One of the running gimmicks of last night’s Oscars was talking-head interviews with a bunch of actors getting really earnest about the magic of the movies and stuff. It bordered on the self-serious (Steve Carell: “What makes a person laugh? What makes a person cry? What makes a person feel anything?”), but for the most part was a nice way for actors to geek out over other actors: Reese Witherspoon sang the praises of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in Overboard, Gabourey Sidibe got real about Daniel Day-Lewis as “a freaking alcoholic with one foot.” And then there was Adam Sandler. When it came time for him to speak, he did not say, “I like making movies because I get to hang out with my friends, make a lot of money, and make dick jokes.” He said this: “I’m eventually trying to, one day, tell the truth. I don’t know if I’m ever going to get there, but I’m slowly letting pieces of myself out there and then maybe by the time I’m 85, I’ll look back and say, ‘All right, that about sums it up.’”
A controversial comment in any given week, to be sure. But this week — in which Sandler has been nominated for a record 11 Razzies thanks to his many 2011 crimes against cinema — it’s particularly explosive. (So unexpected was his record-shattering effort that our esteemed RazzieWatcher fainted dead away, hit his head on his novelty World’s Greatest Writer Golden Raspberry statuette, and is currently recovering to a self-curated All About Steve film festival.) Sandler’s haul includes Worst Screen Couple (twice), Worst Screenplay (twice), two Worst Picture nominees (Jack and Jill and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star), and, amazingly, nominations for both Worst Actor (Jack) and Worst Actress (Jill). And is there any sane man or woman alive out there that has sat through these atrocities and can muster enough courage and determination to dispute these brazen charges? Well, dammit, is there?! [Crickets.]
So: Is Adam Sandler totally out of his mind, or what? First, let’s acknowledge that he might just be talking about his serious movies: the excellent, searing Punch-Drunk Love; the problematic but of-value Funny People; the 9/11-y Reign Over Me. Of the three, Funny People seems to address most what Sandler was talking about: His character there is more or less an alternative reality of the kind of rich, sheltered movie-star jerk that Adam could have ended up as. OK, and in his crass, intermittently hilarious mainstream comedies — um … OK … one … one second. What about … what about that scene in Big Daddy where he teaches the kid how to eat a pizza slice by folding it in half? That’s probably something Adam Sandler does in real life, too, right? There’s some truth for you!