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Better Luck Tomorrow [DVD] [2003] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

Parry Shen , Jason Tobin , Justin Lin    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 17.95
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Region 1 encoding (requires a North American or multi-region DVD player and NTSC compatible TV. More about DVD formats.)

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Frequently Bought Together

Better Luck Tomorrow [DVD] [2003] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] + Undoing [DVD] [2006]
Price For Both: 20.75

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  • Undoing [DVD] [2006] 2.80

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Product details

  • Actors: Parry Shen, Jason Tobin, Sung Kang, Shirley Anderson, Nanette Matoba
  • Directors: Justin Lin
  • Writers: Justin Lin, Ernesto Foronda, Fabian Marquez
  • Producers: Ernesto Foronda, Gustavo Spoliansky, Joan Huang, Julie Asato
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Colour, Dolby, DVD-Video, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Paramount
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Sep 2003
  • Run Time: 101 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000AI424
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,595 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

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4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie that Takes Real Risks 9 Jan 2004
Format:DVD
"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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By C. O. DeRiemer HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
It's a hot Southern California afternoon. Two high school students, smart, from affluent families, are sitting in lawn chairs in the back yard of a home. They are Ben Manibag (Parry Shen) and his best friend, Virgil Hu (Jason Tobin). A cell phone rings. Ben checks and it's not his. Virgil looks at his phone; it's not his. The phone keeps ringing and the two look at each with increasing panic. They run to a section of the backyard and press their ears to the dirt. Then they begin frantically digging with their hands. The ringing cell phone is on the body of someone they and two other friends had recently killed and buried.

"It started with a pack of baseball cards," says Ben in flashback. "Then it snowballed. I guess it just felt good to do things I couldn't put on my college application. Besides, it was suburbia. We didn't have anything better to do. Our straight A's were our alibis, our passports to freedom. Going to a study group would get us out of the house until 4 in the morning. As long as our grades were there, we were trusted. We had it all. Well, almost." From trading in cheat sheets the four moved into whatever scams paid well and provided thrills, then into drug dealing. And they worked hard to get all A's, to list carefully considered volunteer community activities on their college applications, to have perfect scores on their SATs. They drifted further into the moral vacuum that led to the murder of another student, just as affluent and bored as they are.

I don't want to leave the impression that this is one more movie about teen-age angst.
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5.0 out of 5 stars great. as described. lots of fun 7 Mar 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Thank you. The dvd was in excellent condition and exactly as described and I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood doesn't make movies like this 28 April 2003
By Eugene - Published on Amazon.com
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.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Driven to Tears 25 April 2003
By MICHAEL ACUNA - Published on Amazon.com
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.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tomorrow Never Comes 7 Jun 2003
By Mark Twain - Published on Amazon.com
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. The author of that article, Daric (Roger Fan), is another straight-A student who becomes a friend to Ben and leader of the new pack that makes its name by beating up a thick-headed jock who taunts them with racial insults. From that point on, they are on a downward spiral into drug dealing and dangerous behavior, stoked by money and youthful hormones. Ben's growing obsession with pretty cheerleader named Stephanie (Karin Anna Cheung) - and the illusion of power that criminal enterprise gives him - puts him on a collision course with Stephanie's boyfriend, the richer and more sophisticated Steve (John Cho). Things turn out badly, of course.
The teenagers in his tale have known tragedy and guilt beyond their years, with effects that will not be easily erased. Better Luck Tomorrow uses Asian-American characters, but at heart it is a story about all the lost children drifting into emptiness on a tide of material wealth and moral bankruptcy. An intense, frustrating, and worthwhile journey.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Movie that Takes Real Risks 9 Jan 2004
By Michael Crane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
"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. You do not know what will come next, and you have no idea how things are going to turn out in the end. A great thing about the movie is that it takes the risk of not being ordinary and brings honesty to the story and the characters. You could easily see things that are portrayed in this movie happen next door to you. The events that take place do not occur in ghettos or poor neighborhoods; nor do they involve gang-bangers and hoodlums. Everything takes place in suburbia and involves your "everyday kids," which makes it all the more effective and horrifyingly insightful. The cast does a terrific job and the writing is true to itself.
The DVD doesn't have much to offer, which is a shame. The movie looks and sounds great. Again, it is very hard to tell that this was a low-budget project, as it has the markings of true professionals. The bright and upbeat cinematography is excellent at concealing hidden truths and darkness. Lacking in special features, the only extra on the DVD is commentary.
"Better Luck Tomorrow" is really a film that stands out. While I don't think it's a masterpiece, I certainly think it's better than a lot of the drivel that's out today. If you're looking for a unique and different picture that is both scary and thought-provoking, then this might be the ticket for you. It's a great film with real strengths that ventures away from the ordinary and clichéd.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant filmmaking 2 May 2003
By Vinny Mac - Published on Amazon.com
If the reviews posted here aren't enough to get you out of your chair to see this film, than I cannot guess what is. Justin Lin is a filmmaker to look out for in the future. He has accomplished what so many Hollywood vets attempt to do, which is tell an accomplished, entertaining and successful story with style. Everything about the filmmaking here (script, photography, the finely calibrated performances, Lin's camera style) is brilliant. In my opinion, this is the most astonishing and brilliant American debut film since Spike Jonze's Being John Malkovich. There is too much plot and story to cover here, so I will just say this: I cannot wait to see what Mr. Lin will do next. He now has a brand new fan.
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