In Defense of... Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler has become one of the go-to names brought up by people who wish to decry the state of modern comedy, but doing so willingly ignores a lot of the actor's good traits. For every dumb bodily function joke in his body of work there's a great cameo or unexpected sight gag that haters often overlook. Here are just 10 reasons why Adam Sandler deserves more of your love. [Warning: some clips contain strong language]

He Loves the Absurd

From the stairway dance in Billy Madison to the inclusion of Abraham Lincoln in Happy Gilmore, Sandler loves throwing loony unexpected bits into his films. While The Wedding Singer tamps down his penchant for the weird in favor of mainstream appeal, Sandler has never truly let this talent go to waste. Even the worst Adam Sandler films have at least one or two good laughs in them.

He Knows How to Put Character Actors to Work

Adam Sandler's filmography offers a ton of great actors cutting loose in ways that are not only unexpected, but kind of steal whole films away from Sandler himself. This is particularly true when they feature Steve Buscemi or John Turturro, but goes all the way back to Happy Gilmore's brilliant use of Richard Kiel and Carl Weathers. You don't watch Adam Sandler movies for Adam Sandler so much as for all the crazy actors with whom he surrounds himself.

He's Not Afraid to Get Dirty

Family movies are fine, but thankfully he gives us hard-hitting R-rated sleazefests every once in a while. His 2012 film That's My Boy, his first rated-R comedy since 2003's Anger Management, featured enough cursing, old-lady sex and incest to fill 10 Lars von Trier films--and this is a later entry in Sandler's career.

He Made Happy Gilmore

While Billy Madison gave Adam Sandler his first hilariously absurd, even surreal leading role of note, it was with Happy Gilmore that Sandler perfected this type of comedy, which he would almost immediately abandon with The Wedding Singer. In any other movie, Ben Stiller's abusive caretaker character would be a highlight. Here, it's just a drop in the ocean.

He's Good to His Friends

Say what you want about Adam Sandler, but he does seem to be a nice guy. Just look at all the movies he put Rob Schneider in, thereby providing the world with just enough Schneider to still think he's funny. If not for Adam Sandler, it's highly unlikely David Spade's name would be on any movie posters ever, much less this summer. Sometimes you don't just get Adam Sandler, you get '90s SNL reunions as well.

He Knows Who He Is

If there's any doubt that Adam Sandler knows what kind of movies he makes for a living, look no further than Judd Apatow's Funny People, in which he plays a thinly disguised version of himself who sold his comedy soul by starring in dumb family movies like MerMan, Astro-Not, My Best Friend Is a Robot and Re-do. The problem with this, however, is it makes his ability to turn in stuff like Jack and Jill even more frustrating.

He Is Prolific

Adam Sandler seems to make at least one film a year. This is a good thing because it means if you dislike one of the films, there's almost always another movie on the way. And with each tame Adam Sandler movie we get, the chances that the next will be one of his weird R-rated entries grows. So just be patient, and eventually you'll get something worth seeing.

He Made Punch-Drunk Love

Paul Thomas Anderson stands as one of this generation's most talented filmmakers. So it must mean something the he built an entire feature film around Adam Sandler's persona, tweaking his character to reveal the violent, raging monster hiding behind all those sweet romantic comedies. It's easily Adam Sandler's greatest film, if his least funny performance.

He Can Act

The guy can do comedy AND drama. Even in his own movies, particularly the almost comedy-free The Longest Yard, Sandler knows how to occupy a character. It's no wonder Paul Thomas Anderson made a whole movie for him and Quentin Tarantino wanted him in Inglourious Basterds. As is often the case with good comedians, there's more to Adam Sandler than meets the eye.

He Ruled Saturday Night Live

Adam Sandler was a Saturday Night Live cast member during one of its better eras, so it's easy for his contributions to get lost amongst so many louder personalities. But if you go back and look at some of those old episodes, you'll be surprised by how great he was, particularly when it came to his Weekend Update characters like Opera Man, Cajun Man and Iraq Pete. He also played himself, either singing or give funny Halloween costume advice.

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