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Better Luck Tomorrow (Widescreen edition) (2003)

John Cho , Aaron Takahashi , Justin Lin  |  R |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cho, Aaron Takahashi, Parry Shen
  • Directors: Justin Lin
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: September 30, 2003
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AI424
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,488 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Better Luck Tomorrow (Widescreen edition)" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Never underestimate an over achiever. To his classmates and teachers, high-schooler Ben Manibag (Perry Shen) appears to be the "model" student: a perfectionist and overachiever, destined for nothing less than graduating at the top of his class and then attending a prestigious college. But underneath this persona is a darker side - Ben and his bored high-school buddies lead double lives, flying high in a world of petty crime and material excess in order to ease the pressures of "being perfect." It's a free-wheeling lifestyle that soon takes a downward spiral, leading to an unexpected end. An Official Selection at the Sundance Film Festival, Better Luck Tomorrow is a gripping, edgy and provocative film that rips the tranquil, well-manicured facade off of middle-class suburbia and cultural stereotypes.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood doesn't make movies like this April 27, 2003
By Eugene
An incredibly powerful and absorbing film, Better Luck Tomorrow is worthy of the best film makers in the business today. That it was made by a UCLA film student is all the more astounding.
The film follows the lives of Ben and Virgil, two overachieving high school students whose lives are initially consumed entirely by the question of how to make themselves even more appealing on a college application. As a measure of rebellion and a way to assert themselves outside of the limited confines of a college application, they form a "mafia" ring of sorts with two friends. They start out by providing cheat sheets for money. They progress to stealing school property, and ultimately, begin dealing drugs.
In the end, the central theme of the movie is one of control over one's own life, and how quickly that control can be lost even when it appears that the exact opposite is true. The action is fast-paced, the dialogue is crisp and sharp, and the characters are all memorable and textured. Virgil is perhaps the most memorable character from a film in years.
This movie is intelligent and stylish movie making at its finest.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driven to Tears April 25, 2003
Justin Lin�s �Better Luck Tomorrow� crackles with as much fury and bravado as Martin Scorsese did in his similar themed �Mean Streets.� Even though reviews of this film would have you believe that �BLT� is primarily about the Asian high school experience�it is not. What it is about is the disaffected, prone to violence and crime youth culture: a theme that has been with us for many years probably beginning in the 50�s with �Rebel Without a Cause� or �The Wild Ones,� when teenagers were discovered by film makers who looked at the Baby Boomer culture and saw dollar signs.
Though his film is populated by an almost 100% Asian cast, Lin has decided not to play the �Asian Card.� One of the ways he accomplishes this is to not have the obligatory scene in which his characters sit down to dinner with their parents who scold and serve up bowls of rice with their advice and warnings. In fact, there are no parents or teachers in this film at all.
Lin�s characters are Universal and therefore represent a whole generation of teenagers no matter what ethnicity. Ben (Parry Shen) is the main character and he is conflicted about life: on the one hand he is hell bent on getting into a good school and playing basketball yet on the other hand, he dabbles in the illegal to make extra money. His friends: Virgil (Jason J. Tobin), Han (Sun Kang) and Deric (Roger Fan) form his posse and they are likewise conflicted. One of the many pleasures of this film is that that Shen and his buddies really care and protect each other which sets this film apart from other youth culture movies and it is refreshing.
�Better Luck Tomorrow� is raw, volatile, disruptive, thought provoking yet tender and loving. It is a testament to Lin and his cast and personally I can�t wait for Lin�s next film, for he is an unmistakably talented new director.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tomorrow Never Comes June 7, 2003
Better Luck Tomorrow may be overrated, but it is definitely a fascinating character study, a lot more emotionally satisfying than most recent teen flicks. It has stirred up a flurry of criticism by portraying Asian-American teens who cheat, steal, drink, fight and otherwise behave as badly as all the other disaffected kids in movieland. Of course, critics who suggest that movies must only portray minorities in angelic form are altogether misguided. Films are about life, and life in this country is just as likely to alienate and confuse Asian-American teens as anyone else.
