…but exactly how did Adam Sandler’s latest flick, the direct-to-streaming The Ridiculous 6, set viewership records on Netflix? In its first thirty days of availability, more people watched this movie (sorry, won’t refer to it as a film, and yes I’m one of those people) than any other film in its initial 30 days. That’s right, an Adam Sandler flick was more popular (at least initially) than any other movie.
So…a movie with a resounding rating of 18 out of 100 on Metacritic is the people’s choice for streaming. This explains a lot of the political scene today…but I digress; that’s a topic for another time. The quick answer regarding The Ridiculous 6 is that Netflix promoted it very heavily; they should, they produced it. Sandler certainly has an established fan base. And of course the title plays off Tarantino’s The Hateful 8.
But this isn’t really about Adam Sandler, either; well, not eventually. But for now, let’s look at Mr. Sandler’s last 10 movies. I’m not including voice work here or strictly acting appearances, just flicks that he produced and or wrote – you know, basically the Happy Madison productions.
Title IMDB user score Metacritic score
|The Ridiculous 6||5||18|
|Grown Ups 2||5.4||19|
|That’s My Boy||5.6||31|
|Jack and Jill||3.4||23|
|Just Go With It||6.4||33|
|You Don’t Mess With the Zohan||5.5||54|
Please note there’s a ringer in there, and that would be Just Go With It. Sandler was not a writer for the project, but it is a co-production of Happy Madison, so I’ll let that in, just to help the guy out.
So the average rating for his last ten pictures – movies in which he had control – is a resounding 5.53 out of 10 for user ratings – that is, people who watch movies – and 28.9 out of 100 from the critics.
Now, if you like Adam Sandler’s movies, go ahead, like ’em. I’m not saying you’re wrong – I’m saying you have weird taste, but then again, I loved Chappie. Let’s look at the two movies that put him on the map:
Billy Madison 6.4 16
Happy Gilmore 7.0 31
Wow, the critics REALLY hated Billy Madison. Anyway, that average of 6.7 and 31.5 is quite a bit better. And to cheat a little, while there was no Happy Madison production company as of yet, Sandler’s writing partner for the first two flicks (Tim Herlihy) did write this classic:
The Wedding Singer 6.8 59
Now we’re looking at an average user rating of 6.7, and a Metacritic average of 35.3. And yes, that’s STILL pretty crappy, but a damn sight better than what he’s done lately. I can’t even see the trailer for Jack and Jill without throwing up in my mouth a little bit. The old Adam Sandler would just say that; the new Sandler says it, shows it to you, describes how it tastes, then shows you again. Then laughs about it, then shows you a third time.
And that’s the issue as I see it. He’s forgotten what’s truly funny. Remember his days on Saturday Night Live? Of course they weren’t all treasures, but he did a lot of genuinely funny bits. Happy Gilmore is overall, one heck of a funny movie. Sandler didn’t let himself devolve into the excesses you see in the dreck he’s been doing for the past several years. He’s certainly never done high brow comedy; that just isn’t his thing. He’s certainly a very smart guy, and capable of excellent performances; just watch him in Funny People or Punch-Drunk Love. In the right team, he delivers.
And that as I see it is the entire problem; his team. Sandler, in my view, has surrounded himself with the old gang, the guys he came up with, and in almost every respect, that is admirable. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from, and he’s taking the boys along for the ride. Problem is, it looks like none of his gang is willing or perhaps even capable to tell him no. As in, “Adam, love you man, but playing your own twin sister – just, no.” I have nightmares about a movie I’ve never seen. And I will NEVER see it.
Sandler is on the same road that other great comics have traveled, former mega-stars like Eddie Murphy and Jim Carrey. Oh, sorry, you actually liked Pluto Nash and Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Like Sandler, they lost their touch too. Of course I’m not in their inner circle (I’d like that, though, there’s probably some leftover Cristal from 1990).
So finally, here’s the point. Successful people don’t surround themselves with yes men; they gather teams with differing viewpoints, people who have the courage to say, “Seriously, man. You cannot play your own sister.” And to come back around to politics, why would you vote for someone who obviously doesn’t listen to differing opinions, someone who brooks no dissent in his own camp? Lincoln’s cabinet was famous, perhaps infamous, for the battle of wills and ideas. And Lincoln actively encouraged this; he wanted to hear all the possible sides of every argument, so he could make the best decisions possible. I believe that’s a problem a lot of today’s candidates have, and the problem Mr. Sandler has as well.
I may be in the minority, but I’m holding out hope for the next Happy Madison project: Adam Sandler as “Abraham and Mary Todd”.