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Entries in adam sandler (3)


In Which We Completely Busted Out Of This Corset

Boys Town


The Ridiculous 6
dir. Frank Coraci
114 minutes

There is a moment in The Ridiculous 6 when you feel like it is 1995. Rob Schneider portrays a Hispanic-American posing as a drug lord at a high stakes poker game also frequented by Wyatt Earp and Mark Twain. A woman appears at the doorway. Her name is Susannah, and cast in the role is Whitney Cummings. Susannah's cleavage overflows from her corset. She identifies the only African-American present, Terry Crews, and beckons him to the bedroom she normally shares with her husband Ezekiel (Jon Lovitz). There she regales him with the kind of sexual debauchery Adam Sandler only experienced in dreams or the mid-1990s.

There are two other women in The Ridiculous 6. One is the young Apache that is Adam Sandler's love interest, Smoking Fox (Julia Jones, 34). The other is a whore.

It seems like it is about time for the angry white man to come in vogue again. This is the role Sandler played so well, when most of comedy consisted of him screaming at women and children about how disappointing he found his life with them. This makes it all the more baffling that he cast himself as White Knife in The Ridiculous 6, who is a sweet-natured Caucasian-American raised by the Apache tribe.

Sandler used to make films about the sheer indignity of being white and having everything you ever wanted handed to you. Then his audience gradually realized this wasn't a satire or joke: this was actually Sandler's view of the world, and after becoming so wealthy from films like Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy, his major day-to-day activities consisted of sitting by a pool, snorting or smoking whatever drugs his friends brought by, and wondering aloud to himself, "I wonder what life would be like if pressing a button on the remote control changed the world!"

Netflix signed Sandler to a multifilm contract after no one was particularly interested in bringing The Ridiculous 6 out in cinemas. The movie is not all bad: at least it does not feature a scene where the protagonist takes some aboriginal plant and hallucinates insights into his present condition. It also explores a fairly novel subject for any genre, which is the discovery of a father by a son who was abandoned by that parent.

Sandler's character speaks in a measured, reasonable tone throughout. He is actually the straight man here, and the comedy comes from the half-brothers he unwittingly rounds up to find his father Frank (Nick Nolte). Taylor Lautner plays a virgin, Terry Crews is a piano player, Luke Wilson is an alcoholic, Schneider has a donkey, and Jorge Garcia is the fat and disgusting brother who is unable to speak English.

About 50 percent of the jokes are of the gross-out variety, including a scene where Steve Buscemi applies creme to a horse's ass and then Taylor Lautner's lips. The remaining 50 percent are not jokes in any real sense, more facial expressions and stunt casting.

How was $60 million spent on this piece of shit? Mostly the wide-ranging cast. Every single role, no matter how small, features some form of stunt casting, as if Sandler's only purpose in life was to provide work for his friends from Saturday Night Live.

I don't know why David Spade was in this movie, except that too many of Sandler's other friends from the period are no longer alive, turning The Ridiculous 6 into a kind of roll call to ensure we know who is still kicking. Norm Macdonald, Will Forte, Nick Swardson, Blake Shelton, Vanilla Ice, John Turturro, Chris Parnell and Chris Kattan also make appearances.

There are no women characters of any of any note here. For Sandler, women are strange, capricious creatures. He has been married to the same woman since 2003, and as such, she has become a part of him. Mr. Sandler met his wife on the set of Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, and she converted to Judaism for him, because why wouldn't she? Jackie Sandler makes an appearance in The Ridiculous 6. She plays (you guessed it) a promiscuous Apache woman.

