No one will RTFA
December 14, 2019 4:20 AM   Subscribe

What is the best Adam Sandler movie? This is a ranking of the best Adam Sandler movies, as opposed to Adam Sandler’s best movies — that would imply a universal value, which I reject; this is about relative value. I ranked Sandler’s movies not by which was the best movie (again, whatever that means!) but by which was the best at being an Adam Sandler movie.
posted by Literaryhero (63 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cannot believe I RTFA myself, but here I am. This was a long and convoluted ad for Uncut Gems but worth it for this:

You don’t have Click without Spanglish.
posted by Exceptional_Hubris at 5:12 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I am very firmly in the anti-Sandler camp. But he clearly knows how to make a movie that works for a significant audience. And by this metric:

"I didn’t get into movies to please the critics. I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends."

...it sounds like he's been successful.

I wish I could say that my dislike of his films is just a matter of taste – but his penchant for centering a man-child as the protagonist is, like, kind of morally obnoxious. This article argues that Sandler's man-children grow and evolve over the course of the movie (and maybe that's true; I haven't been able to sit through enough of Sandler's oeuvre to pick up on that theme).

But, like...do we really need more stories which revolve around man-children? And which celebrate their childishness as a quirky frolic?

Anyway, this part about Grown Ups 2 hardly sounds like a movie about a man-child's growth and evolution. It sounds like a movie which allows the man-children in the audience to imagine themselves free to indulge their ids without judgment or consequence:

Adam Sandler movies are often escapist. He’ll drive nice cars, hook up with beautiful women, and so on, but the real wish fulfillment is metatextual. He creates movies where you wish you were Sandler getting to make the movie in the first place. He gets to shoot in exotic locations, with his best friends in the world, and wear the most comfortable clothes possible to work. This movie ends with a big party, filled with former SNL cast members (the film features 15 in total, just short of the Coneheads record), dressed in ’80s costumes, and it looks like a blast. There isn’t much cinematic value to it, but it is fun to imagine being invited to it. In that regard, the film is a tremendous success.

I hope this author got hazard pay for sitting through 41 of these movies. Jesus.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 5:59 AM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I have never seen a single Adam Sandler movie. The fact that there are 41 of them makes me think I should try one.
posted by Bee'sWing at 6:04 AM on December 14, 2019


So, from the early comments it seems that venn diagram of MeFi members and film critics has a lot of overlap!

Anyway, I approve of this list because it appropriately ranks Punch Drunk Love as one of his best.
posted by oddman at 6:11 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


I like Funny People, and I like Punch-Drunk Love. I think I've seen Airheads, Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, and The Wedding Singer, but I might've just, like, lived during the time those movies were a big thing (Airheads might not've been a big thing). Uncut Gems sounds not-terrible.

I also like Vulture's exhaustive ranking lists--it's not a bad niche.
posted by box at 6:11 AM on December 14, 2019


disappointed that this wasn't by grierson & leitch
posted by Kwine at 6:13 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


When I was in high school, I spent a Friday evening writing an essay that dissected the Adam Sandler movie formula. Called it " How to Write An Adam Sandler Movie Without Really Trying. "
posted by honeybee413 at 6:43 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


The Meyerowitz Stories is the first one of these movies I’ve seen, and it’s superb.
posted by growabrain at 6:45 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Bee'sWing: "I have never seen a single Adam Sandler movie. The fact that there are 41 of them makes me think I should try one."

I've watched the trailers to a lot of his movies; does that that count? Oh and I've seen Punch Drunk Love because of PTA and it's my least favorite of Anderson's movies.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Surprisingly, I read that whole thing even after the size of the page load crashed my phone's browser twice and I had to reload and find my place again. I am not sure it inspired me to go out and watch a bunch of Adam Sandler movies but it made me feel less guilty about how much I secretly enjoy Billy Madison.

I really appreciate criticism that can engage with something where it is - like literary criticism that doesn't dismiss genre writing for using genre tropes but assesses how the tropes are deployed or music criticism that treats the craft that goes into pop music with respect. The repeated mentions that there is no absolute scale of good and bad really resonated, and is the reason I find something like this wildly more compelling than something like the list of all the movies of the decade ranked that was linked here recently.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:08 AM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I really appreciate criticism that can engage with something where it is

I was on the fence about that at first, but I’ve been mulling that articles’ framing - “movies Adam Sandler stars in, ranked in order at how good they are at being Adam Sandler movies” - pretty hard since I first saw it. I wonder what that would look like as applied to me; ”projects mhoye’s been involved in, ranked in order of how good they are at being mhoye projects”. I suspect I have a serious blind spot about what that even means, much less what a final ordering would be to some critical perspective, but now I’m curious. Maybe real introspection and self-awareness means meeting yourself where you are?

