Whether it’s positive or negative, you probably have a pretty strong opinion on Adam Sandler. When he’s good, he’s really good, but when he is awful, oh man, is he ever awful. Sadly for Sandler, it is clear, at least as far as critics are concerned, that he definitely has fallen more into the latter category as his career goes on. In fact, he may be the only actor who has a Worst Actor, and Worst Actress award to his name.
There is absolutely no denying that Sandler brings in some serious dough at the box office, and with his new deal with Netflix, you can expect to be seeing a lot more of him in the near future. And if you hate him, well, at least by the end of this list you’ll learn what to avoid, or maybe even gain some respect for him.
Below is 15 things you’ll find out about Adam Sandler that may blow you away. Do you love him in Billy Madison? Get ready to laugh when you learn about an on-set story involving the dodgeball scene. Love him from his SNL days? Not only will you find out that he got fired, but why. You only liked him in Wedding Singer and Waterboy? Find out what those two movies allowed him to finance. Love another one of his movies? Let’s hope it’s not the movie that as you’re going to find out, was totally taken from two different television shows.
Sandler also has an incredibly famous roommate who he’s collaborated with on several occasions, including one opportunity that kept him from appearing in a Quentin Tarantino movie (imagine how that would have altered your perception of Sandler!).
You may also think he’s always working with his same usual buddies (most prominently, Rob Schneider, Chris Rock, Kevin James and David Spade) but when you find out what gift he gave to his Grown Ups cast, you’d want to keep working with him too. And if you really hate his movies, well you’ll even find out just how bad they truly are.
Love him or hate him, there may not be an actor out there who has lived a more interesting life than Adam Sandler.
15. He Really Hurt Kids In Billy Madison
One of Sandler’s funniest films is the 1995 movie, Billy Madison. In the movie, Sandler is forced to go back and re-attend grades 1-12 in order to prove to his father that he deserves to inherit his hotel empire. One of the best scenes in the movie comes when Sandler is playing dodgeball against the kids, and you can clearly tell Sandler is getting into it. Just how into it? Well, let’s just say Sandler was holding nothing back. Director Tamra Davis was asked in an interview if she had any memorable Sandler stories, leading her to say,
“Adam calls me on the phone and says, ‘Tamra, you know, tomorrow we’re going to do this dodgeball scene. I really want to hit these kids.’ I’m like, ‘Adam, you can’t just hit these kids. They’re children.’ He said, ‘No, no, no. Line them up, and ask who would be okay getting hit. Make sure you get the parents to say yes, and I’m really going to hit them hard.’ I was like, ‘You’re crazy.’
And he’s like, ‘No, hurting kids is funny. It’s going to be really funny.’ And that’s what he did—he really hit those kids as hard as he could…I cut right before you see the kids just fully start crying.”
14. Why He’s Doing Netflix Movies
If you were tired of seeing Adam Sandler in the movie theater, then perhaps you’re quite glad that it was announced back in 2014 that Sandler had signed up to release 4 movies through Netflix. Two of them, The Do-Over and Ridiculous 6, have made their way to the streaming service. While neither did great with critics, Ridiculous 6 quickly became Netflix’s most-watched movie of all time.
In classic Sandler fashion, when he was asked as to why he signed with Netflix, he had a joke as a reply, saying “When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only. Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks, Let the streaming begin!!!!”
The chief content officer, Ted Sarandos (imagine that job!) was a little more clear with his answer, saying they picked Sandler because “People love Adam’s films on Netflix and often watch them again and again. His appeal spans across viewers of all ages, everybody has a favourite movie, everyone has a favourite line – not just in the US but all over the world.”
13. He Was Fired From Saturday Night Live
When Conan O’Brien was fired from NBC in 2010, towards the end of his run he still had a few shows to put on before getting the official boot. One of the guests he had on the show was Adam Sandler, who admitted to Conan that he too was fired from NBC back in 1995. Sandler and Chris Farley were both booted from the highly successful Saturday Night Live. While the reasons were not completely clear, it is rumored that Farley and Sandler were fired for making late-night prank phone calls from the SNL Offices and also for an incident in which Farley (or both of them) mooned people from a limo.
Sandler recalled the day to Conan, saying that his manager came up to him and said that he should start looking for something else to do. Sandler replied that he quite liked working for SNL, but minutes later, Farley ran into Sandler’s office to drop the news.
12. He Was On The Cosby Show
With so many iconic roles, it can sometimes be easy to forget about where stars got their first big breaks. For Sandler, it was the role of Smitty on The Cosby Show that helped make get his name recognized. Granted, he was only in 4 episodes, but anytime you got to share the screen with Bill Cosby (at least Bill Cosby in the late 80s/early 90s) it was definitely going to be nothing but a good thing for your career, especially when you’re only 18 years old (as Sandler was).
