By Michael Arnold (Windham, NH)
Adam Sandler Needs to Make More Movies like Uncut Gems
I’ve always loved Adam Sandler, ever since I saw Happy Gilmore at the adolescent age of 12 years old, but in the past few years I have almost been ashamed or embarrassed to be an Adam Sandler fan. His “comedy” movies nowadays just seem to be completely out of touch with… well everything, what year it is, what is relevant in today’s world, and what people find funny. Even so. I still purchase a ticket to see each and every new Adam Sandler movie, and again, and again I am disappointed. I can say I was about to lose hope, and declare his career dead, but this movie came out of nowhere and hit me like a semi-truck. This movie gave me so much hope, and not only that, it created tons of excitement to see what this absolute mad man will do next. And I’m here to share why this movie was so restoring for me, and why Adam Sandler needs to make more movies like Uncut Gems.
In Uncut Gems Adam Sandler plays an ambitious New York City jeweler named Howard with a bad habit of getting into dangerous situations and a strong itch for gambling. Howard comes across this precious stone and enters it into an auction but is his reckless behavior lands him inside some very sticky situations and he finds himself performing a balancing act of many problems concerning business, debts, and family. Sandler plays this character perfectly and shows just enough emotion and realness, while also giving us a convincing peek into this character’s dark side and risky behaviors. This results in a character that is very likeable, while at the same time a complete scumbag.
Sandler’s character, Howard, is busy non-stop taking phone calls, meeting customers for his business, avoiding trouble, and trying to hold his family together. Sandler portrays such an intense sense of urgency in each scene that forces us to accept that we are strapped into this two hour and fifteen-minute rollercoaster ride, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. He creates this urgency by delivering his lines so jumbled and speedily while flowing from one problem to the next so quickly. It makes it seem as if Sandler himself is actually rolling with the punches as he is acting. The rare scene or two where things are slowed down quite a bit still manage to feel so life or death, no matter the circumstances. This is done by Sandler’s extreme expressions and uncomfortable body language.
Of course, it wasn’t just Sandler making this movie this is also largely due to direction of the film and editing to create that permanent sense of urgency. Most importantly Sandler portrays a character that no matter how many terrible decisions he makes, or how many people he treats wrongly, we still cheer him on more and more. And when he goes too far, and the stakes are too high you can’t help but to keep on cheering. This is the greatest performance I have seen from Adam Sandler in a VERY long time, and maybe my favorite performance of his ever. This is so strongly a separation from his recent works, and it is nothing short of a delicious breath of fresh air.
Sandler shines in roles where he can use his over the top personality and expressive acting to create an immensely strong tone, whatever the tone may be, in Uncut Gems specifically, a darker and very passionate tone. We have seen a sparkle of what Sandler can do before, in the drama genre with The Meyerowitz Stories, and I thought that might be the last I would see of it. Now all I can say is that I am grateful for this film that really brings out the gambler in all of us, and I am extremely hopeful that Sandler will take many more serious or dramatic roles in the future, as this is where I think his true talents shine the most.
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