7.0/10
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135 user 48 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:

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

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

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

When the camera rotates around Ben at the free-throw line, he casts different shadows from each new camera angle. See more »

Quotes

[At a party]
Steve Choe: So this is where the Asians hang out?
Daric Loo: Yeah, the library's closed.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the version shown at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival, Ben Manibag, played by Parry Shen, has taken part in the killing of a romantic rival, and towards the end he is heard saying, in effect, "Well, what I did wasn't right ...but I've got college to think about, and I've got a good life to look forward to, and I'm gonna move on." See more »

Connections

Referenced in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Menace 2 Heterosexuality
Written and Performed by Myles of Destruction
Courtesy of the Artist
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Gripping, occasionally self-conscious, but a brave, awesome feat in the end
11 May 2003 | by Quinoa1984See 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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