When I was growing up an Adam Sandler meant something. I remember when Big Daddy came out and I wasn’t allowed to go because it was too dirty, I was seven at the time. But nowadays Adam Sandler and his movies are a joke. For someone who was such a huge fan, Adam Sandler’s career is such a disappointment, I thought he was going to be funny forever, but now he’s just kind of sad. So the real question is, when did it all go wrong? When did he stop making actual good comedies? And, most importantly, what was his last good movie?
Well I think I have some idea, as a fan that held on for far too long I have some options. This is my list of the candidates for the last good Adam Sandler movie.
Now by ‘an Adam Sandler movie’ I don’t mean a movie that Adam Sandler was in but a movie made, written, produced, or starring Adam Sandler, in industry terms it would be called an ‘Adam Sandler vehicle’.
- The Longest Yard
The longest Yard came out in 2005, that’s a year after 50 First Dates and three years after Mr. Deeds, Eight Crazy Nights and Punch-Drunk love. I don’t think any critics would rank this movie among Sandler’s best but I loved it when it first came out and I still do, I actually watched this movie last night and it still holds up. You have the prison setting, the redemption story and the theme of rebellion, plus all of the cameos, from Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds to Terry Crews and Joey Diaz. I think something that all of these movies have in common is that lack of the patented Adam Sandler cheese. It is getting close to Adam Sandler cheesiness, which I think is on full display in his movie Jack and Jill, but it stays far enough away to still be a good movie.
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry
Was this movie progressive in 2007? It supported gay marriage but did that make it progressive? I don’t know, both Adam Sandler and Kevin James’ characters are pretty homophobic throughout the movie but the lesson they learn at the end is to support anyone’s right to get married, I still can’t really tell. Either way, this isn’t the worst Adam Sandler film also it might be the best Kevin James film, which isn’t really saying anything… but it had its moments.
- Funny People
Technically, this is an Adam Sandler movie but it feels more like a Judd Apatow movie. It was written and directed by Apatow but it is starring Adam Sandler so it I think it qualifies for this list. Funny People is emotionally mature, which is vastly different from Sandler’s other movies. It explores the themes of lost love and fear of mortality and fame and it’s also pretty fun. It’s sort of a great candidate for this list.
In all respects Click probably shouldn’t be on this list, the plot is basically just one idea, the jokes are cheesy and the characters are one-dimensional. In my books, it would be one of Adam Sandler’s worst movies if not for the scene where Adam Sandler’s character dies. I remember watching it when the movie came out and I cried my eyes out and I just rewatched that scene for this article and I cried again. The movie makes this list for that scene alone.
- That’s My Boy
I think a lot of people wouldn’t put this movie on this list, it came out late in Sandler’s career, 2012. It has Sandler in a stupid, nonsense accent, the final reveal is just out of left field and weird, and I think a lot of the credit for the success of this movie can be given to Andy Samberg. But it’s not a bad movie, a lot of the jokes land well and the plot isn’t a convoluted mess, like a lot of other Sandler movies.
- 50 First Dates
I think this is just a solid movie. It has a decent love story, the jokes aren’t too cheap or cheesy and the chemistry between Sandler and Drew Barrymore is believable.
- Eight Crazy nights
This is definitely one of Adam Sandler’s lesser-known films, it ‘s all animated but honestly, it’s one of my favorites. It unfortunately features Rob Schneider in a pretty racist portrayal of an Asian man, which I don’t think you can get over. But it’s a unique film and it is such a personal, emotional, touching story that it really stands out to me. One of the things that help’s it is the fact that it’s animated. The characters in Sandler’s movies are already so cartoonish that to just make them all cartoons helps them become more believable.
- Mr. Deeds
Why is this movie on this list? I think this movie is Sandler in classic form. The jokes are less cheap and more heartfelt, the plot is a simple set up, yes, but its resolve is satisfying and the love story is a bit more simple than some of his other films. The side characters are funny, yet well rounded, everything in this movie just works, at least a bit more than some of his lesser films.
- Punch-Drunk Love
Punch-Drunk Love is probably the best film Adam Sandler has ever been in. it’s not funny at all, and it is more of a Paul Thomas Anderson Film than an Adam Sandler Film, but Sandler is in the starring role so it counts. The movie itself is very stylistically unique, from the wardrobe to the cinematography; the movie presents a very specific aesthetic. The plot is simple, yet engaging and very understated. Sandler’s character is multi-layered and a little pitiful. Sandler’s performance is outstanding, very vulnerable, yet empowering. I think Paul Thomas Anderson did a great job of using Sandler’s strengths as a performer. I may have not like the fact that Adam Sandler was doing a drama when this movie first came out, but since I matured I have grown to appreciate this movie.
So those are my picks for the last good Adam Sandler movie. I think, in all honesty, the real correct answer to this question is Big Daddy, but this article was a lot of fun to write and I hope you enjoy it and maybe you can tell me where I went wrong or some of your picks for Adam Sandler’s last good movie. Anyways, thanks for reading. Please like, follow and comment!