It should hardly come as a surprise that guys like Robert Downey Jr., Will Smith and Tom Cruise are among the highest-paid actors in the world. For his part, Downey Jr. is one of the biggest stars in the biggest movie franchise, while Cruise churns out one blockbuster after another, and the very presence of Smith commands huge box office returns. Predictability aside, there are some surprises on this year’s list of the highest-paid actors in the world.
I’m currently working on an essay that considers Sandler as an artist and filmmaker. I don’t like Pixels (or Grown Ups [or Jack and Jill (or Just Go For It [or The Cobbler])]) but I have liked Adam Sandler movies in the past. My college dorm room VHS collection included Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore, and I was thrilled when he collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson on Punch-Drunk Love. I think You Don’t Mess With the Zohan is an underrated movie (seriously; it’s funny and sweet). Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I think he’s a talented guy with creative days ahead of him.
In the tradition of ScreenCrush series like You Think You Know Movies, You Think You Know TV, and Post Credits comes a brand new YouTube series: Top 5! Each week (or so; look we’re busy guys), ScreenCrush editor and critic Matt Singer will count down a particular topic from the world of movies (and probably write these introductory posts in the third person).
Adam Sandler used to make comedies. Now he makes Adam Sandler movies; bland exercises in nostalgia where he hangs out with his actor buddies, cracks a few jokes, and exerts as little effort as is humanly possible to the sounds of early ’80s rock and pop. Pixels is the latest and canniest Adam Sandler movie yet. It mines his older audience’s affection for the classic arcade games of their youth, and his younger audience’s affection for the ideas of video games coming to life. The famous gaming cameos are sure to make Pixels a huge hit, even though it’s just as unfunny as everything else Sandler produces these days.
Adam Sandler doesn’t do many interviews. He’s completely sworn off print media (“I used to be misquoted all the time”) and appears on-camera only sparingly. I’ve been doing this job for over 14 years, and have never once interviewed the man. He’s traditionally been one of the few actors who didn’t need to talk to the press, and considering his prickly relationship with critics, likely didn’t walk to talk to them either. But, recently in New York, Sandler did agree to an on-camera interview to talk about his latest movie, Pixels, and to address the controversy surrounding his upcoming Netflix movie The Ridiculous Six.
In October of last year, Adam Sandler signed an exclusive deal with Netflix to star in and produce four films for the streaming service. Just a few months later, Sandler found himself embroiled in perhaps the biggest controversy of his career on the set of his first picture under that deal, The Ridiculous Six. Described as a “broad satire of Western movies,” the film’s content insulted a number of Native American actors working on the film, a dozen of whom promptly walked off set, along with the Native cultural advisor for the project. On Saturday, Sandler spoke about the dispute for the first time with us and said he hopes the offended actors will eventually realize that Ridiculous is a “pro-Indian” movie.
After teasing their upcoming original film lineup for some time now, Netflix has finally announced release dates for three major titles: Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, the company’s first original film acquisition for exclusive distribution; Pee-wee’s Big Holiday, which marks Paul Reubens’ big screen return as the beloved, iconic character; and that Adam Sandler comedy western movie that’s been causing quite a fuss.
It’s no secret that Pixels began its life as a short film, a special effects demo that showed off some inventive and amusing imagery that wasn’t required to have things like, you know, a plot or characters. So the feature version of Pixels had to find an excuse for classic arcade characters to invade Earth and that excuse was aliens. Who look like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong for some reason. And whose greatest opponent is Adam Sandler. Okay. The new trailer isn’t going to change your mind if that premise still sounds like nails on a chalkboard.
T-minus one week and counting until the very last Late Show with David Letterman and the tributes are coming faster and faster, and sadder and sadder. I hope on the last installment of Stupid Pet Tricks one of the tricks is a shih tzu shedding a single tear for the end of this venerable late-night franchise, which comes to a close on May 20. It’s only fitting.
Lately there haven't been many video game movies that have been very good. There also haven't been many Adam Sandler movies that have been very good. So, how about this Adam Sandler video game movie?... Wait, where are you going?! Pixels is not your standard Adam Sandler or video game movie and, based on this trailer, you might want to give it a chance.