Adam Sandler

Spanglish

Year: 2004
Directed By: James L. Brooks
Written By: James L. Brooks

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie made it into the collection because it was a favorite of Amber’s. It’s not a movie I would ever watch by myself but I think there is a lot to like about it. It’s not at the level of James L Brooks most famous family drama, Terms of Endearment, but it’s a quaint movie that is easy to enjoy.

One reason I find this movie interesting comes from a personal experience I had long ago. When I was 20 years old I spent a summer working with my brother as the only white guy among his crew of Spanish speaking workers. It was hard work and I didn’t let my connection to the boss slow me down. I was amazed by the energy and work ethic of my peers enough to work harder than I have ever worked before. A few of the other guys spoke English but several spoke little to none at all. What I found most interesting is that by the end of the summer the language barrier didn’t pose such a problem anymore. I found that just talking to them as I would anybody else seemed to work. The level of communication was low but we could at least understand each other enough to work together. I never learned to speak Spanish but that summer is one I will always remember fondly and try to learn from.

Adam Sandler was one of my favorite comedians when I was a kid but I can’t stand to watch any of his movies as an adult and avoid them altogether. No matter what you do you simply can’t be a teenager again and find his antics funny like you did when you were young. I for one think Sandler has much more to offer than the stupid comedies he persists at. This movie is evidence of that because he shows so much potential as a serious actor not trying to be funny. I think that is Sandler’s problem in a nutshell, he tries too hard to be funny. I think the funniest people are the ones that make comedy effortless. They don’t have to try so hard because they are naturally funny. Sandler has made a fortune being the funny guy but I think he over does it far too often and has little to offer the mature movie fan.

The reason I don’t like this movie very much starts and stops with Tea Leoni. I don’t like her character and I don’t like her. Her promiscuous and obtuse character is just awful to watch and sit through. The way she treats her daughter, mother, and husband are all just too unpleasant for me. I can’t stand infidelity and in this movie she’s just such a selfish bitch about it. I can’t stand her and it’s the main reason I don’t like this movie very much. Maybe if a different actress was cast it would be different but Leoni just seems too comfortable and natural in this type of role for me.

While Paz Vega is excellent in this movie I think the top actress has to be Cloris Leachman. She is such a prolific and talented comedian. I love her drunken grandmother role in this movie and find it especially funny when she quits drinking and nobody notices. Her response that she must have been a really awesome drunk is just priceless.

This is a good enough movie but I don’t think anything about necessarily stands out and puts it apart from any other family drama/comedy out there. Before watching it I had actually mixed up part of it with This is 40 and I think that pretty much sums it up for me. It’s just another movie too much like too many others out there. I can’t stand watching it because of Tea Leoni but maybe you will feel differently. I don’t think this movie is worth my time but you may like it more than I did so don’t take my word for it.

NEXT MOVIE: Spartacus (1960)

Punch-Drunk Love

Year: 2002
Directed By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written By: Paul Thomas Anderson

RYAN’S REVIEW

Since growing out of puberty I have had little interest in the work of Adam Sandler. Any time I come across one of his many films I feel reaffirmed in my lack of interest and learn more and more to ignore him all together. Yet on the rarest of occasions he branches out from toilet humor and does something different. Under those circumstances I have been pleased with a couple of his performances and I really think he is capable of more than what he typically does. There is a youthful spirit still alive inside of me that wants to love Billy Madison/Happy Gilmore despite how ridiculous I find most of what he does. I think Adam Sandler is a terrific actor but his typical work is garbage. Albeit garbage that makes tons and tons of money so who am I to criticize? I might think his humor is juvenile and pathetic but he continues to succeed at it despite what I think. Though, in the 13 years since this film came out I wish we had more of these kinds of films and less of his Happy Madison studio crap.

