Opinion Piece – Adam Sandler: An Underrated Gem

Billy - post

As Billy Madison, Sandler was an inspiration for those with learning disabilities

By Eddie on 01/04/2015

When talking about actors and actresses that capture a generation we are constantly referring to the same staples – from Robert DeNiro, Meryl Streep, Jack Nicholson and of more recent times Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and the likes, there’s little variety in the performers we talk about when conversing about greatness and it’s about time we changed our tune.

Some actors strive for greatness and notice – DiCaprio always looking for his next award baiting role, Streep with her ever present tendency to chew a scene to pieces with her hysterics or Tom Hardy signing up for his next excuse to bulk up, other actors however have found a grace and ability to inhabit the everyday characters, they play people who change our lives with none of the showboating attached to their much more respected counterparts, one of these such actors is Adam Sandler.

From the moment Sandler graduated the class of Saturday Night Live and delivered a touching performance as Billy Madison, the movie world knew that a new talent had been born, yet many were too afraid to call it. Sandler’s affecting portrayal of someone suffering a learning disability would unquestionably be an inspiration for real life cases and a leaping stone for Sandler himself to grow into a decade plus hot streak that saw him avoid typecasting and launch into a plethora of challenging and unique roles.

Jack and Jill - middle

A cry for gender equality saw Sandler deliver not one but two acting master classes in Jack and Jill

There was his emotional tribute to parenthood in Big Daddy, musings on the professional golf circuit in Happy Gilmore, tributes to the hardworking singers for hire of America in The Wedding Singer, emotionally charged dramatics of the unsung sporting heroes in the Waterboy, soulful dramatics on true love and the power of the human condition in 50 First Dates and of course many others. The one constant of these classics tales is of course Sandler, a rock like presence of acting grace that would only but grow in the years to come with the politically charged You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, the topical and respectful I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry and perhaps most importantly the touching Jack and Jill, that I’m sure was inspiration for such celebrities as Bruce Jenner.

With a catalogue of films that would surely be the envy of many of his counterparts what is it that stops the industry from acknowledging the talents of such a performer? Is it perhaps the age old problem of jealousy? Is it uncool to give credit to a performer that takes pride in first of all making the audience laugh only to then have them asking the hard questions about life? Maybe it’s the almost ever present presence of his loyal sidekick Rob Schneider that has turned some people away from acknowledging the truth? It really is perhaps Sandler’s equal and fellow actor Jack Nicholson that that sums it all up – “You can’t handle the truth!” but I’m here today to remind all that we can handle it and in many ways must admit that we have for too many years underrated an acting gem.

With the impending release of the genre defining Sci-Fi comedy Pixels only months away we can look inside ourselves and ask why have I been so mean to Mr. Sandler? The man has given us countless movie treats but also his allowed the talents of David Spade and more importantly Kevin James to flourish (what really is a world without Joe Dirt or Paul Blart?) and his produced tales that will live long in the lives of all with such fine examples as Grandma’s Boy and Bucky Larson. An all-round talent that for far too long has suffered the indignity of critical deriding, lets for a moment today consider the true wonders of the actor that is Adam Richard Sandler, if this is not enough, why not find the nearest available copy of Grown Ups and it’s even more amazing sequel for a reminder of the work of a modern day genius.

Adam, your work will not go underappreciated for any longer!

Grown - end

Speaking for a generation of males, Grown Ups is life affirming stuff


21 responses to “Opinion Piece – Adam Sandler: An Underrated Gem

  1. Ha I think he is plenty appreciated with his piles of money. Not a fan myself but clearly many in America are so good for him. He seems like a very nice guy when not driving me crazy in movies. 😉

  2. I appreciate the tribute to Sandler, I think he is somewhat suffered from too much critical deriding. . .but there are some lines in this tribute that make me question whether or not this is an April Fools joke?? lol — “Grown Ups and its even more amazing sequel. . .” — really? I like Sandler a lot, please don’t misunderstand me but there are some things he’s done that kind of are reductive.

  3. I loved his 90’s output and I rate Big Daddy in my all time top 50. I think he’s very underrated as an actor, especially in Reign Over Me and Funny People. Also, Billy Madison is a perfect comedy. Adam is a gem indeed

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