In any case, I think there’s a similar article to be written about Sandler movie soundtracks.
posted by mhoye at 7:32 AM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I've seen Spanglish, Punch Drunk, and the one where he was the 9/11 widower (don't ask). Spanglish? could've been anybody in that role, and Punch Drunk was fine.

Uncut Gems seems like a movie I've seen before and do not need to see again.

And I don't think we need anymore child/man movies, but I am apparently all wrong about that.
posted by allthinky at 7:38 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


50 First Dates is a surprisingly good movie, with a stunning moment of darkness and despair that wrenches you out of the quaint romantic comedy with a quirk bit, and a strange sort of compassion and deep caring for the characters in the film, but fuck, having rob Schneider play the worst sort of native Hawaiian stereotype, yeah, it’s Adam Sandler, living down to his worst impulses even when he’s so, so close to making something better.

Punch Drunk Love is transcendent. It’s absurd, but the romance feels real-for-these-two-damaged-people, and Philip Seymour Hoffman lets out the terrifying darkness he could hide under layers of buffoonery. The movie feels as if this small scale story of sleazy blackmail is a much grander story burdened with deep purpose and passion.

And Adam Sandler’s cameo as the devil in Dirty Work made me laugh until I cried. So he’s not entirely awful to me.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:41 AM on December 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


I haven't seen a lot, on purpose, but as a kid I watched Mr Deeds and 50 First Dates with the family and they were enjoyable
posted by FirstMateKate at 7:58 AM on December 14, 2019


mhoye: I wonder what that would look like as applied to me; ”projects mhoye’s been involved in, ranked in order of how good they are at being mhoye projects”.

For me it would definitely be a half-finished project, one where I figured out just enough about how to make it work to satisfy myself before dropping it for something else. Would it be the half-finished drawers behind me, the vague idea of a robot to my left, or the half-baked plans for a human-powered airplane?
posted by clawsoon at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I went in to this expecting, depending on the author's definition of Adam Sandler Movie, for #1 to be either Billy Madison, or 50 First Dates. Being arguably the first Adam Sandler Movie, or the first one that also doubled as a tropical vacation for him and his friends, neither would be all that complementary about Sandler's ability to hone his craft over the years. Though the actual list ended up being a bit more complementary on that front, not really by a whole lot.

Anyway, my favorite is probably Wedding Singer, which I'm a bit surprised ended up so high on the list, since it never fully felt like an Adam Sandler movie to me.
posted by ckape at 8:15 AM on December 14, 2019


The fact that the author uses the label "Happy Madison" as a generic label for a bunch of Sandler movies suggests to me that one or the other of Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison is the most Sandler Sandler movie.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 8:29 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really like Billy Madison, Big Daddy, The Wedding Singer, and 50 First Dates, and Punch-Drunk Love is a legitimately great film. Any of those I would recommend. (Honorable mention to Spanglish for that one scene with the egg sandwich.) But I’ve never understood the appeal of Happy Gilmore, so this list calling it “overrated” pleases me. Maybe I just hate golf.

I don’t know what it says about me that the only two films that have ever made me cry in a theater were garbage—one of which was indeed Click (I sobbed!!) (the other was Meet Joe Black (lol)).
posted by sallybrown at 8:30 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


meanwhile ... off in the distance, Rome was burning as it had been for many years.
posted by philip-random at 8:47 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


Adam Sandler Fans Disappointed By Intelligent, Nuanced Performance
LOS ANGELES—Adam Sandler fans across the nation expressed deep disappointment in the new film Punch-Drunk Love, which features an intelligent, nuanced lead performance by the comedian. "He didn't even do his funny high-pitched 'retardo guy' voice," said college student Bradley Sanderson, 19, after seeing the critically lauded film Tuesday. "And what was with all that textured, multi-dimensional character-development shit?" Similarly let down was fan Bob Trotta: "I didn't pay $9 to see Adam Sandler wrestle with some psychological crisis. He could have at least put a trash-can lid on his head and gone, 'I'm Crazy Trash Head! Gimme some candy!' How hard would that have been?"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:55 AM on December 14, 2019 [11 favorites]


I read the entire article, surprisingly enough and I really think that the author, despite all the insistence that this was about The Best Adam Sandler Movie," in the end couldn't resist the siren song of making a list of "Adam Sandler's Best Movies."

