Well obviously not all of them, my 3 year old thinks Little Nicky and Billy Maddison are puerile and annoying but on the whole I enjoy his films. When he started to get more control of his films, probably from Happy Gilmore onwards he has made some watchable stuff. I know critics hate him but that’s because they think they are clever and his films try to play the easy notes rather than attempt and complex themes. We get love, greed, friendship, family, loyalty or the “American Dream” and the yanks lap it up.
I was watching Click(2006), it was late and my 7 year old had got up and was watching the last half of it with me. There are scenes where he witnesses himself ignore his father (The Fonz) the last time they saw each other. Fonzie then dies and with his magic remote control Sandler’s character sees this, cursing himself for being so stupid and fighting back the tears. I felt myself welling up a bit and my little lad burst into heavy sobs and said he would never do that and he didn’t want me to die. Yes magic remote controls are easy story lines but it delivers what it intends to which is a decent message, don’t regret missing the opportunities that life presents you and appreciate those around you that matter.
There are other films of no real weight that I just find entertaining such as Mr Deeds (2002), the aforementioned Happy Gilmore (1996), Big Daddy (1999) and the chick friendly Wedding Singer (1998) and 50 First Dates (2004). I suppose you only have to look at the quality of actors in his films to see that people like working with him. Dan Ackroyd is in plenty, Steve Buscemi cameos in a few including Big Daddy and Grown Ups (2010) as does my favourite ever tennis player John McEnroe. Christopher Walken co-stars in Click, Jack Nicholson in Anger Management (2003) andJohn Turturro in both Mr Deeds and Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008).
He was in fact nominated for a Golden Globe, shit, that must have stuck in someone’s throat.
That’s the fluff out of the way I think Mr Sandler has also made three films of genuine artistic merit. One, Reign over Me (2007), is a drama about a man who’s wife and child are killed in the attack on the World Trade Centre in 2001. His ex college friend played by Don Cheadle runs into him and quickly becomes a crutch for him to get his life back on track. It’s touching and well played by both. Sandler doesn’t put on a funny voice or anything, it’s just a good film. We also get The Who song of the same name from Quadrophenia played over the opening titles.
The next is Eight Crazy Nights (2002) which seems to be in a genre all of its own: adult musical animation. It’s the tale of Davey a young man off the rails who has a particular dislike for Hanukkah / Christmas. He’s taken under the wing of a strange old high school sports coach and rediscovered the festive spirit. The humour is not for kids and that’s kind of brave to do as it surely limits the market. The animation itself is in the old Disney style and has a old school feel to it.
The third is a beautiful and complex Paul Thomas Anderson movie called Punch Drunk Love (2002). There is a lovely scene where he calls his girlfriend from a pay phone and as she answers, the phone kiosk lights up and the music becomes more romantic. I think comedians can pull off serious much better than serious actors can do comedy. Robin Williams is far better when he’s playing straight, Billy Connolly was epic in Mrs Brown, Jim Carey in Man on the Moon and Sandler is stand out in this. He was in fact nominated for a Golden Globe, shit that must have stuck in someone’s throat.
If the role of movies is to entertain then Adam Sandler knows how to make movies. He’s like the Burt Reynolds of his time. The movies don’t add up to a great deal but they are fun to watch and everyone looks like they had a great time making them.
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