This is as different a role as Adam Sandler has played in his entire career. He isn’t funny but dramatic, playing a character that couldn’t be any more awkward and painfully depressed. As Barry, the bullied brother of several older sisters, he is so alone in the world and so desperate for a connection with someone. People like Barry can so easily become victims, and that in a nutshell is Barry’s problem. He grew up as the victim of his older sisters and has matured into a victim of the world. A tortured soul suffering in the madness of his own self loathing and isolation. When he tries to confide in people he feels betrayed, be it from a brother-in-law or a phone sex operator. Barry is a weird guy, and when weird things happen to weird people the story is always an interesting one. I love how weird and strange Barry Egan is and this is without doubt my favorite performance ever by Sandler. I love his random dancing in the supermarket and how he rises to the occasion as a badass when his girlfriend is threatened. Sandler made a pile of dough acting like a moron but this role clearly proves he could have done anything he wanted to a lifetime ago. As Egan he is such a different and original character. With his mannerisms, his awkwardness, and his insane tendencies Barry Egan is a portrait of desperation and of longing. I love this character and I enjoy watching him overcome his problems to find something hopefully on the path to happiness.

Something that I will never forget about this movie is the performance of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and how blown away I was by it. I had known about him and respected him prior to seeing this film but I had no idea he had badass inside of him. I have wholeheartedly loved several of his performances but in truth he never really reached his full potential as an actor. I was really disappointed to hear about his death and the manner of it. I felt like it tarnished his character and reputation in the worst of ways. My heart breaks at anybody that goes before their time but when you poison yourself to death with drugs I don’t think pity is necessary. Nevertheless the man was a terrific actor and he left us with many great performances. With his role in this film he showed me that he had more range than I thought he was capable of. He scared me as this pseudo gangster mattress man. I’d seen him do so many things yet never imagined he was capable of a role like this. I love when an actor does that. Hoffman is an anomaly for me. He has done what I most admire about actors by being incredibly diverse but he has also done what I most despise most about celebrities by falling victim to a despicable addiction all the same. He has come full circle as an actor for me in such an interesting way.

In truth, Paul Thomas Anderson is such a smart filmmaker I think I could watch this movie ten times and still not cover everything in a review. For example, so subtly Luis Guzman starts wearing a suit. It is remarked in the film that Sandler never wears a suit to work but once he does Guzman subtly in the background starts wearing one as well taking his lead from the boss. It’s an example of the small little details that Anderson doesn’t overlook as a director.  Anderson is the type of filmmaker we don’t get enough out of as an audience. Too much of the audience leaves the show confused and for those of us that get it we are too demanding as fans. I like Paul Thomas Anderson but I’m not an obsessive fan of his. I only say so because I am under the impression he has a crazy fan base, which I think is understandable. I’ll never forget once while I was in college I mentioned either this movie or Magnolia in class once. The most unlikeliest of people approached me afterwards with something along the lines of “So you’re into PTA?” I’ll never forget that because it took me way too long to realize he was referring to a filmmaker and what had prompted the conversation all together. Point being, I’m under the impression there is a network of fans out there dedicated to the guy. I get it though; this guy can make such compelling movies. I was never a fan of There Will Be Blood, but maybe it is due a reviewing. This, and Magnolia, prove to me enough that “PTA” is an exceptional filmmaker worth watching at all times. I have yet to see his latest film but this movie is starting to inspire me to watch a few things again or for the first time.

This is such a weird film, but I love it so much. It is a beautiful film and I love what Anderson is able to do with silhouettes in shot. The story is surprisingly interesting, the type that you can’t convey when you are trying to tell someone about it. A great director and filmmaker can do that to you. He can inspire you with something so magnificent that you can’t even find the words to describe what you are feeling. In this movie we get a glimpse of a life none of us lead but we feel like we were there in the thick of it. That’s the mark of an exceptional story teller and the really exceptional ones are the ones that only do it randomly. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Paul Thomas Anderson then you really have something to look forward to because there are several movies that might blow you away.