Upcoming Netflix projects include:

— a biopic of Gloria Steinem where she is played by Ryan Gosling

— a remake of Lost where every character is played by Kate Upton in a different costume

— a comedy series based around Meryl Streep living and whoring out of a dumpster

— a movie about a white guy who was nice to his slaves

— a Gilmore Girls remake where Alexis Bledel still has no taste in men

Netflix has a large new Los Angeles office that is fully supporting these artistic efforts to set women back to the Stone Age. The company seems insistent on the maxim that sexism sells. If the industry at large is increasingly afraid of relegating women to their roles as prostitutes, babymakers and prudes, Netflix is there to pick up the slack.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Silent Night" - Pentatonix (mp3)


In Which Lemmy Is Most Likely God

Trick Question


dir. Michael Lehmann
92 minutes

In the early 1990s, a group of men set out unknowingly, as these feats invariably are unknowable to make the most tumblr-ready film of all time. The result, 1994's Airheads, was received as a disaster, both critically and commercially. It opened in 11th place, grossing less than $2 million. Only in hindsight, as the internet enters its fifth year of nineties revisionism, can the film's accomplishments truly be celebrated.

Airheads stars Brendan Fraser, Steve Buscemi, and Adam Sandler as members of a struggling rock band, the awkwardly named The Lone Rangers ("How can you pluralize The Lone Ranger?"). Adam Sandler's character, Pip, is a hint at his later mastery of the 'grown man talking in baby voice' archetype. Fraser, as a non-time traveler and Buscemi, as a surprisingly svelte non-psycho, play somewhat against type. What the band lacks in talent and cohesive sound they make up for in ambition and fake UZIs.

The plot is as follows: Desperate to get their demo heard by A&R execs and radio disc jockeys, they sneak into a radio station. With much prompting from realistic-looking plastic firearms (which are secretly filled with hot sauce, in lieu of bullets), they force a Hawaiian-shirted on-air personality to play their song. (Notice how bands in movies about bands trying to make it always have one song. See also: That Thing You Do.) But then! A discarded cigarette causes their demo reel to malfunction, and the band decide to hightail it out of the studio.

They have second thoughts about leaving upon realizing that the building has been surrounded by members of Hollywood's Finest. Instead, they head back into the studio, lock the doors, and, this time, really take everyone hostage (the previous interaction had just been one of those quotidian fauxstage situations). Because this whole thing happens on-air, a group of heavy metal aficionados join the police in the parking lot, in an expression of solidarity with the Rangers.

One of the hostages, a mustachioed, pre-Seinfeld fame Michael Richards, reveals that the radio station is about to change formats, from hard rock to adult contemporary. This invokes Stockholm syndrome from the hostages. Eventually, a clever but evil (signifier: he has a goatee) A&R executive negotiates a deal with the band, as do the police. Next comes a minor prison sentence and an At Folsom Prison-esque concert. The film ends with one of those "what happened next" slides that doesn't make sense for a fictional movie to have: "THE LONE RANGERS served three months for kidnapping, theft, and assault with hot pepper sauce. Their album, LIVE IN PRISON, went triple platinum."

In 1994, I was not concerned with things like youth culture and authenticity and how the former views the latter. Consequently, I'm not sure how this movie was perceived by its intended audience. That said, if its box office reception is any indication, it probably wasn't seen as an accurate representation of The Way They Lived Then.

After all, by 1994, heavy metal was completely finished (at least in today's memory of 1994; in reality, metal bands were still going platinum). As a point of reference: grunge hit Reality Bites came out six months before Airheads. The Lone Rangers are, undoubtedly, a metal band. They reference Tommy Lee and places like The Whisky. Yet they wear pieces of flannel (one gets the feeling these were added by a panicked market researcher) and take on an unmistakable slacker vibe. This intergenre awkwardness is perhaps best illuminated by the fact that the soundtrack features 4 Non Blondes covering Van Halen. Thus that the film wasn't successful in 1994 shouldn't be surprising; what is weird is that Airheads isn't particularly popular today.

Readers with even passing familiarity with tumblr know that platform exists almost primarily to blog (and re-blog) an endless cycle of pictures of semi-nude girls, nude girls, stills from old movies, memes, and band photos. Because we're caught in a 90s revival (Read: early 90s revival no one is wearing Miller's Outpost or listening to Backstreet Boys. Yet.), a huge percentage of tumblr's images hail from that time period.

