Monday, June 18, 2012

My thoughts on Adam Sandler

There are certain movies that you know aren't good, but every time they're on tv you're going to watch them. Probably to the point where you really enjoy it. I equate this to radio music versus iPod music. There's music that's good (Zeppelin, Foo Fighters, Beatles, etc), and then there's the music that I want to listen to in the car for the ten minute ride to the supermarket (Flo Rida, Britney Spears, Kelly Clarkson, etc). They satiate different needs at different times. Adam Sandler movies make me happy, so I watch them.

People don't have to get meta and compare his role in Funny People to real life or how Bill Murray's career is a better version of what Adam's could be. I think that he just honestly wants to do movies like this, and that's ok. The jokes he makes are ones that he finds funny with his friends, and sometimes we're in on them and other times we aren't.  This is just one example of an interview he's done recently, and it's the same type of joke you'd see in That's My Boy. He's basically filming himself hanging out with friends, joking around, and getting paid twenty million for it.

The Salon did an article, linked below, comparing the career trajectory of Bill Murray and Adam Sandler. Bill, unlike Adam, embraced and expounded upon an indie film career. Adam had a shot and then blew it. Legit point. But maybe Sandler simply doesn't like to make indie movies. He's done some serious, and I think he was quite good in them (Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish, and Reign Over Me).  Maybe they take too much time, maybe he'd rather hang out with his friends and produce his own films. Why did The Rock star in The Toothfairy? These are things we just don't know.

Now, Andy Samberg is caught up in the shit storm that is Adam Sandler reviews. Fresh off his leave from SNL, everyone's saying that he doesn't have leading man chops and is doomed to fall off the face of the earth. Whoa, guys, calm the eff down. The more honorable thing to do was to stay on SNL for ten more years just so he can stay relevant? Let's applaud him for doing his time and now trying to branch out. Hot Rod was his attempt to emulate Sandler, his comedic hero growing up. The film did just as poorly at the box office, but, like Sandler's, has been gaining a cult following over the years. And rightfully so, it's fucking hysterical.

It's hard to come to grips when a thing you used to like evolves into a new style. Maybe "evolve" isn't even the best word since some would argue that it's getting worse, not better. But regardless, it's their choice to make a product and the audience's choice to view it. Do I love every movie? No, I thought Grown Ups, Just Got With It, Zohan, and That's My Boy were pretty awful. Do I truly enjoy catching Bedtime Stories, Mr. Deeds, and Chuck and Larry on TV every now and then? 100% yes.

I'm also not saying that all the recent Sandler films will one day be as revered as his earlier work. I'm also positive that a good portion of me defending him so vehemently is due to the fact that people attack him just as passionately. But as I mentioned in my earlier blog, there's an element of loyalty that goes into choosing films, and I personally have decided to stand with a man who has more movies I enjoy than hate.

I get how hard it is to watch something you love change into something new. It's basically how I feel about The Simpsons. I was privy to ten years of amazing television and then something entirely new started appearing every Sunday night. As successful as ever, an entirely new generation of kids are watching. I stopped watching The Simpsons. I chose not to stop watching Sandler.

For additional reading:
The Salon article mentioned above: here
A Grantland investigation: here
Check out this very interesting piece by SplitSider: What does the opening weekend failure of That's My Boy mean?
Backhanded ode to Sandler by Uproxx: here

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