Funny man Adam Sandler, like Will Ferrell, has done extremely well in the feature film business since his departure from Saturday Night Live. Sandler’s comedies consistently do well at the box office, even if some of them are less than stellar (Grown Ups comes to mind). His dramas have never really lit up the box office, but the performances given by Adam have been quite good. Adam is a consistent worker in Hollywood and his fan base has always been there. Romantic comedies, slapstick comedies, romantic flicks, and even sports related movies pretty much make up my top 10 list for Sandler. When he’s on…he’s on. When he misses the mark, he misses it badly (Little Nicky!!). There is no mistaking one thing though…when word gets out that a new Adam Sandler film is being released, buzz immediately appears. He’s not nearly as naturally funny as Will Ferrell, but his brand of humor is totally different. Here is Ferrell’s top 10 list…
If you are a fan of Ben Stiller…
These guys succeed in making you laugh for different reasons. Hopefully, one day we can get a starring vehicle for all of them. That would be a joy to watch. Here are my top 10 Adam Sandler films…starting with…
10. (tie) SPANGLISH- This film was a bit of a surprise for me. I honestly didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, and although it had some flaws, overall it was a decent little film. The movie excels on the relationship that is built between Flor (the beautiful Paz Vega) and John Clasky (Sandler). It’s easy to see why John would eventually fall for Flor. She is the complete opposite of his insecure wife (annoyingly, but effectively portrayed by Tea Leoni). Shelbie Bruce also does a fine job as Flor’s daughter, Cristina. I enjoyed Sandler’s performance here as the successful husband and father who is trying to get a grip on his broken household. His attempts to keep his daughter from becoming as insecure as his wife are heartwarming and watching him try to save his marriage is equally so. I can see Adam as a chef…this film is believable in that aspect. One of Sandler’s all around best performances. Rating:
10. (tie) THE LONGEST YARD - A remake that I enjoyed more than the original. What makes this movie so much fun are the supporting players. A great, funny cast mixed with some real football players makes for an entertaining couple of hours. The film features a very diverse group. Sandler, Chris Rock, Terry Crews, Nicholas Turturro, Joey Diaz, and Tracy Morgan bring the comedy. Professional athletes such as Michael Irvin, Bill Romanowski, Kevin Nash, Bill Goldberg, Steve Austin, and Brian Bosworth help make the film a more hard hitting action film than it probably would have been without them. I don’t quite believe in Sandler as a super famous NFL quarterback (he’s much more believable as a talented chef…see Spanglish above), but it doesn’t really matter here. The film is funny, the hitting is hard, and the end result is a very entertaining popcorn flick. It was also nice to see Burt Reynolds play the grizzled old inmate. He and Sandler gave two very different takes on the lead character of Paul Crewe, but both were effective. Rating:
9. REIGN OVER ME- Adam Sandler really surprised me in this touching tale of a man who loses his family on 9/11 and rekindles a friendship with an old college roommate. It’s in this friendship that he begins to recover from his grief. The subject matter, along with the fact that most of Sandler’s fans don’t really enjoy his ‘dramas’, combined to make this one a box office dud. That’s a shame because it is a really good film. It’s a story of isolation, friendship, and dealing with loss. Don Cheadle, who plays Alan Johnson, makes it his mission to help his old friend Charlie Fineman (Sandler) pick up the pieces and get his life back. Cheadle and Sandler give fine performances which carry the film. Adam shows his range here and it’s sad to watch…but it is supposed to be. Rating:
8. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE - Yet another odd role for Mr. Sandler where he plays Barry Egan, a small business owner with seven sisters whose abuse has kept him alone and unable to fall in love. Soon, a harmonium and a mysterious woman enter his life and his romantic journey begins. Like his character in Reign Over Me (see above), Barry is a character that you can sympathize with. Adam once again proves just how good a dramatic actor he can be with this solid performance. However, yet again, the film failed to deliver at the box office because his legion of fans just don’t identify with him in these type of roles. Director Paul Thomas Anderson (Boogie Nights) writes and directs the quirky material nicely and Emily Watson makes for an interesting love interest opposite Sandler. Rating:
