Sandleritis: Or, Why I’m Skipping “Pixels.”
Posted May 20, 2015 by Daniel Hodgson in
Long before I became a film fanatic, I was a gamer. I grew up with Pong, the Atari 2600, and then the Nintendo consoles. I played in arcades, back when that was a thing. Today, I game on a Playstation.
Naturally, I saw The Wizard and Super Mario Bros: The Movie when they came out. They were awful. So has almost every video game -themed movie to date, with the notable exceptions of Wreck-It Ralph and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
Alone in the Dark, Mortal Kombat 2, Resident Evil. Crap, crud, and crap. Everything I know as an avid movie-goer tells me that the upcoming Pixels will be an unmitigated disaster. And worse, a disappointment.
Yes, a disappointment, despite the fact that Pixels is a Happy Madison production, the company behind the recent Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, which had a perfect 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes until 49 reviews garnered it a whopping 6% rating.
But still, as someone who grew up with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, I want the movie based on those games to be entertaining. Why would I not? You can’t imagine how much I’d like to see Star Fox or Samus Aran on the big screen, or Link adventuring through the land of Hyrule in a computer animated film. An rated-R Castlevania would be bloody, violent fun. There are so many games that could, at the very least, make entertaining flicks.
When a comic book is adapted, or a novel, or a game, the fans have a right to expect that what they enjoy so deeply will be translated into a quality film. Anything less is exploitation. However, the most you can expect from a Happy Madison production is mediocrity, and at worst, a lazy, unfunny, product-placement -laden, sexist, racist, homophobic black hole of time and money. The 32 movies made by Happy Madison Productions average an abysmal 32 on Metacritic, with the lowest being The Master of Disguise, which has a Metascore of 12, and is considered one of the worst films ever made.
After Jack and Jill and That’s My Boy, I swore off reviewing Adam Sandler Films, so I skipped Grown Ups 2 and Blended. After enduring Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, I came to realize that skipping every Happy Madison production will save me hours of my life that I would never get back.
What would be the point? Paul Blart 2 was commercially successful, despite its approval rating (or lack thereof). Sure, there are some movie-goers out there who factor in what critics say, along with word-of-mouth and their own expectations, but the bottom line is, the people who are going to see Paul Blart 2 are going to see Paul Blart 2. Obviously, they don’t pay critics much mind.
Likewise, the people who are going to see Pixels are going to see Pixels. Sometimes, marketing trumps criticism. Transformers: Age of Extinction was generally acknowledged as a grueling experience akin to Chinese water torture, but there’s no arguing against a poster depicting Optimus Prime riding a giant robot T-Rex. General audiences poured into theaters in record numbers to gaze at the CGI spectacle. Similarly, the sight of a giant Pac-Man chomping up San Francisco will draw a crowd. Even if it’s a Happy Madison Production. Even if it stars Adam Sandler.
Or will they? Blended bombed, and so did That’s My Boy. From a box office perspective, people don’t go see Adam Sandler movies for Adam Sandler anymore. Sure, Grown-Ups 2 did business, but Sandler was surrounded by other comedians. It follows that, if audiences see Pixels, then it will be for Donkey Kong, and not for the film’s star, which makes little sense.
I, however, will not be seeing Pixels. Even though 500 movies are released each year and audiences deserve a heads-up on what’s worth seeing and what’s not (and what’s really, really not), even critics get vacations and “sick days,” which some might accuse me of using strategically. That said, whenever an Adam Sandler movie comes out, I come down with—quite coincidentally—a case of nausea, a throbbing headache, and dizziness. I call it #Sandleritis. It comes and goes, usually when something craptastic as fuck is about to hit theaters.