Rating Adam Sandler Movies B/C Twitter Told Me To
Twitter Told Me To Do This, No Seriously
As you may know, I occasionally engage in Hashtag Games on Twitter. Usually, I make a few jokes, get a few RT's and go back to my regularly scheduled day. But, then this happened:
Yup, 293 RT's and almost 800 likes. In fairness, it probably was more, because, after a day, people started calling out their friends (while including my Tweet in their own Tweets). It took almost two days for it to stop (Seriously, I felt a bit like I was in a beer pong game or something).
Truth be told I did not even think it was my funniest Tweet on this subject (two favorites: #DatingRedFlags - Prefers Figs and #DatingRedFlags - The Confederate Ones).
So, I could either bemoan the tens of thousands of Tweets that barely got RT'd at all about subjects like my interview with the Director of Rock Vs. Cancer or just relax and embrace what Twitter was telling me.
Twitter was saying there is a lot of angst about Mr. Adam Sandler.
When you think about it, it makes sense, I think at a basic level most of us like the idea of Adam Sandler. The problem, of late, is that his movies have become less about silly comic fun and more about writing for product placement and writing toward tie-ins and revenue streams.
And while the tone of my Tweet was mocking towards Opera Man, I realized that my disdain hides a dark secret...I have seen a large amount of Adam Sandler movies myself.
So, I decided to go back through the Sandler Filmography and see why I, and apparently Twitter, love/hate Cajun Man.
The Movies of Adam Sandler
I am starting at Billy Madison (no offense to Mixed Nuts or Shakes the Clown). Okay, one of my biggest theories on AS movies is that he is, deep down, trying to convince himself that he is a good person (and not an asshole). In almost every movie, he gives himself superpowers and is the savior of some important segment of the population. I am also skipping his cameos (like in "Dirty Work").
Billy Madison (1995)
I am not sure anything explains my ongoing willingness to subject myself to Adam Sandler movies than this gem "Billy Madison." It still cracks me up every time I see it. From Buscemi's "People To Kill List" to Sandler's Business Ethics exam answer inspiring the "I award you zero points and may God have mercy on your soul" line, I loved this insane romp.
Superpower: So rich that he can start school from Kindergarten again (in his 20's)
Savior Of: Kids who pee in their pants
Rating: 9 Sandler's
Happy Gilmore (1996)
People forget that this movie and Tin Cup came ou the same year (and shared almost the same plot). Tin Cup is a much better movie overall, but this is still one of the better Sandler movies. Carl Weathers is great, Bob Barker is great, Jaws from Bond is great (I think Richard Kiel passed away recently, RIP). Heck, even Shooter McGavin is great in Happy Gilmore.
Superpower: Can hit a golf ball farther than any other human on the planet (because he was a bad hockey player). Learns the short game (by playing put-put) in about fifteen minutes. Becomes a tour champion as a rookie.
Savior: Of Grandma's
Rating: 8 Sandler's
Breaks the mold in many ways because it is a buddy cop movie vehicle for Damon Wayans. This movie was so bad it got an 8% on Rotten Tomatoes. Did I watch it? Of course. There was some funny banter between Wayans and Sandler, but mostly a dud. This happened before Sandler had much influence over the scripts I suspect.
Superpowers: I seem to remember he was really good at numbers or bookkeeping
Savior Of: Nothing, he actually shot his best friend in the head
Rating: 2 Sandler's
The Wedding Singer (1998)
The first of the Sandler - Drew Barrymore movie pairings. I basically liked elements of The Wedding Singer. although it began a trend of injecting sloppy nostalgia in plot holes to create goodwill. Never before had a movie or television show condensed so much time-distinct music from a full decade into one particular year in that decade. Mostly schmaltz but inoffensive and fun schmaltz and the leads do have chemistry (about 30 minutes too long IMHO).
Superpower: Wedding Singing
Savior of: Drew Barrymore (with the help of Billy Idol)
Rating: 7 Sandler's
The Waterboy (1998)
I mean were I a therapist, I would think of this as Sandler laying out his insecurities on the table writ large with "The Waterboy." People seem to like him, but does he actually like himself? He clearly has the power to draw people to him (comedy/football) but can he trust that people genuinely appreciate and like him? Mostly, this is his statement to the critics who hate him because he speaks to the lowest-common-denominator (and may or may not understand the functioning of the medulla oblongata). He is basically saying, "fuck you" to the critics IMHO and doubling down on the silly.
At the end of the day, this is a litmus test movie, if you like Sandler you most likely LOVE The Waterboy. I find it both funny and sad.
Superpower: Goes from water boy to football player and immediately is the best defensive football player who has ever lived. So good that he takes a terrible team to the national championship game almost entirely by creating defensive TD's himself.
