During the Cold War, the United States and the USSR battled for the future of the world, in part through a massive arms race. In the process, many dictators and tyrants in developing and third world nations were put and kept in power, leading to the oppression of millions worldwide as both superpowers kept spending billions on weapons. Eventually the United States emerged victorious, but billions upon billions of dollars had been wasted and countries from the Middle East to Haiti had been victimized by the global power struggle.
The reason I bring this up is because there appears to be an arms race in Hollywood with many parallels and Adam Sandler appears prepared to destroy anything he can to be the world’s worst movie maker.
I recently saw a preview for Jack and Jill, which is Adam Sandler’s newest movie. Here is the preview:
The preview for this movie seemed like an effort to put Kevin James in his place. For me Kevin James has been the worst star in movies since he emerged (the way Marlon Brando had a small, but powerful group of performances that made him an inspiration to younger actors, Paul Blart is Kevin James’ anti-Godfather). But I feel like Jack and Jill is Adam Sandler’s answer, as if to say, “In case you forgot, I am the king of shitty movies so take this!” Like a rap artist dropping an incredible comeback album full of vengeance and spite, or an athlete taking a challenge seriously and then destroying the competition on the field. Jack and Jill is Adam Sandler’s declaration to the world that screams, “You cannot do shittier movies than me no matter how hard you try! I will take Kevin James and Rob Schneider humor and incorporate Martin Lawrence and Tyler Perry sensibilities into my movies. I dare you to try and beat that!”
And what is great about Jack and Jill is Sandler wanted to do more than destroy Kevin James and America’s sense of humor (the audience is the third world victim in the Sandler-Cold War scenario). He was going to finish off a Hollywood legend. I do not know how he got Al Pacino to agree to this, but now Al Pacino will have the ultimate blemish on his resume (apparently replacing Righteous Kill which sucked something fierce). “Serpico, The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Scent of A Woman, Heat, The Insider and… Jack and Jill.”
Now some people have said to me that Pacino is in cruise control like Robert DeNiro and I disagree. Robert DeNiro has not touched a good movie in 11 years (Meet the Parents). He has debts or dementia, but clearly he has decided that he is never going to make a good movie again. However, Pacino has won an Emmy and been nominated for a Tony in the last couple of years. He certainly has garbage on his resume in the last 10 years, but it is not near DeNiro’s legacy. And for the record someone seriously should have killed them both before they were allowed to make Righteous Kill. But when Sandler had the option of ruining a titan of cinema, he probably thought, “DeNiro is done, but Pacino still seems to have some passion for the craft in him. So let’s rape that to death.”
So this Fall we will get Jack and Jill. The shame of this is that when Sandler was new to movies they were funnier. Then we made him rich and gave him control over his own production company. Now, left to his own devices he has done the act opposite of successful Hollywood players. Usually, actors who become A-listers get passion projects made that normally would be tough to get greenlit. Sandler seems to be an example of a guy who actually benefited from more studio control. He is like a mentally retarded kid with a 100 mph fastball. If the coach is constantly guiding him on where to throw it he can make some decent things happen (Happy Gilmore). However, if the coach leaves him alone he can cause tremendous damage to the fans in the stands (almost every movie he has made in the last decade). Heads up – Jack and Jill is headed straight for your face!