Love them or hate them, you’ve got to admit Adam Sandler comedies can be really dumb. That’s exactly why “Billy Madison” sucked me in and why “Big Daddy” references come up in conversation from time to time.

Throughout the years, I’ve skipped out on some of them such as “You Don’t Mess with the Zohan” and “Jack and Jill” mainly because his earlier movies set the bar to my standards. Throw in a Chris Farley bit part or an obnoxious character’s accent like Bobby Boucher, and you’ve got yourself 90 minutes of pure entertainment.

When it comes to newer movies, I don’t keep up as much as I did but can at least say the Oscars don’t seem to be quite as stodgy as I once saw them to be.

I don’t watch that awards show but was happy to see several movies mainstream audiences would support nominated instead of an overwhelming number of titles you’ve never heard of and dry cinema exclusive to theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

I’m sure fans of some in particular are still pretty upset the academy snubbed their favorites and have hopefully come to accept it by now. Even though Adam Sandler can pull off dramatic roles, it will probably be a hard stretch if he’s ever an Academy Awards contender.

Critics are critics, and everybody likes what he or she likes. Critics may seem a little above the average person from time to time, and their harsh criticism may seem to be one of the few things bringing happiness to their lives.

Good for Adam Sandler for not caring and for setting the bar where it is with the majority of his movies. Throw in a cast of close friends like Shaquille O’Neal, Steve Buscemi and Rob Schneider; an occasional romantic comedy with Drew Barrymore; and things normal people can relate to like a Frosty from Wendy’s or going to Dick’s Sporting Goods, and there’s not much to figure out from there.

Even though he wasn’t a screenwriter for “Mr. Deeds,” the nature of the film was just as dumb as most of his others. His character is a small town simpleton who inherits $40 billion from his uncle, which doesn’t change anything about his personality.

Loved in his small town, he’s a star through his pitches to Hallmark for greeting cards. Finally at the end of the movie, a love poem is picked up for publishing – “Hard to breathe; feels like floating; so full of love my heart’s exploding; mouth is dry, hands are shaking; my heart is yours for the taking; acting weird and not myself; dancing around like the Keebler elf; finally time for this poor schlub; to know how it feels to fall in love.”

As dumb as this column is going so far, keep in mind it’s okay to love the dumb guilty pleasures in your life and not be ashamed.

Not every movie can be as serious as “The Joker” or as fast-paced as “Ford v. Ferrari,” and neither should every single moment in life. An apple a day may be good enough to forego a doctor’s visits, but laughing packs such a punch mentally, physically and emotionally, making it a great medicine.

Everybody has his own sense of humor so whether it’s satire or shtick that makes you smile, don’t be embarrassed by laughing out loud. Critics are critics and snobs are snobs, but don’t let them scare you away from whatever you love, however dumb it may be.

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, make someone close to you feel special but never forget about yourself and what you love to watch, listen to, read, eat and enjoy. It’s the simple things in life that make us love it like we do.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

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