Airheads would seem to be a perfect match. Off the top of my head, here are examples images from the film which, if blogged, would get hundreds of notes: Brendan Fraser's girlfriend in a leopard leotard; Adam Sandler; Brendan Fraser shooting hot sauce from an Uzi into a microwave burrito; Steve Buscemi looking tough; A screen shot of the scene where a metal fan admits "I used to wear corduroys!"; Steve Buscemi's eyes (the internet loves Steve Buscemi); Michael Richards in a fake mustache with subtitles about his hemorrhoids; the band playing in prison uniforms; the list continues but you get the point.

It's a mystery, then, that Airheads isn't omnipresent in the way that pictures of girls who are naked in places where they shouldn't be naked are omnipresent. The best barometer of tumblr success is the existence of a "Fuck Yeah ____" blog; as far as I can tell, there is no Fuck Yeah Airheads. (There are "Fuck Yeah" tumblrs for, among other things, candy, dreadlocks, Fight Club, hot girls, hot boys, Glee, dykes, and Chron's disease.)

There are two possible explanations for this. A: The internet doesn't like Airheads, presumably because it is a bad movie. This is possible, except when has quality control ever stopped the internet from embracing anything? Thus we're left with option B: The internet doesn't really know about Airheads. This seems unlikely (doesn't the internet know about everything?), but a quick survey of my friends on tumblr just confirmed: They're mostly unfamiliar with the Airheads. In which case, if they ever get around to watching it, tumblr is in for a treat.

Hanson O'Haver is the senior contributor to This Recording. He is a writer living in New York. He tumbls here and twitters here. He last wrote in these pages about Lou Reed's album with Metallica. You can find an archive of his writing on This Recording here.

"Degenerated" - The Lone Rangers (mp3)

"Curious George Blues" - Dig (mp3)

"Bastardizing Jellikit" - Primus (mp3)

"I'm the One" - 4 Non Blondes (mp3)



In Which We Ask Whether It's Still Funny

  Funny The Way It Is


When we last left the Judd Apatow-influenced world of adolescent Jewry, Judd was showing the world why a woman had to marry whatever fat slob accidentally ejaculated inside of her. Now he's off to tell us exactly how sorry he is to be Jewish and unhappy in the nine-hour long epic tribute to inventing reasons to hate yourself, Funny People.

The point of the titular joke is that comedians are somehow more tortured than the rest of us. You have to be really sad to write a dick joke, apparently. George Simmons (Adam Sandler) is more upset than usual by the millions he's made off said dick jokes. In the film's first act, the star of Merman and Re-Do finds out he has cancer and loses interest in people, money, and fame.

This plotline would be slightly more successful if going off the rails and acting like you don't care what people think wasn't the central premise of most of Sandler's movies. He always yells at people and acts like a dick. Why do I feel like Judd Apatow never sat through Happy Gilmore?

they would have made a lot more money if they went with this premiseSandler is absolutely terrible here, substituting aging, sickly makeup for actual acting. He's bombed in every dramatic role he's taken: whether it was his stiff, almost comatose run through Punch-Drunk Love, or his weird performance opposite Don Cheadle in the brutally bad Reign Over Me. If you're going to go to the trouble of casting such a limited star, you should promote the movie as a gigglefest instead of a super-emotional learning experience for rich people. In any case, they found out at the box office last weekend that they had made a costly mistake. Which isn't to say Funny People is totally unrewarding. It's actually a very mature and promising film at times.

As the film's major subplot proves, all we really want from Judd is a gigglefest. Ira Wright (Seth Rogen) works at the deli with a member of a Wu-Tang Clan. Most people no longer look down on such work, but Rogen wants to spend hours performing for free at the local comedy club. (In hopes of becoming someone's assistant, presumably.) 

Seth looks a lot less schlumpy than usual, which is fine, but Rogen's comparably limited talents are blown off the screen by Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill, who play his more successful roommates. A movie about comedians shouldn't have an extra need for comic foils, but Jonah and Jason's scenes pop like a Michael Bay action sequence in comparison to the main storyline.

