Adam Sandler vs Halloween

Hubie Hallowe’en is an instant Halloween classic. Regardless of your opinion of Adam Sandler, he understands his audience and creates movies unapologetically tailored for their consumption. His movies receive some of the worst ratings and reviews from both professional and amateur film reviewers. Many argue that he has not kept up with the times, and that his films portray a world of immature, privileged white men, reckless, unable to grow up, who live with a deep sense of abandonment. This underlying theme is prevalent in most of his movies, such as his films Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, Mr. Deeds and Grown-Ups.

In the same way the Rock is celebrated as an “action” star, I find Sandler to be a brilliant and talented auteur. In the 90’s and early 2000’s, Sandler was a major movie star; a writer, producer and actor who churned out hit after hit, like a well-oiled machine.

His romantic films are lighthearted fun. Films like “The Wedding Singer”, “50 First Dates”, and “Just Go With it” ooze the secret “Sandler” sauce. He creates flawed characters who have a deep yearning for companionship, but lack the confidence and assuredness to pursue wholeheartedly. Thus, they self-sabotage. And through love, do they become whole again. A perfect blend to explore within the world Sandler builds.

The few times he moved away from his formula, or “brand”, and worked as a “for hire”actor, Sandler revealed himself to have a keen eye for quality dramatic films. Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish, Funny People, The Meyerwitz Stories and this year’s surprisingly tense thriller Uncut Gems, provide Sandler the opportunity to showcase his grounded performances, antithetical to audience expectations.

Which brings me to “Hubie Halloween”.

After beginning his Netflix stint with a series of stinkers, Sandler has struck gold with this film. Hubie Halloween plays around with genre and tone in a way that is perfectly suited to a year when the traditional pageant of Halloween has been altered at the very least — or at most, completely cancelled — leaving everyone at home seeking guilty pleasures as distraction.

Sandler celebrates the joy and fun of Halloween through his recognizably quirky perspective, producing a film that, despite Sandler’s unshakeable association with slapstick humour, is edge-of-your-seat scary at times. All the while, Sandler’s on-screen presence provides familiar, non-threatening comfort to the viewer. Hubie Halloween follows formulaic classics such as Friday the 13th and Scream, but perfectly sprinkles comedic ingredients that are uniquely “Sandler-esque” on top of the tension and screaming.

Along with an abundance of surprise cameos, Hubie Halloween makes for great popcorn fun.

My only criticism of movie is that, as in Water Boy, Sandler plays social outcasts who are bullied, ridiculed and shunned from society and are only accepted after demonstrating extraordinary feats, ultimately arriving at poorly executed moral lessons. In 2020, such irresponsible representation can make for uncomfortable viewing. This is where Sandler needs to progress and grow up with the times.

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Educator, Youtuber and Writer

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