he news that Netflix users have spent more than half a billion hours “enjoying” the films of Adam Sandler since December 2015, may come as a surprise to those who have spent just as much time studiously avoiding them. Still the former Saturday Night Live man must be doing something right, given the streaming service recently signed a deal to produce four more of his films, to add to the more-than-50 he’s already appeared in. So, where should a Sandler novice start with this hefty catalogue of gross-out comedies and yet more gross-out comedies? Here’s a condensed guide to which of his films to watch and which to run a mile from (cough – The Ridiculous 6 – cough):
The stone cold classics
Happy Gilmore – Adam Sandler runs around snooty golf clubs threatening people with a five iron. Better than it sounds.
The Wedding Singer – The first pairing of Sandler and Drew Barrymore, the Bogart and Bacall of gross-out romcoms. Hugely charming with a smashing 80s soundtrack.
Punch Drunk Love – Paul Thomas Anderson turns Sandler’s habit of SHOUTING REALLY LOUDLY into a virtue in this arthouse gem.
50 First Dates – Sandler/Barrymore (Bandler? Sarrymore?) reunite for a high-concept amnesia comedy. Broad but likeable.
Funny People – Acerbic Judd Apatow ensemble dramedy about stand-ups. Sandler gives perhaps his best performance, as a comic diagnosed with incurable leukemia.
The surprisingly solid
The Waterboy – A deep-south simpleton becomes a star American football player. Fitfully funny if a bit ableist.
Anger Management – Jack Nicholson plays Sandler’s therapist and the two shout at each other a lot. Hardly Terms of Endearment, but watchable enough.
You Don’t Mess With the Zohan – Sandler plays an Israeli soldier who becomes a hairdresser. Weirdly compelling.
Reign Over Me – Mawkish but occasionally perceptive drama starring Sandler as a fireman coming to terms with the death of his family during 9/11.
Sandy Wexler – Sandler’s latest film is deeply strange homage to his agent. Worth watching for the celeb cameos (Conan O’Brien, Quincy Jones and, err, Vanilla Ice).
The bad but tolerable
The Longest Yard – More American Football, as Sandler leads a group of prison inmates into a game against their guards.
Billy Madison – Sandler’s first ever starring role is a Dumb and Dumber knock-off that lacks that film’s finely honed sense of nuance.
Big Daddy – A manchild is forced to look after his estranged biological son. Cute kids, life lessons, yadda yadda.
Little Nicky – Adam Sandler is the actual son of Satan!
Click – Sandler finds a magical remote control that allows him to fast-forward time. I’m not making these up, I promise.
The Do-Over – One of Sandler’s Netflix films, which I don’t even have the energy to type out the plot of.
Blended – The final film in the Dradam Sarrymore triptych is an entirely forgettable romcom that’s still better than this next lot.
Mr Deeds – Sandler remakes Frank Capra. God help us all.
Grown Ups – Far too many people went to see this terrible manchild comedy, which meant we were also saddled with Grown Ups 2.
I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry – Two macho firefighters (Sandler and Kevin James) pretend to be in a relationship to get pension rights. Somehow more objectionable than it sounds.
Jack and Jill – The current holder of the record for most Razzie awards.
That’s My Boy – The long-awaited pair-up of Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg, who it turns out aren’t the same person.
Pixels – Migraine-inducing blockbuster about video game characters running amok in Manhattan. Can Sandler stop them? Yes. Yes he can.
Just Go With It – Poor, poor Jennifer Aniston is shoehorned into the Drew role in this limp romantic comedy.
The Ridiculous 6 – Almost impossibly broad comedy western that was picketed by Native Americans for cultural insensitivity. It’s arguably Sandler’s worst film to date … well, until whatever comes next.