There are times when it’s proven that critics don’t always know what they’re saying or just don’t have their finger on the pulse of the movie industry as much as they might say they do. 2 billion hours worth of viewing time on Netflix kind of places Adam Sandler in the role of king at this point since as Kevin Burwick of MovieWeb points out people have been watching Sandler repeatedly since The Ridiculous 6 came out, and despite how insanely dumb that particular movie really was, he’s had a few hits since then. The fun thing about Sandler is that throughout the years he’s been regarded as something of a man-child that never appeared to want to grow up. The thing about now though, and for several years in fact, he’s been cranking out movies that show the exact opposite. Granted, The Ridiculous 6, The Do-Over, and a couple of others have shown that he’s still capable of making movies that are more than a little ridiculous and also show that he’s fully ready to go back into man-child mode, but several others have allowed him to show that he’s fully ready to take on the responsibility of being a serious actor. Uncut Gems was one of those movies and the Oscar snub is something that might be remembered well into next Oscar season since the idea that he hasn’t made enough serious movies is kind of hard to stomach.
Considering how Adam Sandler started out on SNL and then in movies that really didn’t make much sense he’s come a long way since if anyone remembers, the difference between a movie such as Billy Madison and Reign Over Me is like trying to measure the width of the grand canyon with a measuring tape. The guy has done a lot since his earliest, goofiest days when he cut his own albums and pretended to be an excited southerner or various people taking a horrific beating. Those kind of performances, such as a drunk rich kid that chased imaginary penguins, were what brought him to the show since they were outrageous and were perfectly timed in an era when the insane and over the top kind of performances were well received and desired by the audience. Nowadays if he was still practicing the same act it’s likely that people would be turning away from him in droves since as an older man the act isn’t quite as endearing. But he’s grown quite a bit throughout the years and it’s pretty obvious to see in his movies. Chris Barsotti of Journal Review has more to offer on this opinion.
Starting with Billy Madison it’s obvious to see how he was relying on sick, twisted humor and the idea that he could parade around like a drunken idiot or just a bumbler and get plenty of laughs. When Happy Gilmore came out he was at his comical peak it would appear since this is a movie that people still talk about as one of his absolute best if only because it’s goofy without apology and creates a parody of a sport that despite being popular is, to many people, somewhat dry. From there however things really started going downhill until they plateaued for a while, before sinking even further. 50 First Dates is movie that invites divided opinions since it wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t his best. Jack and Jill was absolutely horrible as many people would agree. Grown Ups wasn’t too bad, but the sequel still felt as though it was lacking something. His work on Netflix has been up and down when it comes to the critics and the fans since The Ridiculous 6 angered a lot of people when it came out, while Sandy Wexler was just kind of confusing. The Cobbler went by without a lot of notice or criticism, largely because it was a there and gone kind of movie. But now that we’ve come to Uncut Gems it’s kind of obvious that Sandler has grown and matured quite a bit in his career, and it might be time to finally acknowledge as much.
In a way, not getting an Oscar nomination is a good thing for Sandler since in this era it shows that he has a lot more integrity than some of those whose names were called and a lot better chance of staying atop the fans’ lists when it comes to who’s weathering his career in a very profound and innovative way. Of course the consensus is likely to be that those who win the Oscar are the best because the Academy deems it to be so, but in truth the fans tend to know a little better sometimes since they’re the ones paying, the ones watching, and the ones that can help a movie to thrive or kill it by refusing to pay for it. Zack Sharf of IndieWire has his own opinion on this subject. The sad part is that a lot of the fans are so easily entertained that the bar dropped to ground level and below quite some time ago, even if Sandler puts in an Oscar-worthy performance it’s not saying much since these days all one has to do is show up it would appear.
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