Thanks to Adam Sandler, some of Hollywood’s most jaded moviegoers have spent the last 20 years saying that “It’s gotta be me!” When said “it” was the equally lengthy 90s genre dominated by Happy Gilmore, Little Nicky, Stripes, and Air Bud, only the bubbliest of film enthusiasts were prepared to take them on.
But Sandler, who made his mark in theaters as an arch-villain in Big Daddy, had already earned himself cult status among the most open-minded of film-goers who loved his jokes just because they were shitty. Now, if anything, we’ve seen more and more nostalgia films trying to fulfill the expectations of a more “gritty” age — and failure at that task. It’s a trend that, in the last 10 years, has led to films like A Simple Plan, No Reservations, and the awful Holiday.
Under the reign of Sandler’s films, Hollywood began to look more towards irreverent, green-screened screwball comedies starring ne’er-do-wells in shaggy wigs. Oddly enough, nothing quite worked, like Drag Me to Hell and Zoolander. The yellow light bulb seemed to go out after Jack and Jill, then after The Waterboy, too.
And so, the painfully unfunny Christmastime movies have remained. The most interesting of them all — unless you are, say, Kevin Costner — are Die Hard, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and Die Hard with a Vengeance. There have been sequels and other remakes; none have come close to doing justice to the films that made them.
On the other hand, Sandler has been a progressive in one (small) way: The numbers for The Meyerowitz Stories, released in September, suggest that, at this point, Sandler is the only one willing to write and direct his own films.
Click through the slideshow to see some of Hollywood’s worst attempts at a holiday classic.
PHOTO GALLERY What we missed while we were busy watching Die Hard