I think this is without doubt Adam Sandler’s greatest film. Given the recent box office disasters he has been making is it possible that everyone else is beginning to notice what I saw beginning when Little Nicky  came out 15 years ago. The Waterboy was only mildly good at best and even then I was beginning to think I was outgrowing him. When Little Nicky came out I felt like the writing was on the wall only nobody wanted to admit it. I have always felt like people would like things because they thought they were supposed to like them. One of the biggest examples that immediately comes to mind is Ron Burgundy I have never understood what people saw in that movie other than the fact that they thought they were supposed to like it. I have had a disappointed opinion of Sandler since 2000 so I’ll be the first to admit that it’s possible he has made some really funny movies I haven’t seen. I have seen enough of them to stay solid in my opinion though. I think he is better than the juvenile toilet humor he spends his time making. It is because of this movie that I feel that way. This movie proves Sandler is capable of more and I hope that one day we see more of it.

I have never successfully talked anyone into watching this movie. I have talked with many people who have already seen it and loved it but I have never actually been able to talk someone into seeing it for the first time. I have even loaned it out a couple of times and had to ask for it back unseen after an unreasonable amount of time. I think that it’s because it’s  easy to read the synopsis and not be interested. It’s also easy to start this movie and immediately find it boring but you have to preserver in this one. You have to let this one suck you in and take you for a ride. Give this movie your time and attention and I absolutely guarantee that not only was it worth your time but that you will probably really enjoy it.

NEXT MOVIE: The Purge (2013)

Happy Gilmore

Year: 1996
Directed By: Dennis Dugan
Written By: Tim Herlihy and Adam Sandler

RYAN’S REVIEW

Now this is an Adam Sandler movie I will stand behind. It is arguably just as stupid as any other Adam Sandler movie but this one came out when I was 12 and it has had me laughing for 16 years now.  This was Adam Sandler at his best and in my opinion it has nearly been all downhill since.  He still has a rather large fan base despite what I think though. Sandler is really funny in this movie and that makes it memorable.  It is also memorable simply for being a golf comedy. It is no Caddyshack but it is second only to that. Even those that don’t appreciate this film have to find themselves laughing and enjoying the epic fight between Sandler and Bob Barker.

I wrote down my opinions about Adam Sandler in our recent review of Grandma’s Boy.  He wasn’t in that film but it was made by his production company Happy Madison. I think Sandler was great in the 90s but I haven’t been able to stomach him since The Wedding Singer.  That movie wasn’t even particularly funny but I still enjoyed the film.  I don’t think Sandler has ever been able to get back to the kind of comedy that made him funny in the 90’s but I have enjoyed all of his efforts into being a serious actor.  I enjoyed his serious roles in Punch-Drunk Love and SpanglishI think he has a lot to offer as a serious actor and I would really like to see more of that from him.  Years ago I heard that he was really interested in the lead role as the hitman in Collateral.  A role that ultimately went to Tom Cruise.  If I remember correctly he was turned down because the role was too violent for his image.  Well I think that’s a shame because I would much rather see a violent Sandler than more of the same crap he has been doing for years.

This movie has a fun cast around Sandler.  I have always liked Christopher McDonald as Shooter McGavin.  It is the role I have always associated him with.  I think Carl Weathers is really funny and I liked what he brought to the film.  I thought Julie Bowen was really hot but looking at her today I find myself repulsed by how unnatural and different she looks in Modern FamilyBen Stiller has a cool cameo that was part of a story line mostly cut out of the film.  Deleted scenes include Happy going back to the old folks home and confronting Stiller about the racket he has been running.  I thought it was funny but it must have proved to make the movie too long.  Allen Covert plays a role he was made for.  As Happy’s homeless caddy he has virtually no speaking lines.  I like Covert but I think he was really bad as the lead in Grandma’s Boy. Last but not least I cannot fail to mention Bob Barker, in one of the greatest cameos of all time. “The price is wrong bitch!”

This is a fun movie that I think even the mature can still enjoy having not grown up with it.  I won’t stand behind too many Adam Sandler films and tell you they are worth your time but this one offers a good time and a lot of laughs.  If you get a chance to see it then your time will be well spent.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I can recite almost this entire movie. Instead of going on about how you should watch this movie, (because I know that you have seen it already, right?) I am going to put my favorite quotes.