Savior of: His Mama
Rating: 6 Sandler's
Big Daddy (1999)
Big Daddy is pretty much the beginning of the end IMHO, from here on the decline starts at a pretty rapid rate. Yes, the movie has the very funny Leslie Mann and John Stewart, but the premise - let's take the biggest lazy slacker in the world and have a kid transform him into a responsible person - has been done to death, and often in much better ways. This is basically Arthur with kids (but not anywhere near as funny). I am sure I will get blasted for saying it, but it is a bad movie.
Superpower: Effortless slacker survival skills
Savior Of: Homeless people and kids
Rating: 5 Sandler's
Little Nicky (2000)
Yes I think Little Nicky is awful, but I have seen it (maybe even twice - thanks, cable). I don't really have much else to say, I am even having a hard time remembering one funny moment from this movie (in which Sandler is the least loved son of the Devil - that doesn't even make sense as I type it all these years later).
Superpower: Lot's - He is the Son of Satan
Savior Of: The World...no, really, the whole thing.
Rating: 1 Sandler
Mr. Deeds (2002)
Mr. Deeds is also awful (but not mean-spirited at all). Especially given the source material. Sandler's character is a successful small town entrepreneur who inherits a bunch of money from a billionaire Father he never really knew. Basically, the worst version of Twain ever filmed. Another riff (on the by now repetitive theme) that the people who don't love Sandler are the real idiots.
Superpower: Best fighter in the history of forever, can even humble professional athletes without breaking a sweat.
Savior of: The working man and small-town smarts (sigh)
Rating: 3 Sandler's (not as bad as Little Nicky - but how could it be).
Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Punch-Drunk Love is an interesting counter-point to the movies Sandler made for himself. This was a Paul Thomas Anderson feature film about (arguably) Sander's insecurities. It is about a man who is entirely alone but possesses a strange genius (in this case he has figured out how to break a contest and get frequent flier miles for life). I feel like PTA sees in AS this same kind of insecurity and ultimate desire to be truly loved.
A really bizarre movie (even for PT Anderson), but much more interesting than the dreck Sandler is (at this point) making.
Savior Of: Himself
Rating: 6 Sandler's
50 First Dates (2004)
Sure, 50 First Dates didn't always make the most sense, but I did enjoy it. Sandler is definitely at his best when he is on screen with Barrymore. In an odd way, she makes sense of his worst on-screen tendencies.
There are odd subplots about steroids and gender confusion, but, for the most part, this is about as charming as Sandler gets (even when dating and marrying a woman who can't remember more than one day at a time).
Superpower: Talks to the animals
Savior Of: Amnesiac Love
Rating: 6.5 Sandler's
Spanglish is another anomaly in the Sandler canon. This is really not a movie about him at all, although he is one of the main characters. It is a decent but not spectacular movie. Certainly worth, at the least, a late night viewing. Benefits by being directed by John L. Brooks and not being written by Sandler and crew.
Savior of: Nobody
Rating: 5 Sandler's
The Longest Yard (2005)
Shamefully bad remake of the Burt Reynolds cult classic, "The Longest Yard." No amount of cameos can save this steaming pile of poo (and there are a million cameos). Just awful. Hard to remember one honest laugh but very easy for me to remember all the cringing. Poor Chris Rock (how can one really funny human being be in so many terrible movies?).
Superpower: Best QB in the world
Savior Of: Prisoners (from all of those cruel wardens who love football)
Rating: 1 Sandler
Click is Adam Sandler as Jimmy Stewart, I just don't see it. Many people love this movie, but I would suggest that Pleasantville is a much better modern take on Frank Capra. Another way too long and way too sloppily written Sandler movie. I will give it a bit higher rating simply because it was striving to be better. Another problem with this movie was that, by the time it was made, its take on technology was already pretty obsolete
Superpower: Can fast-forward past the troubling moments in his life using a magic remote control
Savior: Of Himself
Rating: 4.5 Sandler's
Reign Over Me (2007)
Apologies, I did not see this movie. If it is the "holy grail" of Sandler movies, let me know, I am sure I can find it and watch.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck And Larry (2007)
I have tried to watch "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" several times, I just can't do it. So, so, so bad. I fully get that Sandler is trying really hard to make a pro-gay movie for the masses here, but it is just really bad. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is to "pro-gay movies" what "Watermelon Man" was to racial equality movies. In the end, there had to be a better way.
Superpower: Again with the being really good at kicking asses and being super desirable to women
Savior of: Gay People
Rating: 1 Sandler
You Don't Mess With The Zohan (2008)
You Don't Mess With The Zohan is the absolute Nadir, as bad as it gets. Also, by far, the worst movie in John Turturro's career. Sandler plays a former Mossad agent turned flamboyant hairdresser in NYC. How could that go wrong? Oh, there is also a Palestinian terrorist after him, but it is funny (sigh). Really awful. Har to imagine this got greenlit. One thing is for sure, Sandler loves attacking stereotypes with even more over the top stereotypes.
Superpowers: Sex and magic ass-kicking powers (no insecurities here, ten movies where he can kick anybody's ass and now make sex Mo' Better also)
Savior of: The Middle East, he was the missing key to the Middle East Peace Process (no really).
