Adam Sandler is one of the most prolific stars in Hollywood. And one of the more versatile. The comedian has transitioned from reliably funny slapstick comedies and romcoms to more complex dramatic work as his cinematic sensibility has matured. Where does his latest release, Hustle, fit within the best Adam Sandler movies? Here are seven of his most popular films and where we think Hustle lands. Let’s start in Adam’s early days and work forward to the present.
“Billy Madison” (1995)
Sandler leapt from Saturday Night Live skits to the silver screen with his first big hit, Billy Madison. The comic plays the spoiled son of a hotel mogul who is reluctant to hand the keys to his empire over to his obnoxious, immature scion. Billy bets his father that he can complete grades 1-12 as a demonstration of his fitness for inheriting the business. Darren McGavin, Bridgette Wilson, and Norm Macdonald add to the comic chaos.
“Happy Gilmore” (1996)
One of the most popular Adam Sandler movies, Happy Gilmore tells the story of an unsuccessful hockey player who switches to golf to take advantage of his stick skills and save his grandmother’s home from foreclosure. Full of funny slapstick moments ranging from dopey sentimentalism to comic fury, this sports-comedy classic has Sandler at his sophomoric best.
“The Wedding Singer” (1998)
In The Wedding Singer, Sandler plays Robbie Hart, a broken-hearted crooner abandoned at the altar by his fiancé. His first onscreen pairing with Drew Barrymore showcases their natural, goofy chemistry. Sandler’s musical gifts are leveraged to the hilt in this movie, too, lifting the film from sappy romcom to memorable addition to the comic’s filmography.
“Punch-Drunk Love” (2002)
Paul Thomas Anderson is arguably the first director who stretched Sandler’s comedic gifts into a more deeply felt dramatic turn. In Punch-Drunk Love, more art house than crowd-pleaser, Sandler plays an eccentric and lovelorn entrepreneur who is coaxed from his lonely life of thinly veiled hostility into a life-affirming romance with charming Emily Watson.
“The Meyerowitz Stories” (2017)
A moving collection of episodic tales, The Meyerowitz Stories brings together the eponymous family in New York for a career retrospective of their father’s sculpture. The terrific ensemble cast including Dustin Hoffman, Ben Stiller, and Emma Thompson in this Noah Baumbach vehicle that weaves a larger meaning from the strands of a family’s quotidian life.
“Uncut Gems” (2019)
Uncut Gems is unquestionably the finest dramatic performance among the other Adam Sandler movies, sans slapstick, as he plays jeweler Howard Ratner in Manhattan’s diamond district. His gambling addiction gets the best of him when he makes a risky bet involving a rare gem. Chaos ensues as Ratner is pursued by loan sharks, beset by troubled relationships, and yearns for one final parlay to solve all his problems. NBA star Kevin Garnett plays himself and the film gets outstanding supporting performances from LaKeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, and Idina Menzel.
Sandler’s latest release delivers one of his most inspiring stories. He plays a washed-up NBA scout traveling the world searching for the next big prospect. He finds him in Spain and struggles to launch the young talent’s career and revitalize his own at the same time. Set in Philadelphia with Rocky-esque themes, Queen Latifah, and a cast of NBA cameos, Hustle is entertaining and compelling viewing.
Decide for yourself where Hustle stands against other beloved Adam Sandler movies. Don’t miss Hustle, available now to Netflix subscribers and accessible to DIRECTV STREAM subscribers with the DIRECTV STREAM Device. And don’t forget—new DIRECTV STREAM customers ordering CHOICE or ULTIMATE Package can get HBO Max, SHOWTIME, STARZ, EPIX, and Cinemax included for the first 3 months!
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