"What the hell happened to me?;" indeed…
When he first came on the scene, the comedy intelligenstia (to the extent there is such a thing) dismissed or ignored him. When he became a breakout movie star, the critics were sure (or they hoped) he would quickly just go away… and nearly 3 decades later, many of them haven’t stopped hoping - heck, one of my own most popular uploads here was a scathing review of 2015’s "PIXELS," and even supposed bad-boy comedy fellow travelers like "SOUTH PARK" have joined in the bash-parade from time to time.
And yet the whole time, Adam Sandler has stayed on top as a box-office powerhouse, audience favorite and generational comedy icon who - while also finding time to "prove himself" with dramatic performances of shocking depth in features like "REIGN OVER ME," "PUNCH DRUNK LOVE" and "UNCUT GEMS" most recently and carve out separate niches as successful businessman and producer of family comedies and animated films - plotted his own course his own way through the Hollywood machine. Not only that, but he did so while bringing along and lifting up the careers of dozens of friends, family and colleagues; all while (by all accounts) being one of the most stand-up people in an industry not known for its humanity.
So maybe there was something there, after all?
Even his biggest critics can’t deny that Adam Sandler is a workhorse - he’s performed a lot of comedy, recorded a lot of sound and shot a lot of movies: Some good, some less so. But you don’t blow up as big as he did as fast as he did and then stay on top this long without "connecting" in some way - without reaching people in the audience and around the world on some level that transcends (at least in part) the technical and academic questions of whether or not this joke is "tasteful," that scene "works" or even if entire movies are "essential" or "high art."
Somewhere, early on, the world decided that Adam Sandler was saying something to them that mattered in between making them laugh. So in this installment of "REALLY THAT GOOD" we take an in-depth(ish?) look back into the legendary(ish?) five-films-in-five-years hot streak that turned the Pride of Manchester New Hampshire from a well-liked SNL castmember into the 90s longest-lived comedy box-office superstar: "BILLY MADISON," "HAPPY GILMORE," "THE WEDDING SINGER," "THE WATERBOY" and "BIG DADDY" (yeah, see? bet you forgot those were ALL between ‘95 and ‘99!)
Welcome to a NEW kind of film-criticism series, built around the radical premise that just because "everyone knows" a movie is a classic doesn’t mean it stops being worth a deeper look.
"Black Vortex", "Disco Lounge", "Marty Gots a Plan", "Oppressive Gloom", "The Curtain Rises", "Ultralounge", "Wizardtorium," "Inspire," "Parisian," "Gearhead," "Killers," "Mellowtron," "Cyborg Ninja"
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0