Man at His Best

6 Adam Sandler Movies That Were Actually Really Good

Grown Ups ​​is not one of them​. ​Neither is Jack and Jill.

BY Editors | Jul 1, 2016 | Film & TV

Flickr

Adam Sandler has been nominated for a ginormous 22 Razzie awards, the Anti-Oscars that celebrate the absolute worst in film. He's really stepped up a gear recently, too, securing nominations for five years running. Hey, he's nothing if not consistent.

But Adam Sandler isn't actually horrible in everything. In fact he's made some good movies. Six of them! And in fact, given that his next project Yeh Din Ka Kissa is to be made by indie director Noah Baumbach, who made The Squid and the Whale, Greenberg and Frances Ha, there's every chance he'll nail a seventh. That's more than Steven Seagal and Dolph Lundgren combined!

Come with us as we lead you through the times when he was good, and so was the film.

1. PUNCH-DRUNK LOVE

In a bizarre and brilliant piece of casting, genius auteur Paul Thomas Anderson put Sandler as the lead in his unconventional romance. Of course it was unconventional—this is the director who made Boogie Nights and Magnolia, and went on to do There Will Be Blood and Inherent Vice. Punch-Drunk Love is an odd, angry, sweet and sad romance about a lonely, frustrated man (Sandler) who begins to find peace and meaning through his relationship with Emily Watson, a colleague of his sister. A precursor to Sideways and The Silver Linings Playbook, it's a movie about dysfunction and redemption. Sandler was nominated for a Golden Globe for the role and Anderson won the Best Director award at Cannes.

2. FUNNY PEOPLE

It's a bit too long but Judd Apatow's grown-up dramedy about a comedian who discovers he has cancer is perfect for Sandler. He's droll, depressed, selfish, raw and funny as the former stand-up mentoring Seth Rogen's up-and-comer and dealing with his own mortality. Apatow used to live with Sandler and cast him after watching his dramatic performance in so-so 9/11 movie Reign Over Me (which doesn't make this list for being schmaltzy and uneven). He's good. He's got nuance. 

3. THE WEDDING SINGER

Despite its vague obsession with getting married, Sandler and Drew Barrymore's '80s-set romcom is actually very sweet. Sandler plays Adam Hart, a wedding singer jilted by his flighty girlfriend, who then falls in love with a waitress who happens to be engaged to a douchebag. The music is great (Sandler sings), the supporting cast are sweet, the hair is big and Billy Idol has a cameo. Works!

4. 50 FIRST DATES

On the strength of The Wedding Singer, Sandler re-teamed with Barrymore for this slightly odd romance about a girl with anterograde amnesia who wakes up every morning with no recollection of the past year. Sandler is the marine vet who falls in love with her and has to start their relationship from scratch every day. Rob Schneider is in it, while Sandler has a pet penguin and is friends with a walrus. It shouldn't really work but somehow it manages to take a potentially harrowing impairment and turn it into a likeable romcom. Sandler's third collaboration with Barrymore, however—Blended—did not recreate the magic. At all. 

5. HAPPY GILMORE

The first of Adam Sandler's collaborations of diminishing returns with director Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy, You Don't Mess with the Zohan, Jack and Jill, Grown Ups - *shudder*), Happy Gilmore is actually quite entertaining. Sandler plays an angry ice-hockey obsessive with a mean slapshot and a hot temper who can't skate well enough to make the team, so instead embarks on a golfing career despite not having the right temperament. Angry Adam isn't massively loveable but his fight with The Price Is Right's Bob Barker is at least funny. Sandler still got a razzie nom for Worst Actor for the film. But at least he didn't win.

6. AIRHEADS

The last film, apart from Steve Martin misfire Mixed Nuts, before Sandler claimed lead-role status, Airheads sees him as the drummer in none-too-bright rock band The Lone Rangers, who hijack a radio station to get their tape played, but end up siding with the staff against their douchey boss. Brendan Fraser is the lead singer—remember when Brendan Fraser was a thing?—and Steve Buscemi the bassist. Man, was he ever an actor who was born to play a bassist. Sandler is actually charming. He charms.

From: Esquire US