I've seen probably about a third of the movies on this list and I am even willing to call myself an Adam Sandler fan, though there's definitely one end of his spectrum that I appreciate more than others.

I have never seen Click, but I understand what the writer of the article is getting at when he describes it as the archetypal Adam Sandler movie. And, from that perspective, yes, The Wedding Singer is a reasonable number two, with Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore also clinching spots near the top.

The problem is that, no matter how the author tries to justify it, you can't possibly put Punch Drunk Love or Funny People so high on the list. They are both fantastic movies. His two best, in my opinion, of the ones I have seen. But I just don't buy the argument that they are of the same breed as The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore.

They have some things in common, but they are intentional departures. If The Wedding Singer and Punch Drunk Love are two attempts at the same gestalt, then one of them failed very badly. And I don't think either of them failed badly. I just think that The Wedding Singer is "A Great Adam Sandler Movie," while Punch Drunk Love is "A Great Movie With Adam Sandler."
posted by 256 at 9:02 AM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


The fact that the author uses the label "Happy Madison" as a generic label for a bunch of Sandler movies suggests to me that one or the other of Happy Gilmore and Billy Madison is the most Sandler Sandler movie.

"Happy Madison" is Adam Sandler's production company.
posted by ckape at 9:09 AM on December 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


The anti-capitalist brilliance of Adam Sandler: Why are juvenile ’90s flicks like ‘Billy Madison’ still so funny? Here’s a theory: Because they challenge the grim authority and corruption of American empire.
posted by sapagan at 9:20 AM on December 14, 2019


Uncut Gems seems like a movie I've seen before and do not need to see again.

This was my takeaway from the two times I’ve seen the trailer. I’m reminded of a review of the terrible-but-somewhat-engaging Toad Road: “ The behavior is alarmingly and realistically staged, and you don’t have to be a prude to wonder if 75 minutes in the company of these people is really time well spent.”
posted by GenjiandProust at 9:37 AM on December 14, 2019


I think Adam Sandler has purposefully made movies that are anti-critic. He notches up an obnoxious voice to make certain that if the first iteration didn't make you plug your ears, the second would. I would be seriously surprised if I met him and discovered he wasn't doing all of this as a committed act.

You might say that baiting critics is a puerile act, but they are just part of the authority he is baiting in his films.

I saw him on Dennis Miller's show (before Miller went full political insane), and Sandler sat there and made his anger-control face (probably for real), as Miller snobbishly described Sandler's work as the humor of nothing: Who would have thought nothing humor would be so popular?

From that moment on, I have been on Sandler's side.

He is savvy and that's why great directors use him.

My son (12 now) loves Adam Sandler movies. Probably second in great acting after The Rock. Man-child to the adult is child-man to a child. He is allowed to unleash his anger against a world that treats him unfairly. That's wish-fulfillment for children.

Jumping around a bit more, my parents always let me know how terrible were the movies that I loved as a kid. I vowed not to do that to my kid. And part of that means embracing Adam Sandler. (I've only seen about eight of his movies though.)
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:45 AM on December 14, 2019 [7 favorites]


Punch-Drunk Love... and The Wedding Singer

These are the only two of his movies I've ever seen, and Punch-Drunk Love was better.

I've seen Punch Drunk Love because of PTA and it's my least favorite of Anderson's movies.

Parent-Teacher Association? Pain in The Ass? Anyway, the only other of his movies I've seen are Magnolia and There Will Be Blood. The former was weird, and dumb; and yet the latter is one of the best films I've ever seen.
posted by Rash at 10:17 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


Punch Drunk Love holds a special place in my heart. It was the first-date, blind-date movie with my now-wife. We both loved it for its dark humor and weird romance between two very flawed but weirdly-relatable humans. Everything about it is kind of weird, from the story, the characters' backgrounds, cinematography, music, everything.

That's why we liked it.
posted by docjohn at 10:26 AM on December 14, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've seen too many of these, all of them prior to, say, 2005 or so.