Director (and co-writer) Justin Lin understands that; ultimately, ethnicity is beside the point in his story. His affecting portrait of mixed-up teens headed down a dangerous road indulges in some excessive dramatics, but still rings true to the experience of youngsters growing up without moral anchors. His key character is Ben (Parry Shen), a high school senior with all the right tools for success - brains, affluence, Ivy League ambition and killer study skills. He also has a malleable conscience that allows him to sell cheat sheets to fellow students, and to help his buddies Virgil (Jason J. Tobin) and Han (Sung Kang) run credit card scams. None of the characters' parents ever appear; they trust their hyper-achieving kids based on their academic records. So does everyone else, a fact that leads the youngsters to believe their grades free them from the normal rules of behavior.
Lin does not ignore the fact that his characters are regarded differently from their Caucasian peers; when Ben joins the basketball team after compulsively practicing free throws, he is disgusted when a fellow student writes an article casting him as the team's token Asian.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie that Takes Real Risks January 8, 2004
"Better Luck Tomorrow" is a clever and disturbing film that is disguised as something upbeat and bright, only to hide dark and troubled layers within. It's for sure a film that takes you by surprise by giving you something you'd never expect from the looks of it. This is probably one of the film's strongest strengths.
Ben Manibag appears to be your average overachiever; a bright kid that gets good marks in school and has a steady job. He appears to be every parents' dream. However, Ben and his friends are living double lives as they play dirty outside of school. Always committing some sort of petty crime, it is only a matter of time that Ben and his friends become greedy and start taking more risks and performing dangerous crimes. The appearances of being "bright and perfect students" gives them the freedom to do almost anything they wish without being examined under a microscope, and with your typical "model student" stereotypes to keep their darker sides hidden. Of course, everything that has a beginning has an end. It's just a question of when the downward spiral begins and how deep they fall into the rabbit hole with no option of turning back.
For a low-budget movie, it does not look nor feel like one. In fact, it feels and looks like a film made by professionals. The directing and editing styles are slightly reminiscent of "Requiem for a Dream," but still add an original and fresh element to the film. The story presented to us is thought-provoking, disturbing, scary and authentic. Very much like Ben and his friends, the movie is disguised as something normal with a darker side that is not clear right from the word "go," but ever so increases little by little as the film progresses.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie from Justin Lin (director of fast and furious ...
Great Movie from Justin Lin (director of fast and furious 3 through 6). This movie is about high school kids that are too smart for their own good. Read more
Published 14 days ago by Joshua Bowen
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
its an ok movie
Published 1 month ago by Lonnie Fields
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dark Film About Asian-Americans
Better Luck Tomorrow involves a story of Asian who grew up in the United States. In this movie,they differ from the stereotypes who happen to be nerds,hardworking,industrious and... Read more
Published 1 month ago by DESERTMAN40
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't waste your money!
It's dumb and the actors are really bad. We didn't even finish the movie , waste I money... Don't rent!
Published 7 months ago by joanna
3.0 out of 5 stars fast and furious fan
googled fast and furious chronilogical order and this was first on the list. it was okay. i guess this is where han came from.
Published 7 months ago by donnie jackson
3.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2 stars for an atypical look at high schoolers
Director and co-writer Justin Lin is perhaps best known for his 3 "Fast and Furious" films. This was his first solo directing effort and in fact, has a tie in with F and F. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Oleson
5.0 out of 5 stars Iconic for Asian-Americans of this Generation
Justin Lin knows what's up.
This is a timeless story that strives to break stereotypes. If you really want a kick, watch the Youtube clip on Roger Ebert's response during the... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars High Schoolers Gone Bad
I by chance read a blog post about this movie - being 10 years old. I had seen parts of it years ago on TV and remembered how powerful it was... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Biberfan
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect.
A+++. The item was in perfect condition and came in a timely manner. It's was a gift, and the person got exactly what they wanted. Thank you.
Published 18 months ago by Em54
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Movie!
I saw a small portion of this movie on a pay channel. I liked enough to look for it on Amazon, found it and purchased it. My wife and son saw recently and they liked it as well. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Argbatt
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