I Love Adam Sandler Movies

Sax von Stroheim writes:


God knows, they aren’t very well made. Adam Sandler may be our Jerry Lewis – he certainly seems to embarrass middlebrow would-be-sophisticates in the way that Jerry did – but unlike Lewis he has no interest at all in filmmaking as a craft. I get the sense that he thinks of the film set as a place where he and his buddies get to hang out at.

But I find them really funny and they are usually about things that are actually relevant to life in contemporary America. For instance, Jack & Jill deals with diversity and stereotypes in a very direct way that’s rare in mainstream entertainment today: Sandler’s movies don’t have any of the ironic distance and intellectual gamesmanship of Sacha Baron Cohen’s movies or Larry David’s shows.

If a comedy is funny, does it matter if it’s made very well? Well, a little, I think, in as much as better filmmakers can, theoretically at least, pull off more elaborate gags. But I don’t think it matters as much as it does in other popular genres:  a good action movie, for example, almost always comes down to the filmmaking.

Anyway, I do love Adam Sandler movies, though I find myself completely uninterested in trying to convince anyone else that they should love them or even like them. I mean, he’s ridiculously popular and successful, why should anyone (let alone me) care that most film critics treat his work with an almost reflexive revulsion?


  • FWIW, Armond White loves Sandler, too.
  • There are a couple of Sandler movies on Netflix Streaming right now. Happy Gilmore is one of his earliest starring-vehicles: it gets pretty close to a “pure” Sandler experience and is a great place to start if you’re at all interested in giving the Sandman a chance. Anger Management is more representiative of the later, “higher concept” Sandler movies. (Punch-Drunk Love is on there, too: it’s a great movie, though doesn’t really count as an “Adam Sandler movie”, IMO.)
  • My favorites – Jack & Jill, The Waterboy, and The Wedding Singer – aren’t on Netflix right now, but they’re the kinds of movies that show up on cable all of the time.
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4 Responses to I Love Adam Sandler Movies

  1. movieandtvbuff says:

    His movies are a guilty pleasure. I haven’t seen one in a while.


  2. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:

    Bravo, sir.


  3. agnostic says:

    TL;DR Sandler has minimal talent even at the not-so-pleasing style of comedy that he specializes in.

    I don’t mind what the critics praise either, but I’ve never dug Sandler, from SNL or after. I don’t get lasting enjoyment from anarchic comedy, where the comedian is destabilizing the order of the world around him. The Marx Brothers, the Three Stooges, Adam Sandler.

    Some of the Three Stooges gags are funny, but they don’t leave a strong impression, and I don’t feel I would’ve been deprived by not having seen them, and wouldn’t mind not seeing them again.

    Surviving-this-fucked-up-world comedy lasts longer in the mind because there’s something beyond the particular gags that make up the action. When Clark Griswold makes it through his pilgrimage to see a moose, or when Neal Page and Del Griffith complete their odyssey back home, the audience feels catharsis. And before the end arrives, you’re totally engrossed in the action wondering what obstacle with be thrown in their path next, and how they’ll get through it.

    Anarchic comedy doesn’t develop that dynamic of tension-success-setback because there’s no intended path of action, no obstacles throwing themselves in the way, and no attempts to get around them and back on the path. It’s just one goofy gag after another, in no direction in particular — scattered. You might laugh at each one, but it doesn’t build toward anything.

    Enjoying anarchic comedy comes instead from the standalone structure of each gag. The more intricate the gag, the more tension there is within-the-gag, and the more it tickles the brain thinking how all the pieces will affect each other. Adam Sandler has none of that Rube Goldbergian craftsmanship for gags. It’s like a bratty toddler running through the aisles knocking shit off the shelves with a baseball bat, while screaming at the top of his lungs like a short-bus retard.

    The Three Stooges’ gags have more inter-connected parts. Something as simple as mistaken identity — Curly thinks that a gorilla is just Larry in a gorilla suit, so what could go wrong approaching him with a pat on the back? “Yeh, yeh, yeh!” After Curly runs off into hiding, he sees gorilla-suit-Larry enter the room and freaks out like a little girl, unaware that it’s not the gorilla this time. Or however that one went. And Curly has more subtle goofballisms, like “Oh, a real chim-uny-panzee!” He’s playing The Fool, not The Retard.


    • Sax von Stroheim says:

      But the anarchic comedies DO have movement: in the Sandler movies, the catharsis equivalent comes when the “straight” characters realize that anarchy/chaos/irrationality is a part of life, and their best laid plans will never completely keep it out.


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