When I see movie trailers for the first time, I busy myself with thinking about whether it’s meant to showcase the actors, director or plot. Recently, when I see a trailer for an Adam Sandler movie, the only thing I can do is groan in disgust. This once great comedian made very funny films, and with a sensational serious side, displayed the potential to be an Oscar nominee. However, it seems he’s given up on making quality movies and only cares about making money.
With the exception of Funny People (2009), Adam Sandler hasn’t made a good film since Reign Over Me (2007). Even with a bad film a good performance can make the difference, but Sandler just hasn’t cared. I have a theory about Adam Sandler and I’ve had this theory since the release of Grown Ups (2010), so sit tight while I convince you to agree with me.
In 2002, Sandler teamed up with Paul Thomas Anderson to star in the romantic comedy Punch-Drunk Love. At the time, this film portrayed Sandler at his best. He was subtle in his comedy and just let it happen instead of forcing it. He surprised everybody when he gave a glimpse of the serious actor behind all the ridiculous comedy. Punch-Drunk Love opened to great reviews, made back its budget at the box office and earned Sandler his first nomination for Best Actor at the Golden Globes. Unfortunately, fans that rely on Sandler to put out his typical films were disappointed with his shift in performance. The rest of his fans felt this film would be the beginning of a serious career change.
Trying to please both sides, Sandler began releasing his typical comedies while also starring in a few films that showed a different side to his comedy; a side that was less animated and taken more seriously. In 2003, Sandler teamed up with one of the most respected actors in film for Anger Management. Anger Management is one of my favorite movies Sandler has ever put out because it wasn’t stupid comedy. Teaming up with Jack Nicholson was one of the best things he could have done. It meant he earned the respect of a well-respected actor. Anger Management wasn’t a flashy comedy; it was more toned down, but still so much fun to watch. Anger Management is one of my favorite movies Sandler has ever put out because it didn’t rely solely on stupid comedy. The same could be said for 50 First Dates.
In 2004, Sandler teamed up with legendary director James L. Brooks in Spanglish. Sandler proved once again that he didn’t need outrageous comedy to be great. He truly melted my heart in this role and was so terrific, wonderfully down to earth and endearing. Spanglish wasn’t a box office hit for Sandler, but he followed it up with another feel good family comedy. Sandler’s performance in Click was quirky at times but during the much more serious parts of the film, Sandler was able to tone it down perfectly treating the audience to a very heartfelt film.
Reign Over Me was the Academy’s chance to take notice at the serious actor Adam Sandler had become. Sandler was faced with the challenge of leaving all of his comedy behind and playing a real serious role. Playing a man grieving with the death of his family after 9/11, Sandler put it all on the table and showed audiences the actor we all were waiting to see. Sandler delivers such a moving portrait of a man trying to avoid facing the reality of what really happened to his family. He shuts out the word instead of allowing anybody to rehash horrific memories. Certain scenes In certain scenes, Sandler is faced with the difficult task of appearing to hold it all back and only letting the proper emotions come through. He was absolutely brilliant and the best he’s ever been.
I think when Sandler didn’t receive any sort of attention from his peers or the Academy he gave it one last shot with Funny People. When Sandler didn’t get the proper notice for Funny People, it was the turning point. He gave up on having a successful career in serious film. All of this leads to my theory. I believe Sandler gave being a serious actor a shot, and when he realized he wasn’t getting the type of attention and respect actors like Jim Carrey received he gave up on the idea and went back to his old antics. In addition, those particular films weren’t box office hits unlike Sandler’s comedic endeavors. It seems he wanted to please his fans more than further his career. The only problem is he is now putting out worse films than ever.
In the 1990’s Sandler went back and forth with subtle comedy and outrageous comedy, but no matter what he did those films were decent, entertaining and funny. Now it seems the only thing he cares about doing is making a movie and getting paid. His recent films are on a whole new level of insanity, they’re just plain bad. They aren’t even worth watching and I think he’s losing more fans and respect doing bad movies than he was doing great movies.
Comedians are known for being some of the best serious actors, and Sandler could have been one of those great ones, but instead he gave up and chose to do crap films. That’s my theory and until I’m proven wrong I’m sticking with it.
I love film, and I understand that this is their job because they are working actors, but I can’t stand when an actor with amazing potential makes a mockery of filmmaking just because he can. He’s a comedian and his job is to make people laugh, but with the films he’s recently made, that’s the last thing he’s doing. I’m so disappointed in Adam Sandler. If he was putting out decent films this article wouldn’t even be a thought, but he’s not, it doesn’t even seem like he cares anymore. Adam Sandler could have been a great actor as well as a great comedian, now he’s just a joke.
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