Adam Sandler is not exactly synonymous with the Academy Awards. With that said, we’re also mildly aware that the actor is capable of more than just Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy. The case can be argued with films such as 2007’s Reign Over Me and 2002’s Punch-Drunk Love. However, we haven’t seen much of that skill from Sandler in the most recent years; it makes one incredulous that it’s still possible. Director Noah Baumbach begs to differ and actually moves to appeal to our inhibitions by giving Sandler probably the best role of his serious acting career.
The Meyerowitz Stories is not exactly an indie. You’ve got big time names such as Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson mixed in with other big time names such as Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, and Elizabeth Marvel. But this movie gives off such an original and attractive non-blockbuster feel that we’re immediately drawn to the picture right away. We know what Baumbach movies are like. They’re nuanced. They’re slightly sneaky. They poke into the deepest parts of your emotions you didn’t even know existed. They almost make you feel too human. We thought we knew what to expect with The Meyerowitz, but much like with the other films from the talented director, we were wrong.
It’s always more than what it seems, and the same can be said for Sandler’s performance in the film as one of the Meyerowitz kids. They’re all somehow messed up as adults, but Sandler’s character Danny is particularly going through his worst. Unemployment, divorce, and teenage daughter–you can name just what typical issues adulthood may bring and Danny is probably going through them all. Sandler’s performance is deeply troubling, as it is completely believable. We can take the guy seriously, and he tells us this through his role. Of course, it’s probably easier to do with an ensemble of equally impressive actors that probably also gave their all in this film. Hoffman’s role as the father of the tribe is perfectly cast and is possibly one of his best. The same goes for Stiller, whose recent collaboration with Baumbach in Greenberg gave us a completely unknown side of the actor. Baumbach knows how to do that. He knows which angles we’ve never seen before, and for once, we see these seasoned actors in a completely new way as if we’ve never seen them, not once before.
Sure, there are talks of Sandler and the likelihood of an Oscar nomination. It’s a performance worthy of accolades, for sure, but Sandler’s success has already been accorded by everyone who will watch the film and by those who have already seen it either through Netflix or in the theaters. We all recognize the skill, the hard work, and the talent there. We all felt it; we’ll all feel it soon enough. And that’s recognition beyond a little golden statue that might afford him a speech on stage. Sure, an Oscar will give Sandler the recognition only professionals can, and if it does come, kudos. But despite of the many ridiculous comedies that we just love to hate sometimes but still laugh at, we already know that Sandler’s one of the best and the only one of his kind in the industry.