Like every Asian in every urban city in the good ole U.S. of A., I saw the Justin Lin flick “Better Luck Tomorrow”. And like every Asian in every urban city in the good ole U.S. of A., I have an opinion of the movie. But unlike most, I won’t give a simple “It’s okay.” attitude about the movie.
Before I get into my thoughts about the film, first and foremost, I’m happy that the movie is being highly publicized as having a large Asian American cast but I’m also disturbed that people are only hyping (or bandwagon jumping) about it being an Asian American film. My hopes about this movie was for a good plot, screenwriting, directing, and acting. I think if we focused on these aspects of the film, more Asian Americans would find more work in film and not be pigeon-holed and segregated as Asian American films. Okay, I’ll get off my soap box about the politics of the film.
Of course, unless you’re Jet Li or Jackie Chan, Asians having the opportunity to be recognized as talent in Hollywood is rare. I’m not naive to believe otherwise, and neither should you be. Therefore, I admit, I held this movie to a higher standard and expected more because it was largely an Asian American cast.
What did I think? Hmmm… it’s okay. I’ve seen most of the “popular” so-called Asian American movies (i.e. Yellow, Joy Luck Club, etc.) that have attempted to break into the mainstream audience. I can say this is one of the best of the lot. But, like I said, I don’t want to pigeon-hole this as only an Asian American film.
So, the question is, how about it as a film overall? Many may not relate to the “Billionaire Boys Club” aspect of the characters and the plot. Even though most of us do get bored of the monotonous structure of Life, itself, we struggle to keep our 9 to 5 jobs, save enough to pay our bills on time, and strive to make some meaning of it all. So, I enjoyed the theme about “breaking the cycle of happiness”. (For me, the Tarantino-isque twist, wasn’t as original as I came to expect from a movie in general.) I don’t agree with those who say this movie portrays Asian Americans in a negative light because of the violence and drug use in the movie. You take the good with the bad and I loved the irony of the characters being “overachievers”, esp. the scene where they were cleaning up the beach to secure their future as good-hearted peoples. I’m not sayin’ much, as this movie isn’t based on a review but on the experience of watching it. It’s one of those that you either love or hate. Therefore, get off your ass and go out and watch it!
Side note: I am annoyed by those who refer to this movie as “BLT” like they’re hip or something. Instead, you sound like you’re ordering off a fast food menu.
[Don’t read anymore, if you haven’t seen the movie. Spoiler to follow]
Overall, this is my assessment of what type of movie I would of wanted to see, remember the scene where our heroes were driving back from the frat party after they beat the shit out of that taunting white guy? And then Virgil was boasting about how cool that was while a car pulls up next to them with a bunch of “thugged-out-looking” Asians saying shit to them flossing their uzis and stuff… I’m very curious about the stories about those “thugged-out-looking” Asians. That would of been a more interesting movie to watch…