplashSee all my reviews

Director Justin Lin's drama, Better Luck Tomorrow, brought back memories of seeing Larry Clark's Bully on TV, which was also about teens who looked for partying to have something to do with their time in the midst of dreary, same-temperature-all-the-time suburbia. But this time, Lin has his teenage characters not as aimless- these kids, and at least the lead, have futures and/or aspirations, thanks to rich families, and because of which feel secure in their side life's of drug-dealing and robbery.

The beginning sets a perfect mood, as two Asian-Americans lie in their backyard, basking in a hazing heat, think they hear one of their beepers, and realize that the sound is coming from under the soil, alongside with a body. This is set up not to spoil the story (this tale is inspired by true events some eleven years ago), but to set up the slick, if bleak, atmosphere.

The central character of Lin's film is Ben, a JV Basketball player who rarely gets picked to play, repeats words he picks up in the dictionary over and over in preparation for SAT's, and works a part-time job in a food court so he'll have something to put on college applications. Along with this are his friends, Virgil, Han, and Daric, the last of which being the most intriguing of the supporting characters.

Instead of Lin getting overtly cocky with his plot ideas and characters, he creates a study of them, and of the paths they are each on in their high times of adolescence. He does this in a style that is kinetic even in scenes that slow down or just have minor dialogue, and when things pick up they pick up (and slow down) at the right pace. We get a sense where the movie will take us, yet by the time it does it's surely not as expected.

When the last scene rolls around, and Ben has made decisions that will possibly effect the outcome of his life, it's clear that Lin has made a film for MTV that has a life-force, a cool if sorrowful spirit, and an understanding of the additudes of youth that skims close to the line of a soap, but never is stupid enough to even try it. Some will leave cheated; I think this it may be one of the best films of the year, a little gem for the Asian-American community. Between A and A+ (A because of a slightly weak side-plot with the character of Stephanie)


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