Adam Sandler has once introduced himself at a Las Vegas convection in this manner, “My name is Adam Sandler, I’m not particularly talented. I am not particularly good looking. And yet I’m a multi-millionaire.” This is true. It is also true that Sandler is a multi-millionaire because people enjoy his satirical-style movies.
The Waterboy pokes fun of people with mental and developmental illness. It grossed $185,991,646 at the box office worldwide. Billy Madison makes fun of rich people and it grossed $26,488,734. Anger Management makes fun of people with anger issues, lesbians, Hispanics, and passive aggressive people. It grossed $195,745,823. I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry is a satire about homosexual men and it grossed, $186,072,214 worldwide. The Longest Yard stereotypes prisoners and athletes, yet grossed $190,320,568.
These numbers prove that many people have seen Sandler’s movies, and are well aware of what they are getting themselves into both as actors and spectators. However, at the end of each of these movies is a heartfelt moment of truth for the main character who is the ‘fool’ in the movie, usually played by Sandler, who himself, is the biggest joke.
Sandler’s new movie, The Ridiculous Six, is a satire of stereotypical westerns, cowboys and Indians. Filming of the movie began this week and Native American actors experienced Sandler’s version of the Apache culture, in an entirely Sandler-style satirical light. In the movie, there are chicken feathers in the teepees, there is also a scene where a woman is peeing while smoking a peace pipe, and the satire continues in sincere Sandler fashion.
However, eight Native Americans, including a consultant, walked off the set, Wednesday, April 22, after expressing their concerns to producers Allen Covert and Sandler, who told the actors that if they were offended by the script that they could leave if they wanted to, because the script was non-negotiable.
Sandler began filming earlier this month in New Mexico. The Ridiculous Six is one of the four movies Sandler agreed to produce exclusively for Netflix. This film is supposed to lampoon stereotypes, said Netflix. Netflix also commented that the movie is indeed ridiculous. Netflix released a statement saying the movie is a broad Western satire and the popularized stereotypes feature a diversified cast that is part of, and in on the joke.
The Native American cast complained, not only about the script offenses, but also about the casting on non-Native Americans portraying Native Americans. Those who walked off the set commented that Hollywood had not changed and the stereotypes are still withstanding.
The Navajo Nation President, Ben Shelly agreed with the actors’ walk-out. He said that the actors were courageous and praised them for their conviction. He also said, that Native American culture was not something to make fun of or joke about.
The New Mexico Film Office said, April 23 that this was a First Amendment issue, not a legal issue because Happy Madison Productions is meeting the requirements laid out in the film credit statute. The film will proceed filming in New Mexico as planned.
By Jeanette Smith