It's difficult to believe now, but there was a time in my life when Adam Sandler was the nexus of my comedy universe. Just about everything I thought was funny revolved around the Bafoon, Tollbooth Willy, and Herlihy Boy. The teenage me revered him, which is why I struggle with 100% dismissing the guy despite all his recent efforts to convince me to do so.
So on the brink of the Happy Madison crew attempting to use their formulaic unfunniness to derail Andy Samberg's film career before it even gets started, I took a look back at Sandler's entire motion picture catalog. The goal was to determine which Sandler movies you should be able to reference and admit to seeing -- not necessarily enjoying, but seeing -- in blog comments and whatnot without getting lambasted on the internet for supporting the creation of Jack & Jill and Tonka Truck feature films.
Obviously the list I came up with is subjective and somewhat arbitrary, but I'm sure there are a ton of you out there who know all the words to "At a Medium Pace" and suffer from the same Sandler-related internal conflict that I do. So without further ado, in chronological order...
Airheads was, for all intents and purposes, Sandler's big screen debut, and anyone who had "They're All Going to Laugh at You" memorized made it a must see. Is it particularly funny or good or even coherent? No. But it does feature heavy metal Steve Buscemi and Brendan Fraser in one of his many forgettable roles that make him an ironic favorite of a generation.
Billy Madison is the movie that taught me repeat viewings in the company of friends can turn something middling into an all-time classic. If you can't quote five lines off the top of your head we can't be friends.
Happy Gilmore is just a good comedy. Shooter McGavin remains my all-time favorite movie villain who eats pieces of sh*t for breakfast.
Bulletproof is terrible. There's no denying this. But Sandler was fresh off Happy Gilmore and there's no shame in having seen it (even multiple times). Also, this pick-up routine is a winner.
Everyone saw The Wedding Singer. Everyone bought the soundtrack or knows someone who did. It made for a solid rom-com compromise (if you're into significant others) and 80's humor is like Nic Cage humor: can't miss. Also, Harold would never beat up his landlord.
The Happy Madison crew learned they could make more money by trying less with The Waterboy. It's unwatchable as far as I'm concerned, but for some reason there are people whose opinions I respect who revere it.
We've all seen it. We all have questions about Leslie Mann's boobs. We're all in this together.
A critically-acclaimed film with solid efforts from all involved. If you've never seen Philip Seymour Hoffman absolutely eat it while filming the Mattress Man commercial now is the time...
Hard to believe we may soon be discussing how this has been bastardized. Also porn star January Jones.
The 2009 film we all hoped would be Sandler's return to actually trying. Alas, despite a great cast, a return to hardcore standup, lampooning Sandler's actual career, and being legitimately good -- although LONG -- Judd Apatow's Funny People flopped at the box office and sent Sandler on a mission to appeal to the lowest common denominator in a fashioin Rob Schneider couldn't even imagine. And it's only getting worse. NSFW audio.