Today Netflix announced a deal with Adam Sandler to produce four original films for the service. It’s an unprecedented and unexpected deal that will align a maverick digital streamer and content producer with a critically reviled movie star with waning box office credibility. It has not been met with applause.
Here’s the thing, though, maybe Sandler’s four movies won’t suck. Based on his recent track record, they probably will, but it’s not guaranteed and the uniqueness of the way that Netflix goes about their business may allow Adam Sandler: “Serious actor” to finally merge with Adam Sandler: “Filmmaker”.
With Netflix, there will be no weekend box office chase and there won’t likely be any publicly view-able viewership numbers either. Adam Sandler can fail with Netflix, but we may never know. As for public perception: the critics will matter to some, but the audience’s apprehension will surely be lessened since they won’t have to pay extra to sample one of Sandler’s films and the experience will be easily aborted with the press of a button.
Meanwhile, Sandler will either put out the same dreck that he’s been releasing like Blended, elevate his game, or go further downhill.
There are people who think that Sandler doesn’t care or that he doesn’t try, and maybe they see this as a retirement plan for the actor, but I think it’s important to note that Sandler does try. Grown Ups is elementary, but it still strives to say something about getting old and trying to recapture ones youth. Click is sophomoric at times, but there’s a valuable message about having ones priorities in order and refusing to let ones life pass them by. In that the film came out eight years ago, before the social media and smartphone boom, it might actually be worth revisiting in this era of ample distraction.
In Sandler’s new film (as an actor only), Men, Women and Children, it seems like those distractions take center stage and it’s another chance for Sandler to stretch people’s perception of him in a drama. Critics have also raved about his performance in The Cobbler and Sandler has clearly put his back into his work in Funny People, Reign Over Me, Spanglish and Punch-Drunk Love. If Sandler didn’t care, he’d stick with fluff or gravitate towards a shitty sitcom where he could trade on his name and rake in some easy money.
Sandler could have also chugged ahead with the studios as his benefactor since he’s still a bankable name abroad. Though his recent filmography looks abysmal, only That’s My Boy (which had an odd kind of ambition in that it was Sandler’s attempt to go R-rated and vulgar with his current audience) has been a complete failure.
There’s something here. It’s easy to see why Netflix essentially bought Sandler with this deal since they did the same thing when they started creating TV shows with Arrested Development and Kevin Spacey. They want to make a splash and Sandler and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2 are that, but there has to be a reason why Sandler chose this deal beyond mere financial considerations and that gives me hope.
“When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only… Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. Let the streaming begin!!!!” – Adam Sandler, 10/1/2014
Source: The Verge