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Better Luck Tomorrow (Widescreen edition)
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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I first saw this film on Showtime I believe at like 3AM. I fell in love with it and had to own it. Great price, Shipped fast and arrived before the estimated ship date!Published 1 month ago by Chris Ely
Great Movie by a independant studio, one of the best independent films ever!!Published 3 months ago by D. Fancher
I cant believe how great a movie this was. I loved the portrayal of Asian americans in this movie and thought it was refreshing to see all the horrible things the characters did.Published 5 months ago by Lucy H.
Better Luck Tomorrow is 2003 coming of age drama that won praises at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Henry West
Thank you so much! This one completed my collection!Published 7 months ago by Gilbert Michael Rivera
I have never seen this movie before, but it was so inexpensive I decided to give it a go. It's actually a pretty good movie. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Peter Y Mun