The ultimate battle between naughty and nice.
Adam Sandler has been an anger management patient, a pro hockey player, and the Devil's son. But you've never seen Adam Sandler like this: animated! In what may be one of the strangest ideas in movie history, Sandler took his lowbrow humor and turned it into kiddie holiday fare with Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights. A bomb at the box office, and for good reason, Eight Crazy Nights makes its debut on DVD in a two-disc special edition care of Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment.
Facts of the Case
Welcome to the town of Dukesberry, a cozy village that's perfect to spend the holidays in…unless you're Davey Stone (voice of Adam Sandler). Davey is what you might consider the bitter town drunk, a man who hates everyone as much as he hates himself. After an intoxicated Davey is chased by the police and arrested for destroying two large Christmas / Hanukah ice sculptures during Dukesberry's holiday celebration, the judge offers Davey one of two options: either Davey goes to prison or is willingly put into the custody of Whitey (also Sandler), Davey's old youth basketball referee. Whitey and Davey don't get along, due mostly to Whitey's odd but affectionate ways and Davey's hatred for everyone that breathes. When Davey meets Whitey's even stranger sister Eleanore (Sandler again), his boiling point is pushed to the max. Yet the elderly odd couple continues to work with Davey, even as Whitey attempts to garner the town's adulation via a voting contest for "Townsman of the Year." Then Davey rediscovers his childhood crush, Jennifer (Jackie Titone, Sandler's real-life wife) and her son Benjamin (Austin Stout), and is immediately in L-O-V-E. Thus begins Davey's personal journey of self-discovery that will have viewers rolling their eyes faster than the lemons and cherries in Vegas slot machines.
There have been worse holiday movies, but not many. There have been worse animated movies, but not many. But there has never been a worse animated holiday movie than Adam Sandler's horrifically miscalculated Eight Crazy Nights. Everything about this movie is bad, including the animation, the voiceover work, and the childish toilet humor that permeates it at every turn. Who thought this was a good idea? The studio executives? The animators? Sandler? Whoever it was ought to be taken out of the movie making pool and grounded for life. If you didn't like any of Sandler's previous films, you'll despise Eight Crazy Nights. And if you are a fan you'll most likely also think Eight Crazy Nights is a shiny turd of epic cinematic proportions.
Eight Crazy Nights is bad because it's too mean and vulgar and tries in vain to redeem itself in the very end by attempting to tug at the viewer's heartstrings with the force of a sumo wrestling tag team. From the very beginning, Sandler's Davey is unlikable and, it's quickly assessed, will stay that way no matter what the writers try to pull off. I just don't have much sympathy for a character that makes fun of fat children, pushes old men down the hill in feces encrusted portable toilets, and gleefully tries to destroy the town's Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. The character arc is just too unbelievable; Davey's parents were killed in a car accident and that's why he's turned out so bitter and mean. Uh huh. After finally reading a letter from his parents he's carried around with him since childhood, Davey breaks down and realizes the true meaning of the holidays. Oh, sure—if only all our problems could be solved with such simple-minded schmaltz.
For whatever the reason, Davey looks conspicuously like the real-life Sandler. Actually, he looks exactly like him, which makes the character all the more annoying (nothing in this life is worse than having to watch a poorly rendered caricature of a movie star act like an idiot). Sandler also provides the voices for Whitey and Eleanore, two characters almost as annoying as Davey. Whitey is supposed to be endearing, but comes off as a bumbling idiot who is almost his sister's equal. The voiceover talent includes Saturday Night Live alumni Jon Lovitz, Kevin Nealon, and Rob Schneider (who also starred in the Sandler produced Deuce Bigalow and The Hot Chick). Alone these men can be funny. In the context of an animated holiday conceived by Adam Sandler…no chance. Only Lovitz got me laughing, but only because his voice is funny almost no matter what the guy says. And when that's the case, you know you're riding on a sinking ship.
What are my final thought on Adam Sandler's Eight Crazy Nights? As bad as it is, be happy we never had to sit through Charles Rocket's Six Nutty Days or Ellen Cleghorne's Ten Fantastic Dawns.
Let's all thank the good Lord for small favors.
Eight Crazy Nights is presented in both 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full frame. Hey, I may think the movie sucks, but the fact is that this transfer is actually pretty good. Columbia has made sure that all the colors and black levels are evenly rendered without any bleeding in the images. Blacks are solid and dark while the colors shine as bright as Christmas lights. In fact, as hard as I tried I couldn't find any major flaws with this transfer. As for the movie, well…that's a different story. Also included on this disc is a full frame pan and can version of the movie, though it isn't recommended.
The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround in English. Sadly, this sound mix isn't as up to snuff as the video presentation. There is something lacking in the mix, most notably any true sense of space. There are a few well-placed directional effects and surround sounds, and the dialogue, music, and effects are mostly clear. Still, this isn't the enveloping experience one with a home theater system might hope for. Oh well, it's not like Eight Crazy Nights will becoming a holiday classic anytime soon. Also included on this disc is a Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround track in French, as well as English and French subtitles.
If you watch the news tonight, it will most likely report that hell has indeed frozen over. How else can you explain Eight Crazy Nights receiving the two-disc treatment from Columbia? Whatever the reasoning behind it, here's the full-blown special edition of Eight Crazy Nights everyone can make fun of!
Starting off Disc One is not one but two commentaries, the first by director Seth Kearsley, art director Philip A. Cruden, head of animation Stephan Franck, effects supervisor John Bermudas, and executive producer Ken Tsumura, and the second by "Whitey" and "Eleanore," two characters from the film voiced by Adam Sandler, and writer/producer Allan Covert. Neither of these commentary tracks is very interesting, mainly because the movie is so bad—technical info is doled out, but who really cares? Sandler fans may get a kick out of hearing him do his "characters" for the second commentary, but that's about it. For this reviewer, that bit got old pretty quick.
Other features on Disc One include "A Day With Meatball" which follows around Sandler's dog for the day, "The Chanukah Song Part 3" video with Sandler singing his song on SNL, and a TV spot for "NBA: Love It Live" with Sandler and Whitey.
Moving on to Disc Two is a whole town full of supplemental materials, though I have to admit it takes a while to navigate through all the extra features. Of course, since I'm hardly a fan of the film, this pissed me off to no end. The supplements are broken up into five sections:
"Community Center": Included a featurette on Whitey's conceptualization and voice, a featurette on the town of Dukesberry, and two deleted/alternate scenes (with optional commentary).
"Banquet Hall": Included here is a featurette on the townspeople of Dukesberry, another feature about the songs from the film, a rather boring HBO First Look featurette, and two more deleted/alternate scenes (with optional commentary).
"The Mall": Under this section is a featurette on Jennifer and her son, yet another featurette on the voices in the film, and four more deleted/alternate scenes (with optional commentary).
"Whitey and Elenore's House": Here viewers get a featurette on Elenore's conception and creation, an animation progression feature that includes the movie's soundtrack set to storyboards from the production, and three more deleted/extended scenes (with optional commentary).
"Davey's Trailer": Finally there are two more featurettes, one chronicling Davey's conception and voice and a second about the deer in the film (also voiced by Sandler), as well as two more deleted/alternate scenes (with optional commentary).
As the holidays roll around, you have many things to be thankful for. One of them can be knowing that you live in a free country where you can avoid seeing Eight Crazy Nights for as long as you live. Columbia's work on this two-disc set is way, way, way better than the film deserves.
Eight Crazy Nights should be retiled Eight Solid Headaches. That's a technical foul!
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