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🎬 "The wrong train can lead you to the right station."

🎬 "The wrong train can lead you to the right station."
By Eric Johnson • Issue #69 • View online

This week in quarantine: Something old, something new, something Bollywood, and nothing blue.
📫 Reply to this email with your reactions and recommendations for what I should watch in the future.
🍎 Bad Education
Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney star in HBO’s Bad Education, a dramatization of a major scandal at a competitive high school; that synopsis was enough to get me to watch.
However, in case you need a little more of a nudge: The acting here is incredible, arguably a career-best role for Jackman (someday I will unpack my complicated feelings about Logan). And this is also a very good journalism movie, with the twist that it’s partly about a 15-year-old journalist and not a professional, played by the immediately likable Geraldine Viswanathan.
If you don’t already know what happened in the Roslyn school district in 2006, don’t Google it — this is one of those crime stories where it’s fun to be surprised. As a diehard fan of her West Wing character C.J. Cregg, I wish Janney had been given a bit more to do here, but Jackman is the emotional anchor of the story and really sells it.
Also appearing in this picture and deserving of special praise: Ray Romano, who is having one hell of a great post-sitcom career, including The Big Sick, The Irishman, and now this film. It’s only a matter of time until he gets a meaty Uncut Gems-style role that’s worthy of his range.
BAD EDUCATION Trailer (2020) Hugh Jackman, Comedy Movie
BAD EDUCATION Trailer (2020) Hugh Jackman, Comedy Movie
Bad Education is currently streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now.
🍛 The Lunchbox
I knew basically nothing about The Lunchbox before I saw it, except that it was made in India and would star Irrfan Khan, who passed away last month at the age of 54. I can see now why he was beloved by so many people around the world.
This movie bowled me over. It’s sweet, it’s sad, it’s funny, it’s well-paced, well-acted, well-edited … well, it’s just great. Khan plays a salaryman named Mr. Fernandes in Mumbai, where delivery workers known as dabbawallas port hot lunches from homes to businesses and back every day; he begins receiving the wrong lunches by mistake, and starts corresponding with the woman who makes them, a young mother who thought she was cooking for her husband.
Ila, the mother played by the winning Nimrat Kaur, is a believable match for Fernandes, and it’s easy to root for the two of them, especially as we learn how emotionally distant her actual partner is to her. I haven’t seen the original Shop Around the Corner, but I suspect this movie would be a great double feature with one I’ve seen many times, You’ve Got Mail.
On top of this mysterious and unexpected romance, Fernandes is being asked to train his replacement at work, a much younger man played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui. By the end of the movie, I was invested in the future of all three characters — and I loved the way the story ends.
The Lunchbox Official US Release Trailer - Irrfan Khan Movie HD
The Lunchbox Official US Release Trailer - Irrfan Khan Movie HD
The Lunchbox is not currently streaming anywhere, but it’s available on all the big video platforms —$1.99 to $3.99 to rent, and $7.99 to $12.99 to buy (in both cases, Vudu and Fandango currently have the best price).
⚖️ 12 Angry Men
In sharp relief to The Lunchbox, I already knew exactly how I felt about 12 Angry Men before revisiting it this week — that it is a timeless cinematic masterpiece. After much pondering and mulling, I have decided that my preconceived notions were correct.
Sidney Lumet was a genius. Here’s what I wrote about this movie the last time I watched it, in 2018:
12 ANGRY MEN (1957) is one of my all-time favorite films and revisiting it on a recently acquired Blu-Ray copy was a treat. If you’ve never seen it before, then just go watch it. But even if you *have* then it’s worth rewatching just to be able to pay attention to how the camera angle changes over the course of the film. I’ve talked to people who say, “I don’t really get what a director does,” and 12 Angry Men is a masterclass in how a good director (in this case, the great Sidney Lumet, who had ~NEVER BEFORE DIRECTED A FEATURE FILM~) can add an oomph to a film’s emotional message. There’s a pretty decent chance that if I had seen this movie and To Kill a Mockingbird when I was a kid, I would’ve actually wanted to go to law school (sorry, Mom and Dad).
On this re-viewing, it really jumped out at me how well the titular all-white all-male jury is written, because it becomes to easy to tell them all apart. Of course, Henry Fonda has a famous face and a strikingly white suit, but most of the rest are just ordinarily-dressed character actors doing really, really good work. In no time at all, it becomes easy to imagine how one of them is going to react to what the others are saying.
12 Angry Men (3/10) Movie CLIP - Who Changed Their Vote? (1957) HD
12 Angry Men (3/10) Movie CLIP - Who Changed Their Vote? (1957) HD
12 Angry Men is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video. It’s also available on all the big video platforms —$3.99 to rent, and $5.99 to $14.99 to buy (Amazon currently has the best price).
Other Stuff I Liked This Week
This vegetarian chili recipe from the New York Times, written by Melissa Clark, has become one of our go-to favorites in quarantine. We’ve been adding quinoa for structure and chipotle pepper adobo sauce to give it an extra kick, but even the by-the-book recipe would still be filling and warm and flavorful — everything you want from a bowl of chili. Serve with tortilla chips and make sure to make enough to have leftovers. It tastes even better after a day in the fridge.
The Company Meeting
The Company Meeting
And finally, this video of BBC sports broadcaster Andrew Cotter having a Zoom call with his dogs Mabel and Olive is flawlessly executed. If you like it, his other dog videos are also worth a watch.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Eric Johnson

I'm reviewing every movie I watch, and watching every movie I own. Settle in, this is going to take a while.

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