Wedding Singer should be #1 but #2 is fine. Happy Gilmore is quintessentially the Adam Sandler movie for a lot of reasons. The Waterboy was just irritating even when I was a teenager. And Mr. Deeds isn't "good" by any stretch but it has an inherent guileless sincerity and sweetness that makes me love it in spite of itself.

That is all.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:32 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really liked this article. It's not a listicle, it's an examination of a career which has to be read in order because the ideas it's expressing develop across the scope of its reviews. It's an intelligent look at something that I didn't really think needed examination, but reading it proved me wrong.

I'm not really a Sandler fan, and I doubt I ever will be, but I've enjoyed enough of his movies to have read this entire article, and I think I have an appreciation for his oeuvre now that I didn't have before. Thank you for posting this!
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on December 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


I'm still a Sandler movie virgin (eww), although I'd be willing to see Airheads, mostly for Buscemi. My experience of Sandler via SNL was that his go-to comic persona was of someone who was just barely over the line of being obnoxious, and the proximity to that line was what made it funny; I just can't imagine it being funny for an entire movie. (I will also admit to being influenced by this downbeat article about SNL from New York magazine, from 1995, when Sandler and his posse--Spade, Schneider, and Chris Farley, who gets the worst of the piece's criticism--have clearly outworn their welcome, but are still around.) I will say, though, that the author of this links to another piece that he did which has an interesting premise: that most if not all comedians have a period in their life when their comic persona really clicks, and that that may not be until fairly late in their careers (Rodney Dangerfield, Marc Maron).
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:43 AM on December 14, 2019


Oh, and when "Little Nicky" was in production, I was in my Freshman year at NYU. They were shooting behind a bar near us, and the owner called a couple of us over to hang out on set. It was cold and hectic and pretty tense, because Adam was having an argument with his girlfriend/wife/not sure on his phone, but the two things I took away were:

1. Patricia Arquette is ridiculously short, but nice.

2. While continuing what appeared to be a soul-crushingly awful phone call, Sandler still walked over and shook our hands and said hi, distracted as he was.

So I like him. I met his buddy Rob Schneider under much better circumstances a year or two later and he was maybe the slimiest dick I've ever interacted with. For comparison.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:07 AM on December 14, 2019 [12 favorites]


Dr. Strangelove is probably my benchmark for comedy films, but I will always laugh at "He called the shit poop!"
posted by Brocktoon at 11:11 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I haven't seen a Sandler movie but I always get a sense from him that I might get in a parallel universe from Marlon Brando if he only ever did low budget slapstick. Like there's a vein there but he's not mining it.

Which is fine. At least he's happy.
posted by klanawa at 11:39 AM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I’ve never been a big fan a became even less so when he was here in New Mexico filming “The Ridiculous Six” and several Native American actors walked off the set. The film contained such hilarious gems as the stereotypical drunken Indian, characters named Sits On Face and Wears No Bra, an Indian urinating while smoking a peace pipe and a line about putting “my pee pee in your teepee”. Sandler defended all this as a “misunderstanding” and other Indian actors also defended the movie as a satire on the Western genre.

I suppose he can pretend this is all good fun. I don’t buy it. He can star in the most moving, thought provoking movie possible. But after building his career on pee pee and poopy jokes, it’d be impossible for me to believe any of it.
posted by jabo at 11:58 AM on December 14, 2019 [8 favorites]


But, like...do we really need more stories which revolve around man-children? And which celebrate their childishness as a quirky frolic?

We probably need more stories that celebrate transcending man-child behavior in the best way possible. Not for everyone, but some people need to go back to the remedial grow-the-fuck-up class a couple dozen times. Not sure Sandler represents that as I haven't watched enough of his Happy Madison movies.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:08 PM on December 14, 2019 [4 favorites]


I really do like Funny People. And The Wedding Singer and Big Daddy are pretty good-natured movies, which I remember was a little rare at the time because most romcoms were mean. (Big Daddy also might be the movie that convinced Jon Stewart that acting was not his gift. Dig up the JS outtakes to be reminded that acting is harder than it looks.) I'm pretty sure I'd still laugh at Happy Gilmore, but I have no interest in finding out. There aren't a lot of things that I found hilarious as a child that still entertain me today, and most of Sandler's later output doesn't have the benefit of childhood familiarity.
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:39 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think I’ve only seen two Adam Sandler movies. The wedding singer, which I loved, and punch drunk love, which I found excruciatingly boring. So its 50/50 for me.
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 2:54 PM on December 14, 2019


