Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thoughts on The Wedding Singer

Adam Sandler is more hot than cold for me. A lot of people hate the man, but I've found that I like everything from the stupid early comedies (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison) through the newer comedies (The Wedding Singer, Big Daddy) and even into the dramatic stuff (Spanglish, Punch Drunk Love). There are certainly stinkers in there (I'm looking at you, Little Nicky), but, on the whole, the man is in a lot of good movies.

The Wedding Singer was actually on TV in my house, which is a rare enough occurrence. We have the movie on VHS, and the fact that we have DVR means we're NEVER watching movies, or really anything, on live TV. But there we were, watching The Wedding Singer live, and this scene comes up, between Robbie (the good guy, played by Sandler) and his best fried Sammy (the one-night-stand artist, played by Allen Covert):

Robbie: That's it, man, starting right now, me and you are going to be free and happy the rest of our lives!
Sammy: I'm not happy. I'm miserable.
Robbie: Wha - what?
Sammy: See... I grew up idolizing guys like Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino because they got a lot of chicks. You know what happened to Fonzie and Vinnie Barbarino?
Robbie: Yeah, I read that Fonzie wants to be a director and Barbarino, I think... the mechanical bull movie? I didn't see it yet.
Sammy: Their shows got canceled. Because no one wants to see a fifty-year-old guy hitting on chicks.
Robbie: So what are you saying?
Sammy: What I'm saying is all I really want is someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be all right.

There's something here. I think it's a combination of the inside/outside distinction that we've talked about before (Sammy LOOKS to be perfectly happy, despite being miserable. All he can control is how he looks on the outside. He can't keep himself from feeling miserable), and the simple human-nature needs we have: someone to hold us and tell that everything is going to be all right.

I think it's important to note that Sammy doesn't want someone to tell him that everything IS all right...because it isn't. He doesn't want to be lied to. The "power of positive thinking" movement is all about claiming that things are not the way they seem. "Don't dwell on it," they'll say. "It's not real." But it is real. Happy Days DID get cancelled. Everything is not all right. It's not helpful and insulting to say that it is. What we can hope for is that it WILL BE all right one day.

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