From the get-co, I'm half asian.
With all the crap movies that would stink up a toilet, it's critical that I point out the ones that stand out completely. Whether it's the captivating story, imaginative visual effects, or just having me go "whooooooa....", these movies have proved that the asian community has a strong media arts foundation. Asian movies have extended far beyond the typical martial arts idea into media that actually hold other kinds of meaning and weight. I have been exposed to many films throughout Asia due to all the time I spent volunteering for the Visual Communications organization.
"Better Luck Tomorrow" involves a group of over-achieving asian americain high school students. After reaching the academic pinnacle, they become bored. Very bored. They are easily persuaded with minor protestations to start an underground network of cheat sheets. Which escalates into a gang-like proportions of drugs, sex, and a whole lot of trouble.
Think back to your high school and undoubtedly you can imagine the cliques that formed. Depending on where you are, the demographic of the high achievers would most likely be asians. On top of that, there is the sterotype that all asians are overachievers.
Honestly, it's not a bad stereotype to live up to...but it is a stereotype regardless...
Truth be told, I was part of that group of over-achievers. Within that group, I ranked in the middle: not the head runner in grades nor was I lagging. I maintained myself and came away pretty normal.
I've seen firsthand how crazy students can get. The pressure to be on top, get through high school, worry about the oppositite sex, studying for the SAT's ,and try to come up with an orignal answer to "Why do you want to go to this college?" can easily push someone to the dark side. I went to an LAUSD high school. If you wanted drugs and alcohol, it wasn't that hard to find.
Coming off my own high school memories, this movie is not too far fetched. Although I do live in an urban jungle not the gated communities of the outer regions. There is so much to do in the city that I never heard the urge to explore in drugs, etc.
I was also blessed with an overproctective mother who dropped me off at the gate and watch me walk in. She would be waiting there at the end of colorguard practice so there wasn't a whole lot of chances to sneak away and do nefarious deeds. She was furious when I walked to the 7-11 three blocks away when practice let out early! oh, that was an ear full...
Here are a few thoughts of the cast:
* The main actors are all asian and good. Very few movies can boast that. We get a chance to understand each character and their motives as they aim for the same goal of power and money.
* Ben Manibag played by Parry Shen is the main protagonist in the movie. We pretty much follow his decisions and inner monologue throughout the movie. He's sweet but kind of bland. I don't feel sorry for him when shit goes down the drain.
* My personal favorite character is Han played by Sung Kang. He is just bad ass awesome.
* Han's cousin, Virgil, played by Jason Tobin reminded me of Animal the muppet. His energy was crazy and psychotic. Han and Virgil are close but are extremely violent towards one another. Yet you can tell that Han does care for Virgil in a way.
* It also features one of my favorite actors, John Cho. This is the only role I know that he plays a serious character. Cute and talented.
There is just so much I can say about this movie. It was truthful in its own way, humorous at some parts, dark at others. The movie loves to ask the question "Are you happy?". Simple but a question that is hard to answer. It's one of those independant movies that you have to watch and ponder yourself that answer.
There can be no question that you would be deep in thought after the movie ends.
It'll probably make you reconsider your fellow asian students just a little bit.