I've watched quite a few Adam Sandler movies and I don't really like them. That's OK because they're explicitly not for me. Adam Sandler movies are really only for Adam Sandler and the people Adam Sandler likes, extending to the people that like Adam Sandler, because those are the people that allow him to keep making movies. Good for him that he gets to do what he does. From everything I can tell, he deserves it.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 3:12 PM on December 14, 2019


Related: this article about Sandler in last week's NYT Magazine.
posted by Chrysostom at 3:19 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


I wish I could say that my dislike of his films is just a matter of taste – but his penchant for centering a man-child as the protagonist is, like, kind of morally obnoxious.

Comedy doesn't exist in a vacuum. Happy Gilmore is a pitch perfect take off of the outsider-sports movies of the late 70s through the early 90s. It was a massive genre at the time. They all featured a protagonist, often a teenager, who came from the wrong side of the tracks and who had an unsupportive family but managed to win the conveniently located and timed Championship of the World competition against a rich and snooty rival thanks to the mentoring of an outsider mentor and the love of a Good Woman/ Man. The rivalry was always high camp. If you grew up on the Karate Kid, The Black Stallion, Rocky, Dirty Dancing, Hoosiers, Rudy, Vision Quest, Miracle on Ice, Cool Runnings, The Sandlot etc when that movie came out it was fucking hilarious. Because it followed the format we all knew by heart faithfully but the scrappy kid was a big goofy adult who clearly needed professional help and it was about golf. He acts like a man child because he's emulating a lot of movies about actual kids. It's really a well done homage and the 90s was full of send ups of sports rivalry movies (Strictly Ballroom, every cheerleader movie of the decade etc). And it's really over the top offensively funny in a way that was popular at the time.

The Wedding Singer is similarly a loving funny homage. It's a masterpiece and I'll brook no argument. Everyone in that film was at the top of their game.
posted by fshgrl at 3:23 PM on December 14, 2019 [14 favorites]


The bit that Carrie Fisher did a pass on the Wedding Singer really makes sense. Of the First Three of his movies, The Wedding Singer feels like he's actually playing a person with a soul, not just a large adult son. We still get our sha-ba-da-dooos and rapping grannies, but it's a much stronger movie than the first two.

I'm actually curious about Murder Mystery, given TFA's glowing review.
posted by gc at 3:26 PM on December 14, 2019 [3 favorites]


I approve of tfa. Good perspective on a puzzling career for such a talented guy. The mention of 'lost in translation' really nailed it for me. In my imagination, someone emerges as sort-of a next Bill Murray (there will never be a next Bill Murray). Someone that brings a magical mixture of pathos and humor and humanity. I've seen shades of it, but no one really taking it as far:
Jason Segal, Jeff Who Lives at Home
Will Ferrell, Everything Must Go, Stranger Than Fiction
Christina Applegate, Dead to Me
annnnd...
Adam Sandler, Punch Drunk Love

Looking forward to seeing 'gems'.

Good post. And superb title.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:26 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


This was a remarkably well-done list, considering the subject matter and the fact that it's a ranked listicle in and of itself. I don't agree with all the choices, but I know that's partly because I don't love Sandler enough to embrace the difference between the best Adam Sandler movie and Adam Sandler's best movie. But I liked a lot of the ones on the list that I've seen, and outright loved a few of them (Happy Gilmore and 50 First Dates are favorites). ANd my mom still talks about how much she loves Little Nicky (go figure) (but I guess that's the point?).

I was surprised how many of them he's made that I never heard of. I read the NYT interview last week, and it mentioned that he made a comedy every year, and that sounded off to me -- now I know what the movies are that I missed. And a couple I'll probably check out on the strength of this (seconding that Murder Mystery sounds intriguing).

But Click? Even at number 1 on his list, nothing he wrote about it makes it sound like something I'd want to see.
posted by Mchelly at 6:09 PM on December 14, 2019


But Click? Even at number 1 on his list, nothing he wrote about it makes it sound like something I'd want to see.

It's weird because I like Adam Sandler (although that isn't why I made this post) but Click just sort of misses for me. I feel like Grown Ups 2 (yeah, I know, and I actually like it for some reason) is like the pinnacle of what I would consider Sandlerness. It even meets this writers criteria! He is hanging out with friends, doing dumb shit but trying (and mostly-ish) succeeding to do the right thing.