In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, Sandler told a story about how Chris Rock was always hanging around the set and one day was doing a bit of stand-up, because the original warm-up comedian for the crowd got sick. Everyone was laughing until Rock said “And what’s with this Bill Cosby? Mushmouth – the most racist character.”
11. The Real Story Behind Punch-Drunk Love
One of Adam Sandler’s most critically successful films, Punch-Drunk Love came out in 2002. While a large majority of Sandler’s films are panned by critics, PDL actually has a RottenTomatoes score of 79%.
This led esteemed movie critic Roger Ebert to say, “Sandler, liberated from the constraints of formula, reveals unexpected depths as an actor. Watching this film, you can imagine him in Dennis Hopper roles. He has darkness, obsession, and power. He can’t go on making those moronic comedies forever, can he?” It turns out, he can!
In the movie, Sandler’s character has a plan to exploit a loophole in a Healthy Choice promotion and amass a million frequent flyer miles by buying large amounts of pudding (which had UPC’s that could be traded in).
It seemed like an outside-the-box subplot, which makes it all the more amazing that it was based off a real man! David Phillips literally did this exact thing and in 1999, redeemed thousands of pudding cups for a grand total of 1.253 million frequent flyer miles.
When he was amassing such large quantities of pudding, he told local shopkeepers that he was trying to stock up for Y2K. Because Phillips was buying pudding in such large amounts, he required the help of the local Salvation Army to peel off the UPC’s. As a result, Phillips donated the pudding.
10. Neil Diamond Has Recorded “The Chanukah Song”
You don’t think we’d really be able to finish a list on Adam Sandler and not talk about “The Chanukah Song” did you? Sandler made his big break on Saturday Night Live, but his career wouldn’t have taken off the way it did if not for Sandler’s ability to be hilarious through song. His talents led to him creating The Chanukah Song which he first performed on the Weekend Update on December 3rd, 1994. The song was aimed at all the Jewish children who feel alienated at Christmas. It includes Sandler referencing various Jewish celebrities (some real, some fictional).
Sandler performed two more renditions of the song on his next two comedy albums. It then made an appearance in Eight Crazy Nights, and last but not least, Sandler performed the song at a “Live Judd Apatow & Friends” event back in 2015 (which is where the above photo is from).
The song was also parodied on The Office by Steve Carell and last but not least, none other than Neil Diamond put his own spin on the song for his Christmas album, A Cherry Cherry Christmas. When asked why he put it on his album, Diamond said “There are so many beautiful Christmas songs around and so few Hanukkah songs.”
9. 3 Movies That Would Have Changed Your View On Him
If you’re going to be an actor in Hollywood, there are always going to be roles that you get offered or audition for that ultimately don’t work out. For Sandler, there is no shortage of moments like this, but we’re going to hone in on 3 examples that would have drastically changed how you view him. The first is the fact that Sandler was nearly cast as the lead in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which ended up going to Johnny Depp. Now to be fair, the movie did involve Tim Burton, so Sandler would have had to blow Burton away to overlap his golden boy.
Sandler also could have taken on a much more serious (albeit nervous) role in Collateral, in which he was rumored to play the character of Max, which ended up going to Jamie Foxx. Had Sandler gotten the role, he would have been driving a very pissed off Tom Cruise in his cab.
Last, but not least, Sandler was not only considered, he was the lead option for the character of Sgt. Donny Donowitz (better known as the Bear Jew) in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. There is no doubting that Sandler had that Jew element down, but he unfortunately, had to turn down the role (which went to Eli Roth) because he was currently working on Funny People with Judd Apatow.
8. The Success Of Waterboy and The Wedding Singer
There are definitely a lot of people out there that are really sick of seeing Adam Sandler in movies. Given that Sandler has had his own production company, Happy Madison, since 1999 you can understand why you’ve been forced to constantly see his face. As of now, the company has produced 39 movies. The most recent of which was The Ridiculous 6 and The Do-Over, both of which became Netflix original movies.
However, none of this would have happened if Sandler did not hit it big with The Wedding Singer and Waterboy. Both films came out in 1998 and brought in over $100 million at the box office.
The Wedding Singer hit theaters in February and also starred Drew Barrymore. The film brought in $123.3 million and only had a budget in $18 million. The Waterboy was released in November and brought in $186 million with a budget of only $23 million.
7. He Was Roommates With Judd Apatow
Whether or not you think they’re funny, Apatow and Sandler are definitely two of the most recognizable names in comedy. Which is why perhaps you may not be surprised to know that the two were roommates long before they ever got famous. Apatow moved in with Sandler, who he had met while doing Improv comedy.
The two have obviously kept a close working relationship and Apatow did two uncredited rewrites of The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore which were instrumental in Sandler’s career. Apatow also appeared on Sandler’s 1996 comedy album, What The Hell Happened To Me.
I am sure unfortunately, Apatow co-wrote the god-awful You Don’t Mess With the Zohan, and also wrote and directed Funny People which starred Sandler and Seth Rogen.
