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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
School Daze
by Betty Jo Tucker

Never underestimate the power of a student newspaper. Bad Education, based on true events, offers proof to back up that statement. Although not the major character in this uneven dramedy, a student wrote the article for the Roslyn (New York) high school paper that exposed the single largest public school embezzlement scandal in American history.

This movie reveals the dirty deals involved and the two main people who committed the crime. Surprisingly, the culprits were Roslynís superintendent Frank Tassone and his assistant Pam Gluckin, portrayed by Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney, respectively. What a good time these fine actors must have had bringing Frank and Pam to life on screen! Both intrigue us and hold our interest despite their flaws. Allison gives Pam a glow for greed, and Jackman makes Frank reek with confidence and vanity during most of his scenes.

Still, I wish journalist student Rachel Bhargam received more camera attention here. That way, viewers would have a character to care about. Young Geraldine Viswanathan (Blockers) delivers a lovely calm performance in that key role. She brings a breath of fresh air to such a nasty tale. 

While watching Bad Education I couldnít help thinking about Jackmanís plans to star in a Broadway revival of THE MUSIC MAN. His role as Frank Tassone seems like excellent preparation for portraying Professor Harold Hill. Both men know how to win friends and influence people with their charismatic behavior. Well, the corona virus pandemic has put a damper on live theater, so these plans will have to wait. Too bad Bad Education isnít a musical. Itís always more fun to watch Jackman sing and dance.

No Wolverine or song and dance,

Hugh Jackman takes another chance.

He plays a man full of himself

with morals left upon the shelf.


ďBad EducationĒ is the name

of this movie that we can blame.

Allison Janney plays a part too

as a person we want to boo.


Based on events which are so true,

the story makes us feel quite blue.

Crime does not pay. Well maybe not.

Watch last credit to laugh a lot.

Directed by Cory Finley (Thoroughbreds) and written by Mike Makowsky (I Think Weíre Alone Now) Ė who was a Roslyn student during this scandal -- Bad Education isnít a bad movie. But it left me with an emptiness I canít explain.    

Rather fail with honor than succeed with fraud. --- Sophocles

(Released by HBO Films. Not rated by MPAA.)

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