Charlie Greenwald ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Every single time I see a commercial for Blended, the latest Adam Sandler movie, I want to throw my remote at the television. Besides looking utterly insufferable, it puts an official end to a solid partnership between Sandler and Drew Barrymore, who proved to make a good team in two previous films. The movie looks like a horrible parade of penis and racist jokes set to the backdrop of two single parents who hate each other but are miraculously forced to spend a vacation together in Africa. The reviews are tellingly atrocious.
Sandler has a few interesting projects on the horizon, including a collaboration with Up in the Air director Jason Reitman and a drama from Win Win writer-director Tom McCarthy. However, at this particular juncture, I think a Sandler retrospective is necessary. We need to evaluate where Sandler is right now in his career, so he can learn from his mistakes (Little Nicky, anyone?) and try and make some better films, like the following pictures below.
Here is my list of the Top 10 Adam Sandler movies as of May 2014.
10. Just Go With It (2011)
Sandler has great chemistry with fellow seasoned comedy star Jennifer Aniston, and the jokes are better executed than in some of Sandler’s other farces. Though the plot is formulaic, Sandler is truly at ease here. This is the most recent movie on this list, and it’s also the highest rated… that’s because everything else in the last 5 years that he has done has been utter crap. That’s My Boy, Grown Ups and Jack and Jill were all ghastly.
9. Spanglish (2004)
The legendary James L. Brooks worked with Sandler for this movie about a young couple and their relationship with their housekeeper. It’s a lesser-known film with great depth. Not initially praised by critics, but I found it really touching.
8. Funny People (2009)
Judd Apatow directs Sandler in this film about a dying comedian who befriends a young aspiring comic, played by Seth Rogen, and then tries to win back his old girlfriend, Leslie Mann. The movie, as I remember it, starts out really funny, and then gets incredibly serious as it goes along. I had a problem with its tone. Having said that, Sandler is excellent in it.
7. Anger Management (2003)
Sandler goes toe-to-toe with one of my favorite actors ever, Jack Nicholson, and pulls a completely zany performance out of him. Some of the comedy is winningly stupid, some of it just stupid—but either way, it succeeds at handling the sensitive, interesting issue of people with anger management problems. Sandler also dates Marisa Tomei in this movie, who is my celebrity crush, so that bumped this flick up a few spots.
6. You Don’t Mess With the Zohan (2008)
Maybe it’s just me, but I find this movie hilarious. Sandler often plays schlubby rich Jewish guys in his comedies, but in this, he portrays the fictional Zohan, a super skilled Israeli soldier-turned-hairstylist. It’s a hilarious, exaggerated character, with a kind of Jim Carrey-esque physicality and the exagerrative, Chuck Norris. Judd Apatow’s producing hand doesn’t hurt, either.
5. Billy Madison (1995)
The movie that started it all. Adam Sandler goes back to school, and yells at kids to spit out the answers “T-t-t-today, junior!” It’s also one of the few Sandler films that Chris Farley is credited in, and ultimately the last.
4. Reign Over Me (2007)
Sandler flexes his tender, dramatic chops as a grief-stricken husband in this 9/11 movie, costarring the equally affecting Don Cheadle. It’s a beautiful movie that nobody ever expected Sandler could have done. Robbed of an Oscar nomination, if not for being amazing, for defying expectations.
3. The Wedding Singer (1998)
A lovely little romance. Here, Sandler focuses more on the intricacies of love over the comedy, which doesn’t usually happen. His chemistry with Barrymore is electric, and she’s in the prime of her career. It’s better than 50 First Dates, and MUCH better than Blended will be.
2. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
If there’s one Sandler movie you haven’t seen but really should, it’s this one. I’ve mentioned Funny People, Spanglish, and Reign Over Me but this is Sandler’s best dramatic role. He kills it as an obsessive, dark businessman who tries tapping into his more emotional side. Roger Ebert praised Sandler’s performances, saying it reminded him of Dennis Hopper.
1. Happy Gilmore (1996)
Happy Gilmore is the funniest Adam Sandler movie, for several reasons. First of all, his supporting cast is exceptional. Christopher McDonald is a riot as Shooter McGavin, Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed in Rocky) is hilarious as Happy’s coach and Ben Stiller cameos in a brief but uproarious scene as the owner of a retirement home. You might also recognize Modern Family’s Julie Bowen as Sandler’s love interest. This movie took the Billy Madison prototype and kicked it up a notch, adding a hilarious sporting element to it as well as the best movie fight ever with Bob Barker. Sandler may never be as funny again.