7. WATERBOY- In my opinion, this is Adam’s silliest film. The premise is just ridiculous, but because of Sandler it works like a charm. His Bobby Boucher goes down in cinema history as one of the funniest characters ever. Complimenting him is a great comedic turn by Kathy Bates (you know, the Misery chick) and Henry Winkler (yes, the Fonz). The best thing about the movie is the consistency of the humor. It’s not for everyone and I know some people that actually despise this flick, but if you like over the top ‘silly’ Sandler, this is for you. Obviously, this is what Adam’s fans want – the film grossed $40 million on it’s opening weekend back in 1998. Twelve years ago, an opening that big was rare – and it was Sandler’s first megahit. Rating:
6. THE WEDDING SINGER – In 1998, before the release of his huge hit The Waterboy, Sandler teamed up with cutie Drew Barrymore for a little romantic film that took place and paid homage to the 1980′s. This film was everything ’80′s. Let’s see – a Delorean, Miami Vice songs and wardrobes, hair metal bands, Freddy Krueger, Culture Club, the Michael Jackson glove and jacket, big hair, and Billy Idol – who actually has a very funny appearance in the picture. They pretty much covered everything from that decade in this two hour film. This is a well written romantic comedy that established a great chemistry between Barrymore and Sandler. Their timing is spot on and by the end of the movie, you find yourself rooting for them to get together. Singer also allowed Adam to use another one of his talents – singing. He has a good, but not great voice. Most wedding singers are mediocre anyway, right? His Robbie Hart became one of his most memorable characters. Rating:
5. FUNNY PEOPLE- The most underrated film on this list and let me tell you why. It features a phenomenal cast – Seth Rogen, Eric Bana, Jason Schwartzman, Jonah Hill, and Leslie Mann. Plus, you get great cameos from Ray Romano, Sarah Silverman, and Eminem. The film was billed as another Adam Sandler comedy, but it is much more than that. Sandler’s George Simmons, a successful comedian and actor, gets bad news from his doctor and thinks he only has a few months left to live. Rogen’s Ira Wright is an up and coming comedian who looks up to Simmons. They meet at a comedy club one night and Simmons hires Wright to be his personal assistant…as well as his friend. George soon discovers that his disease has reversed itself and all of a sudden, he’s fine. What ensues is a friendship that grows amongst some very personal issues George has been dealing with – most of all, his ex Laura (Mann), who suddenly wishes to rekindle their relationship. Poor promotion from the studio caused this excellent film to do just so-so at the box office. Plus, the film could have been a few minutes shorter. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend giving it a rent because it’s a solid, well written picture – maybe the most heartwarming Judd Apatow flick to date. Rating:
4. ANGER MANAGEMENT - First thought – Sandler and Nicholson in a comedy? Yes, I’m there. And it did not disappoint. If you think about it, this was an on-screen duo that could not fail. Jack’s sense of humor and ability to do angry very well, combined with Sandler’s wit and his ability to do ‘loud angry’ very well, was a great idea. Sandler plays a businessman, Dave Buznik, who is wrongly sentenced to an anger-management program, where he meets Dr. Buddy Rydell, an aggressive instructor. The funny thing about this film is that Sandler is a character that really doesn’t need anger management. If you think about some of his efforts prior to this, you can totally see where some of his most famous characters could use a little ‘guidance’. Nicholson appears to be having a lot of fun with his role here and when the two of them are on screen together…well, it’s such a pleasure to watch. Throwing in a hot Marisa Tomei only adds to the enjoyment. Rating:
3. BILLY MADISON – Adam’s first solo effort became the reason why his legion of fans began to grow. Matching The Waterboy for silliness, Billy Madison’s storyline is so unbelievable and over the top that you can’t help but be amused by it. This is ‘pure’ Sandler. A simple plot that is very familiar for these type of films (same basic premise was used in the late Chris Farley’s Tommy Boy), the film relies heavily on Sandler himself. He is acting like a fool here and that is who Billy Madison truly is. Norm MacDonald also gives a small, but hilarious performance as Billy’s friend, Frank. This is a movie that didn’t do particularly well in it’s initial release, but found a following on home video and repeated cable network showings. BM also began the trend of casting hotties (Bridgitte Wilson in this case) opposite the goofball Sandler. That must be in his contract. It was a true sign of what was to come from Adam…and more hilarity would follow. Rating:
2. 50 FIRST DATES- The second pairing of Sandler and Drew Barrymore made for an even more romantic adventure than their first effort, The Wedding Singer. Sandler’s Henry Roth lives in a Hawaiian paradise with the company of endless women with no strings attached. This is until he meets Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore). Both Henry and Lucy enjoy the company of each other and feels the start of a serious relationship occurring. Approaching Lucy the next day, Henry is confused when Lucy fails to recognize him. This is the moment Henry discovers that Lucy actually suffers from short term memory loss and can’t remember each individual day. Henry won’t let this stop him and is prepared to make her fall in love with him all over again, each and every day. The unique, albeit somewhat far-fetched idea works because of the undeniable chemistry between the two leads. You can actually imagine these two as a couple…a great couple. Rob Schneider turns in another solid sidekick performance, as does Sean Astin as the strange, overprotective brother to Barrymore’s Lucy. The comedy is great, but at it’s core, 50 First Dates is a love story…and a solid one at that. This flick seems to never get old despite many repeated viewings. Rating:
1. HAPPY GILMORE - Adam followed up his modest hit Billy Madison with a film that had a similar feel to it, but was actually more consistently funny than anything he has ever done. Another far-fetched, unrealistic premise, finds Sandler creating his most popular character to date. A hockey player whose anger gets him basically kicked out of the sport, he stumbles upon another talent – he can hit the shit out of a golf ball! When his grandmother is about to lose her home due to foreclosure, he is persuaded to join the PGA tour in order to make a few bucks to save the home. However, the hockey mentality does not work well on the much more subdued golf tour. He finds opposition in the much more professional golf champion, Shooter McGavin (marvelously played by the underrated Christopher McDonald), who wants Happy and his ridiculous antics off of the tour. With the help of a former golf pro named Chubbs (nicely portrayed by Carl Weathers, or Apollo Creed to most), he begins to tone down the craziness in order to give serious threat to McGavin. The film also features a super cute Julie Bowen as Virginia (once again, Adam lands the hottie!). The film will be most remembered for two things – some seriously funny dream sequences involving Chubbs, a midget, the grandmother, Virginia, and Shooter. See the film…I know, it sounds odd. The other being one of the most hilarious sequences I’ve ever seen in a motion picture – the memorable fight between Bob Barker and Happy Gilmore. It’s so over the top, you can’t help but love it. From beginning to end, Happy Gilmore is my favorite and the most fun Adam Sandler film to watch. Rating:
Sandler is at his best when he does downright silly comedies. Let’s hope he get some more material along those lines in the near future. Hell, he could even do a Happy Gilmore sequel…that would be great! No more Little Nicky’s please!! He has 3 films being released in 2011.
Take a look at THE MOST ANTICIPATED FILMS OF 2011…a brief synopsis of the 30 biggest movies to be released this year!
First up is the romantic comedy Just Go With It (see poster below) with Jennifer Aniston. The film looks funny and will succeed based on whether or not the two leads have good chemistry. Aniston seems to always do this type of film and she has been hit and miss with her co-stars on the chemistry level. This summer, Adam is voicing Donald the Monkey in his pal Kevin James new film The Zookeeper. Later this year, he will star in the comedy Jack and Jill with Katie Holmes and Al Pacino. Sandler will portray both Jack and his twin sister, Jill. It’s just the type of film Sandler excels at and should be a huge box office hit. On a personal note, Adam is married and has 2 children.