The film struggles through this awkward first act, of George trying to put his affairs in order, and Rogen feeling bad for him, and neither knowing who the straight man is supposed to be. Apatow's a genuinely funny writer, but his command of higher drama is lacking. Watching George bang teenagers and make fun of Andy Dick and Paul Reiser feels like a bunch of deleted DVD scenes strung together. But whatever — I'd watch these DVD extras anyway and it's not like we're waiting for any semblance of plot to unfold.

girls, don't become your momBut then it does unfold, and while I give Funny People credit in that it does come up with a protagonist and antagonist eventually, the conflict that results is so strange that I think most of the theater was simply sticking around for the next Jonah Hill one-liner. Simmons gets cured of his cancer, and newly invigorated, he decides to look up his old flame Audrey (Leslie Mann). They start talking on the phone while her husband is away on business. Pretty soon George and Ira are on the road to San Francisco so they can break up a happy little family.

This is where Funny People stops being harmless and starts getting insulting. Why Judd would write a part like this for his wife is truly beyond me. Leslie Mann's character Laura is a sobbing mess who lives for head and cheats on her husband with her kids mere feet away, justifying it by saying that he got some hjs in a Chinese hj parlor.

Let me clarify this once and for all. A handjob at a massage parlor does not count as cheating, hell you can even get a rusty trombone and it's really not that bad. I can even accept a full happy ending, unless you exchange Christmas cards afterwards. More importantly, is it really likely that the love of George's life is a weepy housewife who craves his attention and resents her husband? A husband who unlike Sandler actually has some semblance of acting ability?

"and then megan fox told me that she doesn't date jews"Without spoiling much, Apatow at least answers that question in an unusual way. There's a scene in the interminable third act that hasn't begun to leave my mind yet, perhaps because it's a moment cinema rarely attempts to capture. Laura, George and Ira are watching Apatow's daughter's performance during the final scene of a middle school production of Cats. The girl sings the song tolerably well. Leslie and Ira are crying, but George only laughs and complains about his agent.

ah yes, the second choice for Norah in 'Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist'Later George's reaction is thrown back in his face, but we actually are witnessing him being honest. Only dimly romantic fools cry at such things, Apatow is saying, and the rest of us just have to be ourselves. When you're actually good at love, you never have to pretend you're in love. If we all cried at the same things, like the beginning of Star Trek or the end of Old Yeller, what a horrible world this would be.

Aside from his penchant for writing mind-bogglingly terrible female characters, Apatow is on very comfortable ground here. He loves boys' clubs, the wriggling nuttiness of male friendship, of male love. These are all ideas that may have not been explored fully in American film. Men do love each other, quite deeply, and the strongest couple in film is Rogen and Simmons: the love of a celebrity for his assistant, and vice versa.

Would I be overjoyed to see the machinations of the tragically rich and luckily poor every week of my life? (Rogen and Sandler's characters, despite millions of dollars of differences in net worth, have the same computer.) No, I would not. I don't care about people who aren't bright enough to look their own good fortune in the eye, and my interest in Jewish adolescence ended with Woody Allen's Anything Else.

But by the end, you do have to see if there's a lesson there, because for all its flaws, Funny People pays attention to how people are, how intolerable they are, how sad and hopeless that sort of life is. "We'll slide down the surface of things," wrote Bret Easton Ellis. Funny People flopped because, thankfully, no one is the middle of our country cares about the complaints of the upper class, but it's easy for a New Yorker like me to identify with existential hopelessness, and outright despair.

We all need someone to envy. It is what drives and motivates most. After two and a half hours with these denizens of Los Angeles, both wealth and fame lose their hold over us. You can't hate these funny people. You just feel sorry for them.

Eleanor Morrow is the senior contributor to This Recording. She tumbls here. She last wrote in these pages about Belle & Sebastian.

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"Simple Life" — The Weepies (mp3)

"Jolene" — The Weepies (mp3)

"Somebody Loved" — The Weepies (mp3)