Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Adam Sandler

Depending on your perspective, it's probably been a while since Adam Sandler has starred in a quality film. For someone who helped to completely shape the comedy styles of the mid to late 90's, his characters haven't stuck much like they once did. Though each of us at this site have a pretty good idea of where Sandler's latest film, "That's My Boy", will fall, we'll hold-off opinions until the film is actually released. And who knows, maybe the movie will surprise and get Sandler back to what made him a star in the first place. Regardless though, this latest film did catch us thinking about exactly that, and reminiscing about some of Sandler's earlier work. Because of that, this week we focus our Top 5 Movie Guide on him.


As most of us know, Adam Sandler got his big break by joining the cast of Saturday Night Live in 1990. Sandler first broke into the comedy medium by unexpectedly jumping onstage at a comedy club when he was 17 years old. He was a natural, and from that point on, focused on developing his craft. Only a few years later he was discovered by Dennis Miller, and joined the cast of SNL as both an actor and writer. Other than growing his popularity, while there he developed strong relationships between people that would go on to star in many of his films, including Norm MacDonald, Chris Rock, and Rob Schneider. Also, interestingly, he shared a New York apartment with Judd Apatow at the time too.

Upon breaking into the movie side of things, he found quick success with early films like "Billy Madison" and "Happy Gilmore", the two films he based the name of his future production company, Happy Madison Productions, around. Since then, he and his company have went on to create dozens of memorable films, focusing on a variety of different subjects.

For a full rundown on each of our favorites from his career though, you'll have to hit the jump!


Alex Schopp -
Adam Sandler has done a ton of movies that I feel like I've really liked at some point. The problem is that I think his comedy usually gets stale pretty quick and most of his movies don't hold up over time. There are still plenty of good ones in there, just not as many as I originally thought.

     1. The Wedding Singer (1998)

This is really the only Adam Sandler movie that I think still has strong comedic value to me. I've talked about this film in our Wedding Movies List before. It's a gem though.
     2. Happy Gilmore (1996)
This was the first Adam Sandler movie that I felt like I grew up with. I know most people will list "Billy Madison", but that really wasn't a big part of my youth. This movie I watched a lot though. We owned the VHS and we only owned like 20 movies when I was a kid. Plus I really like golf.
     3. Big Daddy (1999)
I really like the themes in this movie. Also, Sandler's comedy again isn't too over-the-top in this movie.
     4. Punch Drunk Love (2002)
This was quite the change for Sandler. I'm not sure if general audiences really cared much for this movie, but I thought it was refreshing to see him take on a more serious role. I think he did pretty well, too. If you never saw it and you're familiar with Sandler's career, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out.
     5. The Longest Yard (2005)
1) I like sports, so any movie that revolves around them is usually going to get a few bonus points in my book. 2) This movie came out the summer I worked at a movie theater. I probably watched that final trick play to win the game scene 1,000 times. Never got old.

Ben Foutch -
Sandler owned a certain portion of 90's comedies. I wish his newer comedies carried the same spark of inspiration. Although, Zohan had its moments.

     1. Happy Gilmore (1996)
I wonder if professional golfers hated this movie.
     2. The Wedding Singer (1998)
Gotta love the 80's.
     3. Billy Madison (1995)
I watched this ad nauseum.
     4. Airheads (1994)
Great cast, pure and simple.
     5. Punch Drunk Love (2002)
Quirky and emotional. A must see.

Derek Clem -

     1. The Wedding Singer (1998)
Trust me, you don't want to watch this movie with me. I'll quote it from beginning to end and I'll even sing the karaoke after the credits of the VHS.
     2. Happy Gilmore (1996)
So many classic comedy moments. I would guess the Bob Barker scene to be the most famous from the movie.
     3. Billy Madison (1995)
Billy Madison was living the dream. It's too bad he had to go back to school. On the upside, at least his father's company never ends up in the hands of Eric.
     4. Funny People (2009)
This movie shifts in tone quite a bit, almost as if you're watching different movies. Even so, the stand-up comedy scenes make for a great watch.
     5. Punch Drunk Love (2002)
A great way to watch Sandler, known almost solely for comedy, dive into more serious territory under auteur Paul Thomas Anderson.

Nathan Hinds -
Adam Sandler had such a promising start to his career, but has been on a steady decline for quite some time. Lets hope that "Jack and Jill" was rock bottom for him (I can't imagine being able to go much lower) and now he can start putting out some quality films again.

     1. Big Daddy (1999)
Its hard to imagine that there was an Adam Sandler movie that made me tear up a little bit. Plus, you gotta love Steve Buscemi in this movie.
     2. Billy Madison (1995)
This movie has one of my all time favorite insults. Plus, you gotta love Steve Buscemi in this movie.
     3. Airheads (1994)
This movie would probably be higher if it hadn't been so long since I've seen it. Great cast plus, you gotta love Steve Buscemi in this movie.
     4. Happy Gilmore (1996)
One of the best representations of the game of golf to ever be brought to film. Plus, I bet Steve Buscemi would've been great in this movie.
     5. Mr. Deeds (2002)
Pretty much the scenario every one of us has fantasized about winding up in. Plus, you gotta love Steve Buscemi in this movie.

Andy Schopp -
As a general rule, I've never been a huge fan of Adam Sandler. But I used to watch "Happy Gilmore" and "Billy Madison" all the time; they're the exception to the rule. My hope is that his new movie, "That's My Boy", has a Billy Madison feel without getting too stale or trying too hard.

1. Happy Gilmore (1996)

2. Billy Madison (1995)

3. Big Daddy (1999)

4. Airheads (1994)

5. The Waterboy (1998)



Overall, not too many surprises with these lists. The films from this actor's career that you'd expect to see well represented on these lists all showed up. The top film featured above was "Happy Gilmore". This was the only movie to appear on all five lists, and garnered two first-place votes as well. This wasn't the first hit of Sandler's career, but have have been the one that really caught the attention of mass society and launched him into superstardom (at least in the movie world - we already knew him from his SNL days, of course). The film was one of the highest grossing comedies of 1996 (though still beat out by another golf-themed movie, "Tin Cup"), and instantly worked its way into pop culture. The film features Sandler at his best, with plenty of inspired jokes and references, and also features a nice amount of heart - something that is generally associated with an Adam Sandler comedy. It's hard to imagine that there are many people around who haven't seen this one, but if you haven't, it's the obvious place to start with this actor.

Otherwise, "Billy Madison" made its way onto four of the five lists, and may have been the film that first introduced our generation to the comedian. The film features some of the most quotable lines and iconic moments from any featured in Sandler's vast filmography. There were a handful of films that appeared three times, including "The Wedding Singer" (two first-place selections), "Big Daddy" (one first-place selection), "Airheads", and "Punch Drunk Love". Even though each of these four movies offers something a little bit different, they're each quality selections from this actor's filmography, and definitely worthy of a watch or two. Surprisingly, no films appeared on only two lists.

As always, we hope that each of these film selections helps you to expand your knowledge of Adam Sandler's filmography, and guide you to better and more enjoyable all-around viewing experiences.

Happy watching!