I have no good reason for talking about Adam Sandler this week. I mean, his latest movie, GROWN UPS, doesn't even drop on DVD until Nov. 9. And it's not because of his success at teaching millions of gentiles about Hanukkah (although I did appreciate the lists). I guess I just feel compelled to talk about Adam Sandler because I was recently talking to a very hilarious friend of mine and the two of us were defending Sandler. I mean, yes, there is a considerable amount of work in his oeuvre that only a 13-year-old boy (or the very drunk or the very immature) could appreciate, but, well, there are some Sandler performances that go above and beyond. And not above and beyond what you'd expect from your average silly former SNL star, but above and beyond in American acting.
1. Firstly, though, I will talk about Saturday Night Live (1991-1995) because many of the most memorable SNL sketches from the 1990s involve Sandler, from the Gap Girls to the commercial for Schmitt's Gay:
(sorry, it's the best I could find)
Not to mention his guest commentaries on Weekend Update, especially from characters Opera Man and Cajun Man.
SNL was so terrific in the 80s with Dana Carvey, Phil Hartman, Nora Dunn, Victoria Jackson, Dennis Miller – I could go on – and Sandler's performances made their departures slightly less painful. (It doesn't help the pain at knowing what whackadoodles Jackson and Miller have since become, however. I have to admit, I've got a soft spot for Jackson mostly because of her "I am not a bimbo" song and her performance in UHF. And Miller, well, in high school I wanted to marry him so we could be "Dennis and Denise Miller." It's a good thing we didn't marry, because all we'd do these days is fight).
2. 50 FIRST DATES (2004)
This might be the best romantic comedy ever, well, with the possible exception of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. So it's for sure in the top two. Oh, I forgot 40 YEAR-OLD-VIRGIN, so for sure 50 FIRST DATES is in the top three. Oops, I can't forget FRENCH KISS. But definitely, for sure, 50 FIRST DATES is in the top four romantic comedies of all time. Yes, even with Rob Schneider (who seems to be in a lot of Sandler films and who I would prefer to give a wedgie to than see in another movie), 50 FIRST DATES rocks. Sandler and Drew Barrymore are a perfect on-screen duo. Sandler plays warm, sweet, and self-deprecating as well as Paul Rudd or Conan O'Brien, which lets Barrymore's funny be even more sparkly than usual. And the cameo by Dan Aykroyd is the umbrella in the mai tai.
3. THE WEDDING SINGER (1998)
Yes, I love 80s period films. They remind me of a simpler time. And the magic of Barrymore and Sandler is just as fantastic back in '98 as it was in 50 FIRST DATES. His songs are hilarious and the following clip has one of my favorite lines from the movie:
Yes, it's The Cure bit. And, I have to admit, I am a sucker for a grand gesture-filled romantic ending.
4. SPANGLISH (2004)
Love him or dislike him, James L. Brooks has an awesome list of television and film accomplishments. From the big screen triumphs TERMS OF ENDEARMENT and BROADCAST NEWS to small screen cornerstones Mary Tyler Moore, Taxi, and a little show called The Simpsons, Brooks, with perspicaciousness, captures characters, family craziness, and the human experience. And in SPANGLISH, he gleaned remarkable performances from this amazing cast while telling a lovely, completely American story.
See, look at that heart that Brooks captured in these amazing performances by Adam Sandler and Paz Vega.
And, gods, that sandwich! I still want to eat that sandwich.
5. PUNCH DRUNK LOVE (2002)
I am not huge a fan of PT Anderson. I mean, sure, I liked MAGNOLIA just like anyone, but I must say I was happy to see that he learned to edit for PUNCH DRUNK LOVE. Nonetheless, Sandler fans who were expecting a Happy Gilmore-type movie when they went to see PUNCH DRUNK LOVE probably wanted to punch Anderson, but, hey, he's to thank for bringing out Sandler's darker, more dramatic acting chops (or at least making them known to those of us who don't happen to know Sandler personally). Without PUNCH DRUNK LOVE, maybe there wouldn't have been a SPANGLISH or a FUNNY PEOPLE, and we have to thank PT for that.
Hey, you'd be a little nuts too if you had seven sisters.
DVDs DROPPING OCTOBER 5
(as usual, this is not an exhaustive list but, rather, is a selection of those I think my readers will find interesting)
All in the Family The Complete Seventh Season
BASEBALL: A FILM BY KEN BURNS
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Three disc diamond edition Blu-ray)
Caprica Season 1.0
CHARLIE BROWN'S CHRISTMAS TALES
THE EXORCIST (Extended Director's Cut & Original Theatrical Version Blu-ray)
GRINDHOUSE (Special Edition Blu-ray)
HARD CANDY (Blu-ray)
THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE
THE KARATE KID (Jaden Smith, Jackie Chan)
THE MALTESE FALCON (Blu-ray)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
ROBOCOP Trilogy (Blu-ray)
THE SLUMBER PARTY MASSACRE COLLECTION (Roger Corman's Cult Classics)
THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (Blu-ray)
Dropping October 12
Dexter's Laboratory Season One ("Those muffins are the reason I married your mother!")
Dollhouse Season Two
I AM LOVE (Tilda Swinton)
LEAVES OF GRASS (Edward Norton, Susan Sarandon)
THREE KINGS (George Clooney, Ice Cube)
The Tudors The Final Season
Wolverine and the X-Men: The Complete Series Blu-ray