I am fascinated by the idea that we have very few real movie stars left. A "movie star" as defined by the great John Nolte, is someone who can draw in an audience to see a movie just on their name. I remember back in the '80's, movie posters would write in huge letters "Schwarzenegger" and then in smaller print, the name of the movie (sometimes not even his own).
Anyway, I think that Adam Sandler is one of the few remaining movie stars. People go to see "Adam Sandler Movies." His movies tend to make money. He has 13 movies that have made over $100 million, and I don't believe it is because they are big budget "event" movies. They are draws because of his name.
And he tends to be resistant to negative criticism. Even the horrible looking Jack and Jill made $75 million domestic. That's My Boy was a bomb, however, due in large part to alienating his broad audience with a vulgar R-Rated film.
But Grown Ups 2 looks poised to be the #1 movie this weekend. So, what Sandler's top 5 best films?
5. Grown Ups
Like its sequel, there is no real plot to speak of here. But it has such a goofy joy about it. You can feel the fun that was has by the cast and crew soak into the screen. Silly and nostalgic
4. Billy Madison
Sandler swung for the fences with his first big staring role. And in some ways, he hasn't been able to get past it. The movie is totally insane, barely holding together with any kind of logic. But he gives you just enough of a plot with constant recurring gags to keep you going. It is also his most eminently quotable film "Chlorophyl? More like Boro-phyl!"
3. Reign Over Me
Adam Sandler can actually act. I know that sounds strange since most of his movies are like extended skits. But his performance in Reign Over Me is fantastic as a man going through post-traumatic stress after the loss of his family.
This was a strange movie for me. It started off like one of his broad, fart-joke comedies. But as it began to unravel, he was actually saying something moving and profound. It is a wonderful critique about modern life and a warning against going on autopilot. Funny and uplifting.
1. The Wedding Singer
This is a magical little movie. He brings his signature strangeness along with his penchant for tapping into nostalgia. But he also pulls you in so that you are completely invested in whether or not Robbie and Julia find love. Think about how heartbreaking and ironic the scene is when he looks at her through the window in her wedding dress! And the movie still holds up.