And now that I admitted to liking Grown Ups 2 I guess it is time to make a new MetaFilter account.
posted by Literaryhero at 8:12 PM on December 14, 2019 [6 favorites]


I think Adam Sandler has purposefully made movies that are anti-critic. He notches up an obnoxious voice to make certain that if the first iteration didn't make you plug your ears, the second would. I would be seriously surprised if I met him and discovered he wasn't doing all of this as a committed act.

Totally. Especially in the decade or so after Punch Drunk Love. That Onion article quoted up above kinda gets into it, but it's easy to forget now that at the time PTA was not yet the unquestionable genius and the movie got really mixed reviews, particularly from the Sandler fanbase. I seem to remember reading at the time that he took it pretty heavily, so it's no surprise he'd react by retreating inward to his manchild persona. Can almost hear him yelling angrily at the critics. "Stop Looking At Me!!!!"

Seemed to me like Funny People was his first tentative attempt to dip his toes back in the dramatic water, and he was confident after that to try the Meyerowitz Stories. And, well, I for one am really excited for Uncut Gems, but then I was already on board after the last two Safdie Bros movies.
posted by mannequito at 10:56 PM on December 14, 2019


I thought everyone agreed that The Chanukah Song was the best Adam Sandler movie.
posted by St. Oops at 11:10 PM on December 14, 2019


Sandler's new standup on Netflix is pretty great. I watched it sort of on a lark expecting to shut it off but it was surprisingly good hearted and fun, and had music.
posted by hippybear at 11:13 PM on December 14, 2019 [1 favorite]


If we accept the premise of this article that "Adam Sandler Movie" is kind of a genre, what other people besides Adam Sandler have made Adam Sandler Movies?
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 12:52 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Thinking about who has made Adam Sandler movies who isn't Adam Sandler makes me think maybe he's carved out a niche formerly occupied by overweight male comedians like John Candy and Chris Farley. I mean Will Ferrell, John C Reilly, Rob Schneider, and Andy Samberg are all on the Sandler curve but no one is quite like him. No one comes to mind as having stuck to the same formula so long though. Has anyone seen the Toro-San series? I'm curious how Kiyoshi Atsumi compares.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:56 AM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Kikujiro, by Takeshi Kitano, is definitely in the genre of Adam Sandler films. Manchild with anger issues has to grow up through a relationship with a child, in a film that uses the tropes of another genre, the road movie, to move between comic set pieces. Its faults are by and large the faults of an Adam Sandler film, i.e. that characters other than the central manchild and child tend to be stereotypes.
posted by Kattullus at 3:22 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Loved this approach! I've mainly watched Sandler's "serious" movies, and I have really come to admire his acting/persona over the years. I guess I am a bit of an outlier, but I even liked Reign Over Me. Don Cheadle! Shadow of the Colossus (yes, the weird videogame) as metaphor! And this exchange (roughly):

lawyer or judge (to witness): Do you carry pictures of your grandchildren in your wallet?
wife of witness (from the stands): Of course he does! What is he, an animal?

I also love, love, love Punch Drunk Love and had no idea that PTA was such a huge Sandler fan. Similar to docjohn above, I saw it with my (soon to be) husband when we were falling in love, and I felt like it was so much closer to our real feelings than any other romantic comedy I had ever seen.

For the couple of people who mentioned being curious about Murder Mystery - I found it a funny, competent, grown-up movie with good performances - almost a throwback to an old studio picture, but not self-consciously so. Jennifer Aniston is, to me, like Barbara Stanwyck or Jane Russell - so good at what they do that you forget its not normal to be that competent at acting AND comedy AND glamour all at the same time. (Tangentially, for another good (but more noir) movie that basically could have been made in Hollywood's heyday, try Earthquake Bird streaming on Netflix)

And now I need to put The Week Of and 100% Fresh on my Netflix list, and hunt down that Norm MacDonald show interview. I'm curious about a bunch of the other movies that I may have been too snobby to want to watch before.

Despite being a woman, I wrestle with emotional immaturity and arrested development, too. Unbelievable, I know! And I don't mind who tells the story of ways to grow up and grapple with all the ways we let ourselves and others down. If it's a story told with heart and conviction, I need to hear it.
posted by hiker U. at 5:04 AM on December 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


If we accept the premise of this article that "Adam Sandler Movie" is kind of a genre, what other people besides Adam Sandler have made Adam Sandler Movies?

