Saturday, May 28, 2016


Directed By: Tamra Davis 
Written By: Adam Sandler & Tim Herlihy 
Cinematography By: Victor Hammer 
Editor: John Gilroy & Jeffrey Wolf 

Cast: Adam Sandler, Bridgette Wilson, Darren McGavin, Bradley Whitford, Larry Hankin, Norm MacDonald, Josh Mostel, Robert Smigel

Billy Madison is a 27 year-old man whose father Brian is the head of a major hotel chain. Even though he is groomed to replace his father who is about to retire, Billy is extremely immature and unmotivated in life. When Brian considers making Eric Gordon (whom Billy despises) his new replacement, Billy decides to prove to his father that he is capable of taking over. He must repeat grade school all over again (2 weeks for each grade) in order to take over the hotel empire. The further Billy progresses, the more Eric tries to derail Billy.

This movie gets downright disgusting a bunch of times.

This film started me off on the wrong foot when it came to Adam Sandler movies. I watched it not InTheaters but as soon as it became available on videocassette and I will admit at the time a deciding factor to watch it was actress Bridgette Wilson. Who I remembered from the film THE LAST ACTION HERO. As this film came out in the 90's we were still close to 80's comedies and I was hoping it would be like one of those sophomoric ones. In humor and content.

I hated this film for the most part, except for some scenes. Though throughout the years. I have taken a liking to it. Probably because it always seemed to be on television or cable and would watch it and be amused more than before. I might not really even still like the film, but I can appreciate it for what it is. As it is easily re-watchable and somewhat quotable. Even if it seems stupid overall.

The film has some really funny scenes, performances. It actually had good gags and ideas. Only they don't come together as cohesive as they should. So they seem more scattershot. Though when you watch his later films they make more sense as they fit in more with his sensibilities, rhythms and world.

As an introduction to his on screen comedy it is strange and to it's own when it comes to humor. Though it is easy to see the appeal, especially for his audience. Who at that point were probably mostly the age of his minor co-stars.

Which is why when people say now he is making children's or family films. I will admit earlier in his career the films were funnier and better structured. Though always seem to aim for the same age group. Unfortunately as Sandler seems to get older he seems to get lazier and seeking to flatter himself on screen. Trying to use the same formula without updating and also losing sight of his audience. Trying to second guess them. While this film doesn't feel like a bunch of loose skits tied together for a thorough storyline. It does feel a bit all over the place. While each character seems a bit off in general.

Tend to find here that most of the supporting or bit characters are more humorous then Adam Sandler's at times. At least here Adam Sandler is trying and putting in effort. Which he currently rarely seems to do anymore. As he seems more assured, formulaic and lazy. At least when it comes to his own product. when working on other's films that passion and willingness seems still there. As at times you can still see glimpses of the old Adam Sandler and his screen presence.

You could call this more the Phase one of his current career.

It now continuously seems like the characters he played in FUNNY PEOPLE is true about him nor as far as the films he makes.

It's a shame as I want to like him and his films. As I was a fan for a bit. But these days he makes it so hard. As he seems to be playing to the cheap seats and children. Sort of like Eddie Murphy syndrome to a degree. Where the actor or comedian can still be funny but chooses to try the very least and then try to influence the next generation. Trying to become more of a movie icon rather then a comedic icon. Though it continuously beings down the quality of his brand.

Which now makes sense as to why Adam Sandler was at Murphy's award dinner. And make a special following a same career goal. As both were superstars of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE during their tenure with the show.

Charles Bronson turned down the role of Billy Madison's father.

During the dodgeball scene Adam Sandler hit the kids with the dodgeball as hard as he possibly could. The editor had to cut away quickly after each hit so that he didn't show the children crying.

It seems like Kevin Smith he seems comfortable only relating or making films for his signature audience. The only problem is like the problem with the former. Of course you are going to have some die hard's who defend you no matter what, but now even your fans are complaining or waiting for that magic to comeback. He even seems to realize it by trying to experiment a little outside of his usual comfort zone with the odd appearance in a drama or even in his formulaic films. He seems to be trying to act more. Even though still looks like his screen wardrobe is the same as his personal home one. As he didn't help himself by admitting on television that he does his films according to destinations he can holiday on during productions.

I know i seem to be one of the few CINEFILES. Who is a fan or at least tolerates most of his films. This film seems to be the place to start.

Grade: C-

1 comment:

  1. Billy Madison is not great cinema, but as a silly Adam Sandler comedy it's pretty good. A high concept ridiculous idea played broadly and just for laughs, but just slightly self-aware enough to not seem like a cash grab. It was also playing to younger Sandler's strengths at the time: silly voices and mock-idiocy. At his present age, that schtick doesn't work anymore. But Billy Madison is fun. Happy Gilmore is better at the same idea, and Wedding Singer is a better movie than both, but I still enjoy Billy Madison.

    If nothing else, it has now blessed (cursed?) us with the meme of the "I award you no points" speech. It's a solid "watch this on cable if you're bored Saturday afternoon" movie.

    Fun story. I work in a library, and a few years ago a woman came into the children's room looking for The Puppy Who Lost His Way. I had to tell her it doesn't exist and was just made up for the movie.