We’ve been together for a long time now and honestly, we’ve been through a lot. I remember when we first met and you were making me giggle with your funny voices and songs on Saturday Night Live. Sure, there were people that didn’t appreciate your penchant for weird sounds, but I drank in every bit. I knew no SNL before you. You brought me into this world of comedy and got me excited about it. Not only did I watch your seasons, but I searched out the older ones too. I started listening to stand-up albums and finding any comedy videos I could get my hands on. Your album, They’re All Gonna Laugh at You!, was a gift that I listened to religiously. Because of you, laughter became a big part of me.
Our relationship kept getting better from there. When I saw you pop up in Coneheads, I was giddy. I sought out Airheads, just because you were in it. Then came our first real time together: Billy Madison. A film that was all Adam Sandler! You delivered exactly what I hoped for. It was kind of gross, definitely weird, but always funny. Every viewing made me laugh harder than the last until I was doubled over, my sides aching as a gasped for air. My friends and I would quote you endlessly, and to my parents’ chagrin, I got to the point where I could recite the film in its entirety.
Our next few years together were an outright delight. Happy Gilmore carried the torch from where Billy Madison had left off. Then The Wedding Singer showed that you could bring more depth and complexity while not sacrificing any of the humor. I even celebrated The Waterboy. Yeah, it was a step backwards, but I still laughed the whole way through. These were our golden years together and I thought nothing could be better, then you surprised me all over again.
It’s hard for me to communicate just how important Big Daddy was, and is, to me. I vividly remember renting it for a birthday sleepover. I and a dozen other pre-pubescent boys were gathered around a small television on the floor of my parents’ living room. Of course we laughed, like we always did with you, but then near the film’s end, you brought in some genuine emotion. As Sonny watched Julian get taken away in that courtroom, we were dead silent. I looked over and one friend even had tears in his eyes. Uncharacteristically of adolescent boys, we didn’t mock him for feeling something, we accepted it because wordlessly, we were all there as well. As dumb as it may sound, Big Daddy was the first movie to show me just how powerful the medium could be. It was the first film I unabashedly called “my favorite” and it stayed that way for years.
After Big Daddy, you’d think we would be on cloud nine. But strangely, things got a bit cold. Maybe you were distracted setting up Happy Madison Productions or maybe we just had reached our peak. Regardless, we were never the same after that.
As each new film came out, my interest waned. Everything started to feel the same, almost like you had stopped caring. While you would pop up every now and then with something different like Punch Drunk Love or Spanglish (a role for which I still don’t think you get enough praise), the light on our time together was fading. By the time you were doing I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry and You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, I felt like we just didn’t want the same things anymore.
Over the last few years we haven’t talked much. I never caught Blended, actively avoided Jack and Jill, and only saw That’s My Boy when I happened upon it on cable (it did nothing to restore my faith). See, I thought things might change after Funny People. With your Judd Apatow collaboration it was like you were acknowledging the error of your ways and possibly setting out on a new path. Nevertheless, rather than doing something interesting next, you just lazily plopped out Grown Ups.
It could be my own fault. When we started we were both so young. At first, it was like we were growing together, maturing while still holding onto our juvenile roots. But at a certain point, I started moving faster than you. Your films stayed the same while my tastes varied and grew. I need more than silly faces and goofy sounds. I need an engaging story, genuine wit, and something approaching the concept of unique. Unfortunately, it looks like you don’t want to change. In all honesty, it is as if you have actually retreated deeper into yourself, regressing to a maturity level lower than where we began.
I’ve tried to make it work, but at this point, for both of us, I have to leave.
I know that you have a film coming out this weekend and I’m sure it’ll make some money, but I won’t be seeing Pixels. Before you say anything, no, it isn’t because of the bad reviews (you’ve never really gotten too many good ones). It’s because I genuinely don’t think you care whether or not I buy a ticket. The Adam Sandler I knew was someone that had a strong voice and wanted to make people laugh. I don’t think that Adam is around anymore. What was once a passion is now nothing more than a job, an obligation. I can’t care when you don’t.
Nothing can take away from what we had, a random Billy Madison quote is still one of the ways I knew my wife was the one (“he called the shit ‘poop’”), Happy Gilmore will never stop making me laugh, and Big Daddy will always be my first favorite. I just can’t watch you implode any longer.
I love comedy because of you. I love film because of you. I just don’t think you share those loves anymore.