Judd Apatow’s first movie (as a writer), Heavyweights, is a weird, great kid-friendly combo of a Sandler film, what would become an Apatow film, and Ben Stiller’s I’m-an-evil-but-zany villain character—an underdog film set at a kids’ fat camp starring roughly half the cast of The Mighty Ducks. It’s a perfect movie.

I always thought the (incredibly weird) Martin Short / Charles Grodin movie Clifford, in which an adult Short plays an evil child, could have been a Sandler movie.
posted by sallybrown at 7:58 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'd put forward that the rather excellent (and often re-watched in this household) About A Boy is a very Sandler film.
posted by hippybear at 9:19 AM on December 15, 2019 [2 favorites]


Or on thinking a moment, I guess it would be a Happy Madison film, since that's the title that the linked article uses to describe this genre.
posted by hippybear at 9:24 AM on December 15, 2019


Lindy West has a great chapter about Adam Sandler movies in The Witches Are Coming, which you can share your thoughts on in FanFare!
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:06 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Go figure the longest thing I've read this weekend is, only on the surface at least) a listicle. Fantastic read. I like how the writer built a narrative around Sandler's work through the decades and how he's grown—or not grown—as an artist and performer.

I've seen more of these movies than I'm comfortable confessing on a public forum, but for me they get it mostly right. I'd move Mr Deeds way up (it was delightful: fight me) and probably move Funny People way down (a movie I enjoyed except for the ungodly long act that took place at Sandler's house).

Absent the well explained and understandable methodology, this also gets back to a duality that gets wrapped up in these types of criticisms. Billy Madison is my favorite Adam Sandler movie; Punch Drunk Love is the best Adam Sandler movie.

The mention of 'lost in translation' really nailed it for me. In my imagination, someone emerges as sort-of a next Bill Murray (there will never be a next Bill Murray). Someone that brings a magical mixture of pathos and humor and humanity. I've seen shades of it, but no one really taking it as far:

I just want to add Jim Carrey's performance in The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to this list, and posit that there's a good case for it topping not just Punch Drunk, most of the other ones listed by this metric.
posted by General Malaise at 3:34 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


I like this critic Jesse David Fox, because he puts some insight & context into how he evaluates things. I'm not really a fan of the Sandler style oofyer, but I liked The Wedding Singer okay.
posted by ovvl at 4:39 PM on December 15, 2019 [1 favorite]


Spanglish has always made me irrationally angry.
posted by mazola at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2019


Spanglish has always made me irrationally angry.

Highbrow (or middlebrow aiming for highbrow) Sandler films always feel like slogging through bad literary fiction, except that I give up pretty quickly on midlife crisis men in books but will usually suffer through a 2 hour movie.
posted by grandiloquiet at 11:58 AM on December 16, 2019


Just looked up Sandler's net worth. ~$420 million puts him in the top ten among actors for net worth. Tom asshole-cult Cruise, George Clooney, Oprah, Seinfeld, and a Bollywood star or two edge him out.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:24 AM on December 17, 2019


BrotherCaine: Just looked up Sandler's net worth. ~$420 million puts him in the top ten among actors for net worth.

Clearly I need to pirate some of his movies and give them a watch.
posted by clawsoon at 3:41 PM on December 17, 2019 [1 favorite]


Now do Tyler Perry
posted by ElGuapo at 9:08 PM on December 17, 2019


Adam Sandler is so good in Uncut Gems that Daniel Day-Lewis called him to talk about it (AV Club, Dec. 18, 2019):

After exchanging hellos, Day-Lewis complimented Sandler on his performance in Uncut Gems: “He starts talking about grabbing the seat in front of him. ‘I couldn’t let go of the seat in front of me,’ and just saying how much he dug the movie, he dug [Kevin Garnett], he dug the guys. But it was the best call ever.”

Sandler doesn’t divulge much about the conversation with Day-Lewis, whom he refers to as “Danny” because—in a far more intriguing revelation—the two actors are longtime friends. That’s not too surprising considering they’ve both made films with Paul Thomas Anderson, but it’s still a fascinating thing to think about.

posted by Iris Gambol at 4:12 PM on December 18, 2019 [2 favorites]


« Older The Suits of James Bond   |   Hosting an Orgy? Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments