Today marks Adam Sandler’s 55th birthday. And this week, we thought we’d roll out a new feature on the site, where we take a look at 10 of our favorite moments from a certain comedian or actor on TV and in film. And who better to start that off with than with the Sandman?
So let’s take a look back at some of our favorite scenes from Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, Saturday Night Live, and beyond.
Saturday Night Live: Opera Man
Gun to our head, if we could only pick one Adam Sandler character on Saturday Night Live to highlight, it would be Opera Man. The conceit is definitely silly, which is Adam Sandler singing the headlines of the day in questionable Italian/broken English. But the result is always funny and still manages to hold up long after what he’s singing about is obviously old news. And we chose this one due to the Jon Lovitz cameo at the end.
Billy Madison: The Puppy That Lost Its Way
In Sandler’s first starring vehicle in films (we’re ignoring 1989’s Going Overboard), the film’s ending features a Jeopardy-like game where Sandler is asked about the industrial revolution and how it changed society forever. Sandler hilariously reverts back to a story from earlier in the film that has nothing to do with the question whatsoever, The Puppy That Lost Its Way. As funny as the moment is itself, it’s only aided further by the moderator’s deadpan dismissal. “May God have mercy on your soul.”
Happy Gilmore: “The Price is Wrong, Bitch”
This is a scene that is going to follow both Sandler and host of The Price is Right Bob Barker to their graces. In Happy Gilmore, Sandler and Barker team up for a celebrity charity golf tournament. As Sandler’s game being so poor increasingly irritates Barker, they wind up getting into a verbal and then physical fight that ends with a pretty iconic headbutt. In terms of iconic pop culture moments, the price certainly wasn’t wrong, bitch.
The Wedding Singer: Grow Old With You
Not all Adam Sandler moments have to be genuinely funny. In 1998, Sandler managed to show his softer side in The Wedding Singer. In the film’s climax, it showed him getting on a plane to help win over Drew Barrymore, with some help from Billy Idol naturally. The resulting song, Grow Old With You, is a moment that has stuck with us long after the film has come out due to its sweet lyrics. Sandler managed to knock it out of the park and show he is much more than just the guy who gets beat up by Bob Barker.
The Waterboy: Water Sucks
If the other film is what endeared Adam Sandler to audiences, it was The Waterboy that showed the industry that Adam Sandler was here to stay. In one of the film’s best remembered scenes, Sandler’s Bobby Boucher is having a tough time getting angry, until he starts envisioning all the other players talking sh*t about water, by way of Henry Winkler. Good luck getting this out of your head for the rest of the day!
Punch Drunk Love: Phone Call
In his first dramatic performance, Paul Thomas Anderson manages to pull a thrilling performance out of Adam Sandler where his 0 to 60 levels of intensity are used for more than just laughs. Here, we see Sandler calling up a call girl center who has been threatening him, and getting into a heated exchange with their supervisor, played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Seeing these two duke it out like this was worth the price of admission alone!
Anger Management: I Feel Pretty
Nothing calms you down quite like a Stephen Sondheim song. That’s the knowledge that Jack Nicholson tried to give Sandler in 2003’s Anger Management. As Sandler’s character is starting to feel his road rage get to him, Nicholson has him pull to the side of the road and sing the West Side Story classic. And damn if it doesn’t work!
Rein Over Me: Therapy
Here’s a lesser known example of Sandler exploring his raw emotions, but in our opinion, it made for one of his best performances. In Rein Over Me, he plays a painter who lost his family in 9/11 and would rather go through life just pretending it never happened. In this clip, we see Sandler’s character Charlie open up about what happened on that day for the first time. It’s yet another example of just how good Adam Sandler can be when he’s in the zone.
100% Fresh: Phone, Wallet, Keys
When Adam Sandler announced he was returning to stand-up, fans weren’t quite sure how to make of it. By this point, his films were still hits with audiences, but the films were generally considered to be missing something. But I’m his 2018 Netflix special, Sandler proved everyone wrong by providing us with a great special that was a hybrid of jokes and the silly songs that he first became known for. One of the highlights was about the three things one needs in life: their phone, their wallets, and their keys.
Uncut Gems: The Opal
Just how big was the anticipation for Uncut Gems? By May of 2019, word was coming out of Cannes that the film (and Sandler) received an eight minute standing ovation. And seeing as how Cannes is a tough critic, audiences were ready to see what this was all about. Here, Sandler plays Howard Ratner, a Diamond salesman who just can’t stop going big instead of going home. Here, we see Sandler working his magic on Kevin Garnett, and showing off his prized possession: the opal.