Adam Sandler said in a recent Netflix conversation for “Hustle” (via Entertainment Weekly) that he stopped reading reviews after film critics tore “Billy Madison” to shreds. The 1995 comedy, in which Sandler plays a spoiled 27-year-old who re-enrolls in elementary school, is now considered one his signature movies, but the actor said that 90% of film critics called it garbage when it opened in theaters. Sandler co-wrote the film with Tim Herlihy.
“When I was 17 and I got into this, I didn’t think about critics…I didn’t even realize that stuff was coming,” Sandler said. “I just thought you made movies, people go see it. When ‘Billy Madison’ came out, me and my friend who wrote it, we were just like, ‘Oh yeah, they’re going to write about this in New York!’ We grew up reading the papers, we were going to NYU. And then we read the first one and we were like, ‘Oh my god, what happened? They hate us.’ And then we were like, ‘It must have been this paper,’ but then 90% of the papers are going, ‘This is garbage.'”
The critical bashing of “Billy Madison” stung a bit because “you know your grandmother’s reading it,” but the two writers eventually decided “we shouldn’t read this stuff because it’s so harsh.” It was after “Billy Madison” that Sandler swore off reading reviews.
“I say the first two or three, ‘Happy Gilmore,’ ‘The Wedding Singer,’ we would still kinda hear about it,” Sandler said about negative reviews. “People would call us up, “Can you believe they said this about you?’ I’d be like, ‘I didn’t read it, man…’ But everything has turned out excellent. And it’s OK, I get it. Critics aren’t going to connect with certain stuff and what they want to see. I understand that it’s not clicking with them.”
Sandler is currently making the press rounds for his Netflix basketball drama “Hustle,” for which he received rave reviews. “I’m glad I’m getting praise, I’ll take it, but everybody worked hard on the movie,” the comedian said. “I had a great part and I did the best I could with it.”
“Hustle” is now available to stream on Netflix.