Bad Education


Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney both deliver straight A’s, despite their character’s crimes.

Two of the year’s best performances or of their careers, belong to Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney in “Bad Education,” an informative and riveting comedy-drama which found a home on HBO. Jackman plays the wolf in sheep’s clothing, and Janney is the fall guy.

Let me explain the situation. The movie is based on a true story in 2002 about the biggest school embezzlement scandal in history, which took place at the Roslyn High School in Long Island.

The wolf in sheep’s clothing would be the superintendent Frank Tassone, who has earned the most respect from his peers, because of how he whipped the district into shape; and the fall guy would be assistant superintendent Pam Gluckin. Both of these people have been sent to prison, so basically, I’m learning about these two for the first time. And I did take a look at the New York Magazine article from 2004 entitled: “The Bad Superintendent.”

A true story like goes far beyond the limits of society’s orders, and represents how corruption can fancy one’s lifestyle, and destroy the other’s in the process. Tassone spent money to keep up appearances, mostly of his suits, make-up, surgeries, and trips, while Gluckin had to keep her family afloat. These two have put the school at risk, and the facility is on its knees.

Take “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Catch Me If You Can,” “Hustlers,” and now “Bad Education.” These are explosive crime movies about characters who use their charismatic skills and creativity to get them living the good life. In any event, we admire these characters, who are portrayed in similar or different shades of life and ambition. And we’re also able to see their true colors without any spoiler alerts or “too much details,” as some people would complain about in articles. I’m giving away nothing.

Jackman and Janney are both explosive in their own respective ways. The former is able to adapt to his Tassone’s charisma by eating into the script and taking any chances he has at showing his movie face on the big screen. And the latter delivers such fiery and damn funny emotions to her Gluckin portrayal.

Bad Education” was written by Mike Makowsky (“I Think We’re Alone Now”) and directed by Cory Finley (“Thoroughbreds”), who adapt the true story with riveting intentions and informative messages about embezzlement and the process of right and wrong. And you also get some fine supporting performances from Geraldine Viswanathan (whom you may remember from “Blockers”) as Sophomore journalist Rachel Kellog, who investigated on the superintendent’s money crimes; Rafael Casal (“Blindspotting”) as a former student of Tassone, who becomes his lover, and Ray Romano as school board president Bob Spicer, who trusted Tassone.

I got a subscription to the HBO Now streaming service, and this was the first movie I wanted to watch on it. It’s entertaining, smart, funny, and dangerous, as a reminder to have people waking up to the crimes that happen in successful businesses, which in this case happens to be the Rosalyn school district. Again, I’m new to this past event, but I was fascinated by its narrative and performances.


Available for Streaming on HBO.

Categories: comedy, Drama, History

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