Tag Archive: Adam Sandler

Last week, I made mention that I think Adam Sandler could be one of our best actors of his generation.


I said could be based on his performances in a handful of films that get away from his ‘usual roles.’ I would also add a few other that play on those themes but are better than many of his comedy movies.


Most of us know Sandler for a being a comedian willing to work crude, low down comedy. And I realize that a lot of people like those movie such as Billy Madison and Little Nicky.


People like this type of comedy, they like Sandler when he does these types of movies and these types of movies make lots of money. But there are times when I think he gets bored and does something a little different to break up the monotony.


One movie that jumped out at me in this regards was Punch Drunk Love in which Sandler plays a man who has his own business but is treated like an idiot by his older sisters. Then he meets Emily Watson and they fall in love. There is a side story about a phone sex company extorting money, adding more layers to this man.


Paul T. Anderson directs this movie that explores the hidden depths of anger and sadness in the lovable character that Sandler plays. He has to carry a different story and it works, it works well.


Another movie that increased my respect for Sandler was Spanglish. Here, Sandler is the chef and owner of a restaurant. His wife, Tea Leoni, has hired a new housekeeper in Paz Vega.


It is in this performance I see a sensitivity I do not see in other movies with Sandler, a willingness to be vulnerable, thanks to director James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment). To me it is a great performance and I love watching this movie for the great ensemble that includes Cloris Leachman.


I also love Reign Over Me in which Sandler plays a man who lost his wife and daughters in one of the 9/11 plane crashes. His character is devastated by his loss to the point he does not interact well with others until a former classmate finds him.


Don Cheadle is a withdrawn man with a successful business and loving family who needs Sandler as much as Sandler needs him. Mike Binder (The Upside of Anger) pushes Sandler in a different direction and gets a different performance.


A movie I mentioned last week, 50 First Dates re-connects Sandler with Drew Barrymore with whom he worked with in The Wedding Singer. These romantic comedies move Sandler to be more than his usual persona, more than the lovable goofball, more than ‘that guy.’

The thing is, when Sandler makes that effort and goes beyond what we know of him, he is really wonderful in his acting. It shows up in movies such as the dramody Funny People and the whacked-out You Don’t Mess with the Zohan.


One family movie that stars Sandler is Bedtime Stories. We love watching as a family because it is touching and emotional and funny. Plus, we love the guinea pig as well as Russell Brand. It is one of Sandler’s better films.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Resolution towards Redemption

Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


In this week before the end of the year and after Christmas, some people take a look at their life and decide how to change it.


I feel it especially strong as my birthday is on this week. I think about the past year and wonder what can I do to make things better in my life, make my life what one could call ‘worthy.’ Being the best at making sure the couch does not run away is not my life’s goal.


Perhaps that is why it is interesting to me that two of the most beloved Christmas stories –  It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are really about redemption, appreciation and making a change in one’s life.


These stories feature men who learn through visitations from other-worldly beings that there are things in life that matter, that how they interact with people matters. Scrooge sees how his bitterness will cause his afterlife to be one of harder work than his life while George Bailey sees how his community would look without his presence.  


Because of these experiences, Scrooge and George see the sweeter side of life. They find a renewed appreciation for those who love and work for them. These are the stories that make our hearts swell.


Usually at this time of year I recommend Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard as a woman who kicks her drug habit and becomes a better person after her mother forces her to move in with family in a Southern state. I love the multi-generational story, I love how the characters grow. I especially love the significance of the silver candelabra. It is a feel-good story on so many levels that features good acting from all of its players.


Another movie I have been thinking about in regards to redemption is 50 First Dates. I know what you are thinking, how can an Adam Sandler movie be about redemption? I think Adam Sandler could be one of the greats of our time if his fans did not always expect stupid comedies from him but that is another discussion for another day.


This movie is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful girl – Drew Barrymore. The problem is she has no short term memory because of a car accident. She remembers the day of the accident before the crash occurred and relives that day – everyday. Sandler figures out a way to get her up to speed every morning. In doing so, Sandler shows that while his character is a jerk most of the time, for the right person he is willing to change and be better.


None of these movies are suited for the smaller members of the house because, contextually, they deal with grown-up themes. However, a movie about redemption that is great for the younger children is Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black.


No one believes that a panda can be the ‘Dragon Warrior,’ the ultimate Kung Fu warrior. Only one person sees his potential beyond being a great noodle maker. And yet when the time comes to fight a great enemy, the panda finds it within himself to do it. He finds the secret ingredient. Our family loves this movie and laugh with it every time we watch it.


Happy New Year and good luck on your new year’s resolutions.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.