Judge Adam Arseneau can't think of a single rhyme for "Hanukkah."
"Give me cancer now, God."
In the year 2010, Adam Sandler is an extremely successful movie star. Twenty years ago, he was on Saturday Night Live—a beloved member of a renaissance cast that included some of the most brilliant comedic talents to ever grace the show. Go up to any random stranger and ask them if they like Adam Sandler and you'll get naught but nods. Everyone loves Adam Sandler. The dude is funny! His legacy on Saturday Night Live is secure. The book is closed on that one.
So here's the question: Has anyone actually gone back and watched these old episodes recently? I just had to in order to write this DVD—and let me tell you something: his comedy has not aged well. Viewed through modern eyes, it is dreadful.
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler contains the following sketches:
• "Christmas Song Cold Open"
Adam Sandler transitioned so smoothly to the silver screen, one easily forgets how goofy his old portfolio was. Young and fresh-faced with an acoustic guitar and fifteen distinct varieties of baby talk, Sandler was originally hired as a writer in 1990, but quickly made his way to a featured player. He had a style that blended well with the cast; he could play guitar and sing, and quickly became a popular draw. I admit I was a fan back in the day. Hey, I was in high school, and it was the Nineties. We had flannel shirts and long hair, and "Opera Man" was funny.
Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler illustrates beyond a shadow of a doubt exactly how far comedy has come in the last two decades. Watching it now, in a world of Judd Apatow, South Park, Seth McFarlane, Arrested Development, and endless other comedic innovations, it seems Lilliputian and lame, a freakishly outdated throwback misplaced in time. Imagine Dick Van Dyke trying to pull in a crowd after Richard Pryor blew up in the Seventies. It just doesn't fit. At the time, this was funny stuff, but it's just embarrassing today.
There are only a small number of sketches on this set worth remembering, and most of them involve the brilliance of Chris Farley ("Schmitts Gay," "Zagat," and "The Herlihey Boy") to make them funny. One could put together an argument for "The Denise Show," but that's a stretch. Guest stars include Courteney Cox, Shannen Doherty, David Duchovny, Michael Keaton, Kirstie Alley and Alec Baldwin, but only Alec Baldwin is worth mentioning here. He and Christopher Walken are like SNL institutions in the Nineties.
As with other Lionsgate Saturday Night Live Best Of sets, the transfer is full-screen and average, a quick dump to digital disc from tape. Colors are washed, grain is evident and the picture is excessively soft. A simple stereo transfer gets the job done, but technophiles are going to cringe all the same. SNL just wasn't thinking forward to home release in the early Nineties, and the recordings from this period are extremely sketchy in the fidelity department. In terms of extras, we get about 20 minutes of additional sketches ("Canteen Boy Monologue," "Thanksgiving Song," "Red-Hooded Sweatshirt," two "Cajun Man" sketches, and two "Halloween Costumes") and some photos.
I have nothing but respect for the man, but Saturday Night Live: The Best of Adam Sandler (like the rest of this series) is just a cheap nostalgic cash grab. These sketches live best in your memory, not on DVD in your living room. Throw on Happy Gilmore or Billy Madison and save yourself the grief.
Time is a harsh mistress.
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• Bonus Sketches
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