“Hey, my girlfriend is dead, you know. She fell off a cliff and died on impact.”

“You can trouble me for a warm glass of shut-the-hell-up! Now, you will go to sleep! Or I will PUT you to sleep. Check out the name tag. You’re in MY world now, grandma!”

“Did that go in? I wasn’t watching, did it go in? I didn’t see it, could you tell me if it went in?”

“But she’s an old lady. I mean, look at her. She’s old. You can’t just take her stuff. She’s too old.”

“Just taaap it in. Just taaap it in. Give it a little tappy. Tap Tap Taparoo.”

NEXT MOVIE: Harlem Nights (1989)

Grandma’s Boy

Year: 2006
Directed By: Nicholaus Goossen
Written By: Barry Wernick, Allen Covert, & Nick Swardson

RYAN’S REVIEW

There was a time when I did find this movie really funny but I have outgrown it to an extent. When I watch it now I see sloppy storytelling and bad acting, but it does have its moments here and there. Truth be told this movie has always been more to Amber’s taste than mine.  It’s not my favorite of our collection by any stretch but it does have its moments.

This movie was made by Happy Madison Productions, the company owned by Adam Sandler, obviously.  I have always thought that Happy Madison (and I think this film backs up my opinion) was made up of idiot potheads that have been given too much money.  This movie is funny but it is more stupid than anything else at times.  I think that is what you get with both Adam Sandler and his production company.  I think this film shows that Allen Covert is not really cut out for a leading role.  I like Covert, but clearly no film should center on him. I think Nick Swardson is really funny in this one.  Doris Roberts is great as “Grandma.” This film was made during a window when she was trying to maximize the opportunities provided by the success of Everybody Loves RaymondYou can see a very young Jonah Hill playing a supporting role in this movie.  Oh how his career has blossomed, it’s always funny to look back at where he started. Jonah Hill is a fantastic actor and I look forward to everything he does in the future. I think Peter Dante is awful in everything he is in, and that he should kiss the feet of Adam Sandler every time he sees him. In this film he plays the weed guy, go figure, who is so cleverly named, “Dante.” I suspect they gave the character that name so as not to confuse Peter Dante and save time while shooting. Kevin Nealon is in this one though and I have always liked him, some people are just naturally funny, even when they are overdoing it.

I think that if you are young, and really stoned, you should check this movie out cause it’s right up your alley.  Otherwise don’t waste your time with this one.  I have admitted that there are plenty of funny things going on here, but by and large this is overwhelmingly just dumb.  Again, that’s Adam Sandler in a nutshell folks.

AMBER’S REVIEW

In some ways, I agree with Ryan. In college, this was one of my all time favorite movies. Again, I am a mother now, so I can’t talk about what I may and may not have done in college that may have added to the hilarity of this film. There are still some really funny moments in this movie. Instead of going on about I am going to go out in true Amber fashion and give you some of my favorite quotes.

“My Grandma drank all my pot.”

“Adios turd nuggets!”

“Wow J.P, that is a great outfit. How much do clothes cost in The Matrix?”

“Your shit’s weak! Wizzeak!”

” Whoa, chill bro… You know you can’t raise your voice like that when the lion’s here.”

NEXT MOVIE: Grass (1999)

Billy Madison

Year: 1995
Directed By: Tamra Davis
Written By: Tim Herlihy, Adam Sandler

RYAN’S REVIEW

This movie reminds me of the 90s, of being young and watching it with my brothers and sisters. This was probably one of our favorite movies collectively when were in the pre-teen to early teen years.   When I was younger I thought Adam Sandler was one of the funniest people out there. Things are different today, I don’t even bother seeing his films anymore, in fact I specifically don’t watch them.  In a way it’s because of this movie that I don’t like Adam Sandler.  I think that this film, as well as Happy Gilmore, are great movies and very funny. They are too funny, they led me to believe Adam Sandler had it in him to be funny all the time and that wasn’t the case.  I personally think that his career was all down hill after them, despite how much money he has made.  With few exceptions I think his movies have been obnoxious and stupid.  The Waterboy isn’t bad, The Wedding Singer isn’t the funniest movie but it is a lot of fun all the same, and I think Sandler showed exceptional acting ability in Punch, Drunk, Love. Otherwise I think his career is full of duds, but I know I am in the minority.