6. He Won A Worst Actor…And Actress Award
If we’re being completely honest, Adam Sandler has done a lot of bad movies, I mean a lot. One of his worst by far has to be the 2011 train wreck Jack and Jill. In the movie, Sandler stars as fraternal twins Jack and Jill Sadelstein. Don’t ask me how, but they also convinced Al Pacino to be involved in the project.
In case you’re unaware, every year there are The Razzie Awards, and they essentially work as the opposite of the Academy Awards. Not only did Jack and Jill take home 10 Razzie Awards (an impressive level of incompetence), two of them were a Worst Actor and Worst Actress Award for Sandler. I guess when you take the chance to gender bend, that’s the risk you run! In a perhaps not so shocking fact, the 10 awards were the most that a single film has ever received at the Razzie awards.
5. He Bought His Co-Stars Maseratis
When you have a net worth of $300 million, you can definitely afford to do some pretty awesome things to reward your friends and co-stars. Considering Sandler has worked with Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider for years, you can understand that they are all pretty tight. Sandler took that friendship to a whole new level when he decided to buy his Grown Ups co-stars brand new Maseratis. The cars at the time were all worth at least $200,000 each, and you can imagine Sandler spared no expenses in getting them blinged out.
When talking about the experience on Howard Stern, Chris Rock said “I went outside the other day and I had a new Maserati in the driveway, now I think that I’m Adam Sandler’s bi*tch.” Well, he might not be completely wrong about that! You can imagine his friends made sure not to skimp on Sandler’s next birthday gift.
4. His Comedy Albums Have Gone Double-Platinum
Above you read about Sandler’s ridiculous net worth of $300 million, but a huge reason behind this was the success of the 5 comedy albums that he has released. Sandler’s first two, They’re All Going to Laugh At You (1993) and What the Hell Happened To Me? (1996) were both certified double platinum (selling two million copies each). His following two, What’s Your Name? and Stan and Judy’s Kid both went gold (500,000 copies) but sadly his last album Shh…Don’t Tell came out in 2004 and did not find much commercial success.
Sandler has always been a fan of stand-up comedy and he was 17 years old when he first performed in a comedy club. It was there that he was recognized by comedian Dennis Miller who recommended Sandler to Lorne Michaels who was a producer of Saturday Night Live.
3. 3 Movies Hit 0% On RottenTomatoes
We’ve hinted throughout this list that Sandler’s movies do not always do well with critics, but do you know just how bad? Of the 39 movies that Happy Madison has put out, there are only two that have a positive ‘RottenTomatoes’ score (which is made-up based on critical reception). Those two are Reign Over Me, which came out in 2007 and is at 64% and Funny People which came out in 2009 and is sitting at 68%.
Sandler has also had three movies hit 0% on the site (yes, literally not one critic liked them), Ridiculous 6 (2015), Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star (2011) and Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser (2015). Lack of critical love definitely does not hurt Sandler at the box office, as Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 combined for roughly $517 million at the box office, but they only scored 10% and 7% on the site.
2. What He Has Coming Out Next
Whether you love or hate Adam Sandler, it’s never a bad thing to be aware as to what is next on his radar. If you hate him, at least you know what to avoid, and if you love him, well hey, maybe it’s something new to get excited for!
Sandler is no stranger to sequels, and he proves that yet again with Hotel Transylvania 3 which is scheduled to come out in 2018. Sandler is the lead vampire in the series that also stars Selena Gomez and Andy Samberg. Hard to argue with them making a 3rd one when you consider the 2nd one brought in $473 million at the box office on a budget of only $80 million.
Prior to that, you’ll be able to see him working alongside Ben Stiller in the comedy Yeh Din Ka Kissa. While not much is known, the plot is centered around an estranged family gathering together to celebrate their father’s artistic works.
Last but not least, Sandler is also working on Sandy Wexler in which he plays a talent manager in the 1990s. The movie will star his long-term co-stars, Kevin James and Rob Schneider, as well as Terry Crews.
1. Click Was Far From An Original Idea
One of the more dramatic roles that Adam Sandler took on was in the 2006 film Click. In the movie, Sandler gets a universal remote that allows him to fast-forward through time. If you were watching television in 1997, you may remember an episode of Goosebumps, called Click, in which a child is given a universal remote and is able to pause time, fast forward through time and even change the color of his fish. Coincidence? Maybe! But the same name is definitely spooky.
The concept can actually be traced back even further to an episode of The Twilight Zone, entitled A Kind of Stopwatch. The episode aired in 1963 and featured a man being given a stopwatch that allows him to stop time (but only he is aware of this). The man decides to try and rob a bank, but drops the watch and it breaks, permanently leaving time frozen for him.
The Twilight Zone episode was more humorously adapted by The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror XIV, that feature Bart and Milhouse buying a similar stopwatch (but using it for pranks, not robbing a bank!).