Top 5/Bottom 5: Adam Sandler

Posted Tue Jun 7, 2011 at 01:15 PM PDT by

by Aaron Peck

Sony's release of 'Just Go With It' was the perfect time for Universal to turn around and release two highly sought after Adam Sandler catalogue films. Fans of the funny man will be ecstatic that they can finally get 'Happy Gilmore' and 'Billy Madison' on Blu-ray. Because today sees the release of two of Sandler's biggest films (and also his most recent), we take a look at his career to determine which are his best and worst movies.

Even though Sandler has made a (really good) living playing, essentially, a loud moron in a too big T-shirt in most of his movies, there are times his performances shine through. It's no coincidence that three of his best movies involved more dramatic roles. Like Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, Sandler is actually a fairly strong actor in more serious roles, but when he produces films, he sticks to the slapstick, generic comedy because it brings in the big bucks (and keeps Rob Schneider fed).

The Best

'Funny People'

It seemed like people either loved or hated 'Funny People', there really wasn't any in between. Directed by Judd Apatow, 'Funny People' followed George Simmons (Sandler), a world famous comedian and actor, as he finds out that he has a terminal illness. Suddenly life is serious, but how does a man who thinks he'll die at any moment end up living his life? 'Funny People' had a darker tone than other Apatow flicks, but that didn't stop Sandler from shining through in the demanding role.

'Happy Gilmore'

This is my favorite classic Sandler movie. Most people will point to 'Billy Madison', but I've never found that movie all that great or funny. Sandler's role as Billy becomes more grating by the second. It's true that the same argument could probably be made for Sandler's depiction of Happy, but the movie surrounding him is much funnier. There are so many classic and quote-worthy scenes in 'Happy Gilmore' that I've lost count. All these years, and it's still a fun movie to start up if you need a few good laughs.

'Punch Drunk Love'

Wow! Adam Sandler can actually act. At least that's what we found out when he took on the role of Barry Egan in Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Punch Drunk Love'. Up until then Sandler had been pigeon-holing himself in roles in movies like 'Billy Madison' and 'The Waterboy'. Movies that made millions of dollars, but were essentially like watching an 'SNL' skit that lasted an hour and a half. Here, Sandler finally showed the world that he had some dramatic acting chops, and they weren't half bad!

'Reign Over Me'

I know some people absolutely hated 'Reign Over Me' and that's just fine. The fact remains that Sandler's role as the reclusive Charlie Fineman is definitely one of his best. Yes it's another one of his dramatic roles, but he excels here just like he has in his other dramatic films.

'The Wedding Singer'

Even though 'The Wedding Singer' ventures into a middle-of-the-road Sandler affair there's something about it that lifts it above the rest. Maybe it's the way they nail down the 80s, or maybe it's the subtle changes that Sandler has to go through in what should be just another comedy. I know one thing though, I'd watch 'The Wedding Singer' over 'Billy Madison' any day.

The Worst


So, Adam Sandler finds a remote that can control time. Where does he find it? In the "Beyond" section of Bed, Bath and Beyond of course. Christopher Walken supplies him with it, and now Sandler has all the time in the world to play the giant bouncing jugs of his jogging neighbor in ultra-slow motion. That about sums up the ugliness that is 'Click'.

'Grown Ups'

If there's one rule in Sandler movies it's this: Never trust the movie if Sandler is teaming up with Rob Schneider. Seriously, never do it. You'll regret it. Watching the inanity that is 'Grown Ups' is akin to having a frontal comedic lobotomy. It's sad, and almost feels like Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, and the guys got together and said, "Hey, let's throw together a movie where we all play people we've played before. Tell some of the same jokes. Get that Schneider guy to do some stupid stuff, and we'll make a boatload of money."

'I Now Pronounce You, Chuck and Larry'

This is probably the most unfunny, insensitive, and patronizing movie I've seen in a long, long time. Sandler and Kevin James get married so they can still take advantage of the benefits at the fire department they work at. Not only is the movie dreadfully insensitive to an entire community, it also involves one of the most racist scenes I've ever witnessed in a movie. Ever. Who else would be qualified to perform such a scene other than Rob Schneider? What a terrible, terrible movie.

'Mr. Deeds'

A sad-sack remake of a movie that starred Gary Cooper. I wonder what Frank Capra would have thought had he been around to watch Sandler and company take a giant – for lack of a better word – dump on one of his classic films. I wonder if he would have simply shaken his head as John Tuturro beat Sandler 's dead foot with a fireplace poker and called it comedy.

'The Waterboy'

I know a ton of people love 'The Waterboy', but for the life of me I just can't see why. Like I said above, 'The Waterboy' is like watching an 'SNL' skit that should last five minutes tops, but instead it lasts 90. I can't stand Sandler's slurred lisp-ridden voice that he tacks onto the character. I can't stand how Rob Schneider randomly appears yelling "You can do it!" I can't stand anything about this movie. It's a grating experience.

Sandler has shown time and again that if he's given the right script and the right character he can pull off some tremendous performances. Sadly, as the head of Happy Madison Productions, he usually picks the projects he can do with his buddies on both sides of the camera. Like an old 'SNL cast getting back together for a couple of laughs. This works out for Sandler, as he makes millions of dollars for each ridiculous movie he puts out, but as his filmography fills up with true stinkers, the genuine, cinematic gems are growing fewer and farther between.

See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.

Tags: Fun Stuff, Aaron Peck, Adam Sandler, Top 5/Bottom 5 (all tags)