Rating: 0 Sandler's (and may God have mercy on his soul).
Bedtime Stories (2008)
If what kids really want is never-ending candy and simplistic solutions to complex problems, Bedtime Stories is the best kids movie ever made. I kind of watched it once, and couldn't finish it.
I dunno, maybe kids like it?
Funny People (2009)
I really enjoyed this movie. And Judd Apatow proves why much of Sandler's best work is done when AS is not in charge of the production, script, director etc. Sandler plays Sandler, and it is interesting. To be 100%, after seeing this, I understood his other choices throughout his career better. Sure he is still the same character, but seeing it in context (comedy) adds layers of understanding IMHO.
Seth Rogan was pretty great in this as well.
Superpower: Beloved Comedian
Savior of: His mental, physical, and spiritual health
Rating: 7.5 Sandler's
Grown Ups (2010)
Jesus, can we stop it already with "the coolest manchild in the history of the world" character. I think I would rather see Spanglish 4 than Grown Ups. What would happen if we take the classic Sandler character but this time surround him with most of his friends from his SNL days? Oh, but let's also give him the hottest woman in the world as his wife (so far Tea Leone, Kate Beckinsale, and now Salma Hayek to name only a few).
This movie was awful, I mean really bad, it is almost like they have just started painting by numbers. I would not be surprised if they take the same scripts and just rewrite the scenes and names. In fairness, maybe I am asking Charlie Chaplin to stop playing The Tramp (probably going to hell for that comparison).
Superpower: Can shoot better than Steph Curry, oh and is incredibly cool, everyone really loves him.
Savior of: Family and Friends (American Pie?)
Rating: 1.5 Sandler's
Just Go With It (2011)
The one where Sandler proves he can infect anyone, welcome to Sandlerville Mr. Pacino. I did see this movie, but I am still trying to erase it from my memory bank, it is that bad.
Yes, Sandler plays twin Sandler's in Jack and Jill, so bad.
I will skip the rest and just go to...
Rating: 0.5 Sandler's (It is bad, but not Zohan bad)
That's My Boy (2012)
Okay, this time, what if the cool slacker was seduced by his high school teacher (Susan Sarandon) and had a kid who he abandoned, but is still able to save. Because no matter what bad things Adam Sandler does, he can save anyone.
Oh, and no matter what dumb things he does or says, everyone will always love him. Even his son will grow to love him no matter how awful he was to him. Oh, and let's not forget the icky subplot where his son's fiance is cheating and cheating with her brother (but it is funny, see).
Oh, and lots of Vanilla Ice (whoopie).
Think of this as the really amazingly stupid remake of Funny People.
Superpowers: He can turn anyone into a supporter
Savior of: His son, who is a mess because of him in the first place (sigh)
Rating: 1 Sandler
Grown Ups 2
Tried to make it through this one twice, couldn't do it (and if you look at how many of these I did make it through, that should tell you something).
Really bad, and why in the world would this movie need a sequel?
Rating: No idea
Sorry, even bringing back the old chemistry between Drew Barrymore and Sandler couldn't save this one. Another of the movies that I could not try as I might, make it all the way through.
I have a friend who insists it is a good movie, but I have no idea why. I am pretty sure that the "African" parts were filmed in Animal Kingdom Lodge.
I hate to have another incomplete, but I didn't make it through.
I am going to guess only die-hard Sandler fans can stomach this one.
Rating: 1 Sandler?
Well, in comparison to many of the other bad movies on this list, I guess the best thing I can say about Pixels is that it is not "as bad." But, in all honesty, it is still really bad.
At least I made it through the whole movie? I have no doubt Sandler loves video games, but I am guessing he could have done a bit better than this weak homage. I mean he doesn't even give any backstory to the actual games that he is trying to pay tribute to.
Virtually no part of the plot makes any sense, but at least I did not feel like punching the screen. In the recent Sandler canon, that is a victory.
I hope this doesn't mean the end of Peter Dinklage's career.
Superpower: One of the best video game players in the world
Savior of: The World
Rating: 3 Sandler's
I have not seen The Cobbler. I know I didn't rate the two Hotel Transylvania Movies, sue me.
Well, I am sure many Sandler lovers will hate what I have said. Obviously, as much as I am bagging on Sandler, something about his gestalt must still appeal to me because I have seen almost all of his movies. So, while it seems like hate, somewhere in there is love too.
What did I learn from all of this? I dunno, maybe that people can still get enjoyment from an Adam Sandler movie even if it is objectively not a very good movie (even me).
Anyway, I am conflicted about Adam Sandler too and I have no idea why. Maybe it says something about modern capitalism that we enjoy a personality enough that we will sit through (or lay on a couch watching, not going to pretend I saw many of these in a theater) an hour and a half exercise in product placement because we basically "like" someone's on-screen persona.
What did you think of my ratings? What movies do you want to defend, as long as you are civil, I will absolutely listen (I respond to all civil comments). Let me know what you think, leave a comment!