Monday, December 8, 2014

Overlooked Film of the Week- "Eight Crazy Nights" (2002)

Overlooked Film of the Week- #86
Eight Crazy Nights
We are in the second month of December, and the holiday season is in full swing. I always love a good holiday movie this time of year, and sometimes, I feel like there are some special offerings that get dusted under the rug a little too quickly.
For as much as Adam Sandler likes to make up goofy voices for several of his characters, I was always surprised by how little animated work Adam Sandler has done over his career. It seems like an almost perfect combination of actor and art. Last year, I watched "Hotel Transylvania" for the first time, and I shocked by how much I liked it. More than that, I was shocked by how deeply affected by Sandler's work I was. I think in a different life, Sandler was a voice-actor, and he seems to light up the screen in a different way than his usual overly-slapstick style in his live-action movies. "Eight Crazy Nights" is a perfect example of that.
Don't get me wrong, I love Adam Sandler. I think he could often make better decisions in his recent career, and I think he's just waiting for that one perfect, comedic role to push him back to relevancy. But overall, I have always been in his corner. I particularly think "Eight Crazy Nights" never got its fair shake from critics or Sandler fans alike. Yes, I will agree that his earlier stuff, like "Happy Gilmore," or "Billy Madison" or "Big Daddy" and his early stuff on SNL is all vastly superior than "Eight Crazy Nights." Yes, it's Sandler's personality taken to an extreme, which will probably not win over any new Sandler fans. But I think the movie represents the very best of Sandler's talents. I represents the very best of what his acting style and voice-work can offer. It's a movie I have been constantly drawn to, even as I have gotten older and older over the years. There seems to be a very special place in my heart for which this movie has carved for itself.
The movie is essentially a Jewish, musical version of "A Christmas Carol." I think that is the best possible way to describe the movie. Adam Sandler plays a typical "Adam Sandler" personality who pretty much annoys every person he comes in contact with, and he especially hates the holidays, just like our pal Scrooge. This character gets in trouble with the law, and his saving grace are two elderly, heartwarming little people who allow him to do community service at a local gym. Through this dysfunctional pair, as well as some Jewish "spirits" that we meet near the end of the movie, Adam Sandler learns the value of caring and tenderness. This is a similar template to about every Sandler movie ever invented, but its still tons of fun. Sandler maybe coming up with looney voices for half the movies characters, but he makes each voice unique. When I saw this movie for the first time, I didn't realize just how many voices he did for the movie, it was quite cool.
This is an Adam Sandler movie, through and through. There are several burp, fart and poop jokes that you can count. But there seems to be so much fun and confidence with this movie that it was hard for me to ever forget.

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