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      Better Luck Tomorrow

      R Released Apr 11, 2003 1 hr. 41 min. Crime Drama List
      81% 108 Reviews Tomatometer 79% 5,000+ Ratings Audience Score An accomplished high school student, Ben (Parry Shen) seems to excel at almost everything except winning over his dream girl, Stephanie (Karin Anna Cheung). When he begins an unlikely friendship with trouble-seeking tough guy Daric (Roger Fan), Ben becomes involved in petty crime that gets increasingly dangerous, with his various illegal ventures extending to include Stephanie and her wealthy beau, Steve (John Cho). Can these restless teens curb their criminal activities before it's too late? Read More Read Less Watch on Fandango at Home Premiered Nov 01 Buy Now

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      Better Luck Tomorrow

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      Better Luck Tomorrow

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      Critics Consensus

      A promising work by Lin, the energetic Better Luck Tomorrow is disturbing and thought-provoking.

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      Audience Reviews

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      Yash B "Better Luck Tomorrow" is a bold film early in Justin Lin's career. Before he became the guy who revamped the "Fast & Furious" franchise, he made this fascinating character-focused movie. I enjoyed this movie and think even when it starts to take a dark turn, it is always thought-provoking with its themes and ideas. I think the movie moves at a good pace and even when not a lot is happening to push the plot forward, the filmmaking style is energetic and done well. Overall, it is a fascinating early 2000s high school movie that is much more of a drama and thriller than a comedy or coming-of-age story, and I think it is a refreshing entry from that era in that regard. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 09/25/23 Full Review victor o In 2001-2002 I was driving by my old high school in Cypress, CA, and saw the big trucks and massive lighting displays and I wondered what was going on. Many years later I saw the Fast and the Furious movies directed by Justin Lin and vaguely saw this movie listed with no idea what it was about. It was only via movie trivia did I learn that Justin Lin retroactively created the character of Han Seoul-Oh from the Fast and the Furious franchise that had originated in this movie. I had no idea how it was done until I took the time to watch it. And I was pleasantly surprised. Cypress, CA. A dead body has been buried and becomes the focus of Ben Manibag and his friend Virgil Hu. Ben is your typical high school kid looking to get the best out of life attempting to juggle academics, athletics, and social life by getting the attention of a Stephanie, a pretty cheerleader. But peer pressure from Stephanie's callous boyfriend Steve, and, Daric, a sociopathic high school student on the same academic decathlon team as Ben bring him to grips with reality. Still, he has a good relationship with Virgil and his cousin Han who is older, drives, and gets his cousin and friend booze and cigarettes. As they live day by day, finding fun, and striving for popularity get themselves into trouble with alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. Then one day they get into real trouble. I got to say, I was more interested in the fact that this included a character from the Fast and the Furious franchise than the story itself, but the acting was superb, real, and deep. I can see how something like this would become the basis for the character of Han, after all, Cypress isn't that far from East Los Angeles where a certain racer/thief would reign alongside an undercover cop from Barstow. But Ben's viewpoint does make for a great story and I'm glad to have seen this. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Entertaining. A really unhappy ending brings the movie down for me. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/04/23 Full Review kyle c I love how this movie blended teen drama with crime and suspense. It manages to make the stakes of even the simple high school crush feel as high as the life-and-death schemes the kids are enacting. The whole cast does a great job at acting younger than they really are, especially Jason Tobin, who plays Virgil. He is accurately annoying enough to really capture the spirit of a high schooler. I did feel that the movie expected us to take the characters a little more seriously than was really warranted at times, but once things really go off the rails at the end, it's easy to forgive. I love how dark the ending is - you can almost see the main character have the internal debate on whether he can live with what he's done. The ambiguity of the ending drives it over the top, making this a film I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys a dark slow burn. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review jordan m They really did a lot for the budget they had for this. The way they handled end of the movie was refreshingly disturbing and the rest of the plot was at least somewhat intriguing. I think the movie would've stood better on its own than it did after reading excerpts from interviews with the director where he gave fairly one-dimensional reasons for directorial choices that he made. Seeing a young Cho was neat, but I wish given the retroactive importance placed on the movie that Han had played a larger role. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Audience Member Before going "Fast & Furious", director Justin Lin unexpectedly contributed a calmer though grittier lifestyle when it's not all about fast cars in response to the original 2001 starter before debuting his authorship in 2006 as a follow-up to this pessimistically thoughtful and nonsensically irrational coming-of-age crime drama of minimal engagement. (B) Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Read all reviews Post a rating

      Cast & Crew

      17% 70% Get Rich or Die Tryin' 53% 93% Paid in Full 17% 61% Essex Boys 40% 40% The Hard Word 77% 62% The Good Thief Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

      Critics Reviews

      View All (108) Critics Reviews
      David Ansen Newsweek Lin's movie tries to do too much--it takes some dark, credibility-defying turns--but you come away knowing you've witnessed the birth of a moviemaking career. Mar 7, 2018 Full Review Ben Nuckols Associated Press Better Luck Tomorrow, a corrosive, insightful study of the pressure-packed lives of suburban high school students, brings a new variant to gangster movies: gangsters with perfect SAT scores. Apr 2, 2013 Full Review Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal Better Luck Tomorrow breathes new life into a familiar story: coming of age in high school. Apr 2, 2013 Full Review Jake Mulligan Dig Boston Perceptive at dramatizing moments where teenagers' performances of masculinity and maturity inadvertently melt into something more fraught and real. Rated: 3.5/5 Aug 6, 2021 Full Review Barbara Shulgasser Common Sense Media Justin Lin's sleek and skillful Better Luck Tomorrow is a well-contoured fantasy, not about magical worlds, secret gardens, or Middle-earths, but about the place within where demons may lie in those who may otherwise seem to be the best of us. Rated: 4/5 Jun 21, 2021 Full Review John Powers L.A. Weekly Better Luck Tomorrow is a huge step forward, and though it doesn't fully transcend its small budget, the story feels rooted in something more solid than prefab posturing. May 17, 2018 Full Review Read all reviews

      Movie Info

      Synopsis An accomplished high school student, Ben (Parry Shen) seems to excel at almost everything except winning over his dream girl, Stephanie (Karin Anna Cheung). When he begins an unlikely friendship with trouble-seeking tough guy Daric (Roger Fan), Ben becomes involved in petty crime that gets increasingly dangerous, with his various illegal ventures extending to include Stephanie and her wealthy beau, Steve (John Cho). Can these restless teens curb their criminal activities before it's too late?
      Director
      Justin Lin
      Screenwriter
      Justin Lin, Fabian Marquez, Ernesto Foronda
      Distributor
      Paramount Pictures
      Production Co
      MTV Films
      Rating
      R (Violence|Drug Use|Sexuality|Language)
      Genre
      Crime, Drama
      Original Language
      English
      Release Date (Theaters)
      Apr 11, 2003, Wide
      Release Date (Streaming)
      Jul 1, 2013
      Box Office (Gross USA)
      $3.8M
      Sound Mix
      Dolby Stereo, Dolby Digital, Dolby A, Surround, Dolby SR
      Aspect Ratio
      Flat (1.85:1)
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