Movie Review: Pixels

When I was young I was a big fan of Adam Sandler. His movies were immature and nonsensical, but they were still fun and I enjoyed them quite a bit. Before I was allowed to watch Jackass, there was the physical comedy of Water Boy, Happy Gilmore, the Wedding Singer, and the raw hatred of his characters to make me laugh. He was my only accessible source of the closest to adult comedy I could get and it was the best of times. Now that I am older, I still like those movies and they still make me laugh. If that is the case, why am I not a fan anymore?

It is less a matter of my age as it is a steady degradation in the quality of Sandler’s films. I first noticed it in Click where I could not feel it had anything special or distinct. Sure, the stopwatch angle was something, but when you break it down, it is the same plot of A Christmas Carol, like it was copied and pasted for ease of dismissal. Furthermore, Sandler did not play a “character.” Happy Gilmore, Bobby Boucher, and Robbie Hart are memorable characters, and I do not remember a thing about the guy from Click.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry was when I saw a pattern. All stories, with the exception of something like I’m Not There, follow Joseph Campbell’s Heroes Journey. Sandler’s films use the same method with plot points that have reverberated throughout his movies since the beginning. I dismiss the assumption all films are the same for following Campbell’s structure because it simply is not true. Star Wars and Avengers have a lot in common, but there is so much to distinguish them it does not make any sense to judge on equal terms. When I looked back at Sandler’s movies, I noticed all of them have the same characters and narratives with nothing to set them apart.

And I did not stop seeing it.

Next came Don’t Mess with the Zohan, an attempt at an Israeli action comedy that would make Yonatan Netanyahu spin in his grave and Golan Globus commit ritual suicide.

At 18 I watched Grown Ups and found myself disappointed in the man I once called funny. There he was, standing with other failed comedians and SNL co-stars he conned into joining him for a tasteless, predictable, and joyless spectacle about old friends having a collective mid-life crisis. At that point I did care anymore. Here was a man I looked up to, reduced to a talentless schmuck who somehow thinks he can keep going and we would not notice how far he has fallen. I had neither the nostalgia nor the will to keep watching and my admiration struggled to recover.

And then Just Go with It happened.

I saw the movie, but I did not hear it. I was on a plane coming from Germany when it came on the screen. I had my iPad with Ghost in the Shell to keep me company, but Just Go with It was still playing out of the corner of my eye, and I could not help paying attention. As I watched it, with no sound mind you, I saw the absolute annihilation of any respect I had left for Sandler. It was not a movie, but a slow torture and vivisection of the fan I used to be. The product placement, beauty shots of resorts, and the infinity of monotonous plotting and predictability dissipated who I was and replaced it with anger. I saw not a funny man but a wastrel of lesser character than filth. I saw a villain that has done more damage to the Jewish people than the Holocaust. Sandler was officially nothing to me.

In the years that followed he would never change and I was not the only one who saw the decay. Red Letter Media put best in their analysis of Jack and Jill, bringing to light the rampant commercialism. Worse still was his failed attempt at adult comedy with That’s My Boy, the dreaded sequel that somehow beat Pacific Rim out of the box-office, and the reunion with Drew Barrymore that no one asked for. Now comes Pixels, a film I will certainly hate, but considering the set-up of videogames invading Earth with the theme of nostalgia, I found I could probably relate and enjoy it to some degree. Has Adam Sandler made his first good movie in almost a decade or was I wrong to trust my heart?

When it comes to new movies, I have not trusted my heart since I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine. What I thought was going to be a good movie based on the trailers was one the worst pieces of garbage I have ever seen before Amazing Spider-Man 2. Thanks for that Gavin Hood, you hack. But I am not enough of a scumbag to hate everything. I give new films the benefit of the doubt, to let them speak for themselves before I render judgment. Being critical of entertainment media in a vacuum is tantamount to artistic fascism. Did Pixels have what it takes to stand on its own, regardless if my preconceived notions?

Well, I would not know because I DIDN’T FUCKING SEE IT!

Did you honestly think after spending 882 words explaining the genesis of my animosity I would actually see Sandler’s new movie? Have I not been clear? I am often told I do not explain myself enough in my work, but when I say someone is worse than the Holocaust, I think that is pretty obvious.

I know I have a professional obligation to see new films and I know not all of them are going to be good. You cannot possibly think I did not know what I was getting into when I chose to make this hobby a job. I accept that Taken 3, Aloha, and Longest Ride were unmitigated trash and I do not regret seeing them. Even bad movies have their merits on the basis of irony. The Loft was stupid, The Room hilarious, and Miami Connection was pure insanity. For Christ’s sake, even the Twilight movies can be enjoyed for how funny-bad they are. Seriously, have you seen Breaking Dawn Part 2? It is genius! I have sat through and studied Christian propaganda. I have wasted power on my computer streaming a Tyler Perry movie so I could write about how offensive it is, when it does that on its own by simply existing. I am used to watching bad movies, but I refuse not see an Adam Sandler movie.

Unless there is money in it (which there has not since I started reviewing back in October), nothing can convince me to see Pixels. If I do get paid, a portion will go to compensation for the ticket and to keep me from killing whoever had the nerve to endorse my suffering.

So, if you have read this far, you are probably wondering why I have not ended this little tirade of mine. Being a critic it is my job to give a well thought out opinion and recommendation of the movie in question. I have taken a total of 1,157 words to articulate my opinion, but I cannot say if you should see Pixels. It would be dishonest of me to tell you not to see a film I have not seen myself. I am sure you can form your own decision based on what I have written.

To that effect, I recommend watching this review from Bob “MovieBob” Chipman. Say what you will about his redder than a Soviet’s blood on krokodil politics, his pandering to people I do not wish to mention because I do not want that kind of attention (which I will probably get anyway), or his whining on Twitter. I have been watching Chipman’s videos since his beginning and his movie reviews formed the basis for my own when I started out. He is one of my inspirations and the reason I chose to be a movie buff. His review of Pixels is both funny and shocking because he is the target demographic, and if you inspire such anger in your own audience something is horribly wrong.

I also recommend doing your own research. When I want to buy a new videogame, I consult multiple critiques and play-throughs before I make my decision, unless we are talking about The Phantom Pain and Fallout 4. The same applies to film, comic books, and even news agencies and political parties if you want to have nightmares. It is important to consider all sides of an argument to get a well-defined perspective. I would know because it took six years and five movies for me to realize Adam Sandler is a slobbering cunt.

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