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Uncovering the secret of the Adam 'Sandlerverse'


In just a few ingenious movies, actor Adam Sandler has gone from cultural ‘joke’ to one of the finest performers of modern cinema, with Uncut Gems from the Safdie brothers helping to elevate his career to fabulous new heights. However, keen cinephiles will recognise that Sandler has been capable of such performances throughout his whole career, from the comedic proficiency in such roles as Happy Gilmore to the dramatic perfection of Punch-Drunk Love by Paul Thomas Anderson.

Despite his undisputed acting capability, Sandler is better-known for his assortment of throwaway Hollywood comedies, working closely with his close friends Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Rob Schneider and, strangely, Steve Buscemi in frequent money-making movies. 

Creating multiple critically unfavourable movies including Grown Ups, The Ridiculous 6, Blended, Pixels, Jack and Jill and many many more, Sandler made a name for himself as the kryptonite of quality movies, despite his evident acting talent. Though many fans of the actor point to a deeper intricate universe in the films of Adam Sandler that suggest something deeper may be going on beneath the surface. 

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Turns out the ‘Sandlerverse’ runs deep, with the gist of the theory pointing to running gags and returning characters who seem to crop up time and time again throughout his films. Revealing just how far the rabbit hole goes the YouTuber Shawn Kohne put a surprising amount of time into a detailed video (below) on the topic, explaining how each film ties into the next with even the most tentative of references. 

This complex web of references appears in several examples, such as Rob Schneider’s “you can do it” jeer from The Waterboy appearing again in Little Nicky, before Sandler himself says the line in the 2001 movie, The Animal. The links don’t just stop there, however, with considerable more evidence of a Sandlerverse being present throughout many of his other movies. 

Further nods to this Sandler other-world come in the form of the caddy from Happy Gilmore who also appears in Jack & Jill, and the appearance of the pro-golfer Chubbs Peterson in the peculiar fantasy comedy Little Nicky in 2000. These two examples join a whole host of characters who have cropped their heads up time and time again throughout the years, including Officer Jack Pugh, Eric Lamonsoff and ten-second Tom. 

Acknowledging the existence of this Sandlerverse in an interview with Yahoo, the actor confirmed the intention of creating a universe that held all of his cinematic creations. When asked whether he’d like a multiverse team-up movie akin to Marvel, Sandler even jokes, “I’d like that. I just got to get mentally ready for that. That’ll probably happen in about maybe another 35 years, but we’re gonna get to that”. 

With no new Sandler movies in the pipeline that reunite him with his familiar cast members, fans of the actor may have to wait a while for their next instalment in the Sandlerverse, particularly with him turning to more dramatic roles. His next appearance is due in the Netflix sports drama Hustle, where he stars as a washed-up basketball scout who discovers ‘the next big thing’ while away in Spain. Will it fit into the Sandlerverse? See if you can spot any clues in the trailer, below.

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