Billy Madison is a great movie, Adam Sandler is young and very funny.  He has a few SNL buddies making cameos with Norm MacDonald as a wasted friend and the late great Chris Farley as a crazy bus driver.  Steve Buscemi has worked with Adam Sandler quite often and he has a great part in this movie. We didn’t get enough of Chris Farley before his untimely death in 1997, we must cherish what we do have.  This is a funny movie and at only 90 minutes it is worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW

I can recite this whole movie line by line, as most people my age can. I don’t know what it is about this movie, but we all love it and we all think it is hilarious. This movie was in the beginning of the Adam Sandler era, when he was still true to his slapstick version of humor. He has grown a lot since these films around this time era, even venturing out into more serious roles such as Punch Drunk Love.

If you haven’t seen this movie, I don’t know where you have been in the world since the nineties. Everyone I know has seen this movie and loved it. It isn’t an academy award winner, but it should be in every movie lover’s collection.

My Favorite Quotes:

“It’s too damn hot for a penguin to be just walkin’ around. I gotta send you back to the South Pole.”

“Have some more sloppy joes. I made ’em extra sloppy for yous. I know how yous kids like ’em sloppy.”

“Back to school. Back to school, to prove to Dad that I’m not a fool. I got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight, I hope I don’t get in a fight. Ohhhh, back to school. Back to school. Back to school. Well, here goes nothing.”

“Shampoo is better. I go on first and clean the hair. Conditioner is better. I leave the hair silky and smooth. Oh, really, fool? Really”…………….”Stop Looking at me swan!”

And last but not least, the clown singing. I love this part.

NEXT MOVIE: The Birdcage (1996)

Airheads

Year: 1994
Directed By: Michael Lehmann
Written By: Rich Wilkes

RYAN’S REVIEW

This is an under rated film, with a rating of 23% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes it is utterly and completely under appreciated.  I for one love when funny people get together to make a funny movie.  It’s not going to win any awards but it’s a fun movie that I always enjoy watching. This ensemble cast is full of guys that went on to become superstars and it’s really cool to see them all together when they were young. I have always liked Brendan Fraser, but in many ways he has always been the dumb rocker he portrays in this film.  He has occasionally showed some diversity in his acting but he is all too often just playing the part of someone dumb.  Steve Buscemi brings some attitude and hostility to the table, he is a talented actor.  He was on his way when this film was made but it was a couple more years before he really burst onto the scene with Fargo. This movie sports the young Adam Sandler that I really found funny, I have not been a fan of his work over the last ten years for the most part. The late, great Chris Farley is in this film, we really didn’t get enough of him before he died, we have to cherish what we do have. This movie is loaded with other big names as well, Allen Covert, Michael Richards, Ernie Hudson (as a cop, go figure), David Arquette, Judd Nelson, Joe Mantegna, and even Harold Ramis makes a small cameo.

The movie has a vague message about the music industry in the 90s and I have heard it criticized along these lines.  I think that is ridiculous because this isn’t a serious movie, it’s not meant to be taken so literally.  It’s just a silly movie that works well because of the strength of the cast.  This movie is short and to the point, definitely worth your time.

AMBER’S REVIEW:

Oh dear Ryan, it is rated so low because this movie is silly and cheesy. I like it, please don’t go on calling it under-rated. This movie has the beginnings of some really funny men that go on to become successful comedians. The overall concept is there, I like the idea that this band takes over the radio station in a hostage situation in order to get their single played on the air. It is a funny movie, but very silly.

NEXT MOVIE: Alice in Wonderland (2010)