Adam Sandler kicks ass.
I'm not really referring to him as a comedic actor or entertainer, though - I mean, I like him in (more or less) when he's in movies and singing silly songs and all that. But, if we're being honest here, his output is pretty hit-and-miss. Like, uh, most of his stuff from the past 15 years.
But, at the same time, it's that same relentless string of mediocre, forgettable films that make me respect Adam Sandler so goddamn much. Because, at some point, Adam Sandler stopped giving a shit whether his movies were funny or good or well-written or interesting in any way, and just started making movies to go on fun vacations (and get paid for it), hang out with his friends (and get them paid for it), and have a really good time (unlike actors like Tom Hanks, who are too concerned with their own self-image to make a movie without a finished script purely in order to hang out with their friends). Other actors take being a movie star seriously - they invest themselves in their character, some do months of research and physical training, and they don't cast all of their buddies in all of the supporting roles. But Adam Sandler doesn't give a crap about any of the bullshit involved with trying to better his craft - he's hanging out with his buds in Hawaii AND GETTING PAID MILLIONS TO DO IT.
For example: the movie 50 First Dates, that incredibly creepy love story about a man continuously convincing a woman who has no memory of him that they're in a long, committed relationship every single day? You may remember it takes place in Hawaii and features some really gorgeous scenery. But the thing was - it wasn't originally set in Hawaii at all, but Sandler thought it'd be nice to film there. This is what he told Jimmy Kimmel:
"I have done that since 50 First Dates. It was written in another place. I said, 'Imagine if we did it in Hawaii, how great that movie would be.' And they said, 'Yeah, that's a very artistic idea.' I've been doing that ever since."
And WHY WOULDN'T YOU? If you found out your movie was filming in some boring place like Los Angeles or Vancouver - wouldn't YOU say "hey we should do this in Hawaii"? Hell, don't you want to do that with your actual job RIGHT NOW? "Hey boss it's fine working here in a dying suburb, but what if we moved the office to Hawaii?" And then imagine if the boss was like "Yeah sure." WOULD YOU EVER STOP ASKING? I don't care if I was shooting a movie about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan - if someone tells me I can film it in Hawaii, I'm gonna film it in Hawaii.
Also, it would be kinda funny to have a serious, grim Oscar-bait style "true story" film about Flint entirely filmed in Hawaii. So that's something.
So we've already established that Adam Sandler doesn't actually care about the artistry of his films - as he's totally down to completely change the location to someplace more fun and exotic to film in, or just join up on films specifically to visit someplace nice (and get first class accomodations COMPLETELY paid for by the studio). But there's more to the wonderful aura of Adam Sandler - he makes movies to have fun, hang out in cool locations, and TAKE CARE OF HIS FRIENDS. Here's what he said in response to his tendency to make films that got shredded by critics:
"I didn't get into movies to please the critics. I got into it to make people laugh and have fun with my friends."
If you've seen ANY Adam Sandler movie in the past 20 or so years, you recognize the Adam Sandler Entourage - guys like David Spade, Allen Covert, Peter Dante, Kevin James, Nick Swardson, Rob Schneider, Kevin Nealon, etc. They're notable for a few reasons - one, they seem to ONLY appear in Adam Sandler movies (for the most part). Allen Colvert and Peter Dante can pretty regularly rely on being in movies PURELY due to their friendship with Sandler - they almost NEVER appear in anything that he isn't somehow involved with. And the rest are in similar boats - sure, they have some level of celebrity, but no one's offering them big projects...except Adam Sandler.
Because Adam Sandler takes care of his friends. He brings them WITH HIM on vacations - and even invites THEIR WHOLE FAMILIES ALONG (as he did for Grown Ups 1 & 2). He gets them paid BIG BUCKS. He helps them jumpstart their careers. Why? Because he's a chill dude who looks out for his buds. It doesn't matter that they may not be the "best candidate" for any given project or role - there may be funnier or more talented actors out there, but that doesn't really matter to Sandler. Again, he's not making high art - and he knows it. So why NOT give his buds more opportunities? He wins by doing right by them and having his pals around to hang out with in Hawaii. The movies may wind up being a little bit worse than they could've been, but ultimately it doesn't matter - the movies wind up about as good as they would've been no matter who was cast in the supporting roles, but the big star at the center of it got another chance to help out his friends.
Here's what longtime collaborator / director Dennis Dugan said about Sandler, when he was trying to land hte gig of directing Happy Gilmore:
"I first met Adam way back; he wasn't Adam Sandler then, he was just a guy. And I wanted to cast him in my movie. I called him back four times but the producers weren't having him. A couple of years later, the man is big. I wanted to be hired to direct Happy Gilmore with him. I walk in the room, and he says: 'You're the guy who wanted to give me that part. I don't need to know anything else, I want to work with you.' That is Adam all over."
That kicks ass. Adam Sandler is a friend you can RELY ON. Think about all the other huge Hollywood stars out there - does Tom Hanks put his buddies in his films? Does Steven Spielberg? No! Because they're too concerned with the "integrity" and "art" of the films to do something like that.
And let's look at the way he conducts himself - beyond being honest and self-deprecating in interviews, the guy is ALL ABOUT COMFORT. So many stars and celebrities obsess over their personal appearance, working out, getting plastic surgery, and all sorts of other stressful, vain pursuits to continue their carefully-marketed appeal to audiences and other Hollywood insiders. While obviously women are judged much more harshly than men in this regard, most men still DO deal with it and put themselves through similar hoops.
But not Adam Sandler. Sandler's standard move is to show up to movie premieres - where everyone else is wearing tuxedos or fancy Italian suits - in the kind of outfit you might wear on a lazy Saturday at home, where you weren't expecting company. T-shirts, baggy pants, a baseball cap, no shave - just kinda slovenly-looking. And why not? He's Adam Sandler! If you CAN get away with it, you SHOULD. Let's enjoy some photos of Adam Sandler at big fancy movie premieres - comfortable, at ease, and happy with himself:
Meanwhile, here's how Tom Hanks shows up to big events - boring, uncomfortable suit, strained smile, and trying too hard to look good.
Adam Sandler > Tom Hanks. I'm saying it.