Catching Up With...Adam Sandler
We watch five films we've never seen before from legendary actor Adam Sandler
Adam Sandler has been a staple part of Hollywood for over 30 years, turning in countless comedy performances wearing his signature baggy sports t's and screaming his now regularly impersonated yell. Now with several dramatic performances under his belt, opinions about him have been altered. With his deal with Netflix still going strong with a teen comedy dropping just last week, it seemed an ideal time to watch five of his films that I've missed.
Airheads, Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy...it wasn't long before the Sandman had gone from SNL regular to cinema favourite. But it was Paul Thomas Anderson's Punch Drunk Love that really changed the perspective. For most people in the industry this is one of the greatest performances and greatest pieces of direction in cinema history. And that's mainly because it made us re-evaluate Mr Sandler.
Through the 2000's Sandler's regular players were truly established. Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, David Spade, Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore and more have all found themselves regular appearances in the actor/producer's films. Although they do grow a little tired the more you watch them, they are the definition of easy-watching.
Sandler then fell in to a bit of a rut which lacked originality, starting a deal with Netflix and releasing forgettable comedies like Pixels, The Do-Over and The Ridiculous 6; and although Noah Baumbach's The Meyerowitz Stories had him in a more grounded role, it didn't make the cultural impact that 2019's Uncut Gems did. Suddenly, people are flooding to Netflix to be lured in by Sandler's grinning face, only to be shocked into a cascade of intensity.
Adam Sandler is now privileged enough to pick and choose his roles, and go wherever he wants. He has a couple of exciting projects in the pipeline and still makes the occasional stand-up appearance. The truth is, love him or hate him, Hollywood would not be the same if he weren't in it.
Actor: Adam Sandler
Early Jobs: Writer for SNL
Feature Film Debut: Going Overboard
Feature Film Credits: 54 (check below to see where he ranks amongst other actors)
Academy Award Nominations: 0
FILM 1 - Hotel Transylvania
Okay, this was a bit of a strange one to start with, but it literally has all of the Sandler regular players in, it's as much an Adam Sandler movie as any other...but it's not one of the good ones. It's irritating and never very funny. Sandler does a rough accent and I'm not even sure there's much in this for young kids to enjoy. I did however get somewhat invested in the plot. ★★
FILM 2 - Punch-Drunk Love
Rent or Buy
I don't think there's ever been a more impactful score than this. It's sensational! As is the whole film. A masterpiece! For more on this film...listen to the upcoming episode of The Focus Film Podcast. ★★★★★
FILM 3 - 50 First Dates
NowTV / Sky Cinema
If this had a different writer/director team and addressed the morals instead of resorting to easy jokes, then we may hold this in a very different regard today. I did enjoy it though. Sandler is more reserved than he usually is in these big Hollywood comedies, and the dynamic between him and Drew Barrymore is brilliant as ever. ★★★
FILM 4 - Uncut Gems
I need a lie down! This never stops to breathe. It's Sandler's most transformative role, the Sandman shtick is fairly non-existent. But I found it all too much in places. There's no doubting the artistic flair and detail of stakes but some tonal composure would have made this more enjoyable. ★★★
FILM 5 - You are So Not Invited to my Bat Mitzvah
I didn't love this but I'm definitely not the target audience. The script is pretty tedious and it's very by the books. Sandler plays the father role to his real life daughters. Screams of nepotism have surrounded this film, but both of Sandler's daughters could follow in their father's footsteps; they're both great. I knocked another star off for the DJ. He is (and I can't stress this enough), horrendous. ★★
I've watched a really diverse mix of Sandler films, and still haven't seen The Wedding Singer or Billy Madison or Airheads, but one of my new watches Punch-Drunk Love has shot straight to the top spot. If you only watch one more film this year, make it be that one.
Punch-Drunk Love available to rent or buy now
Legend Status (based on feature film appearances):
Nicolas Cage - 105
Keanu Reeves - 71
Sigourney Weaver - 65
Adam Sandler - 56
Al Pacino - 52
Sandra Bullock - 50
Brendan Fraser - 49
Bradley Cooper - 46
Cameron Diaz - 45