Adam Sandler’s “Hubie Halloween”: Revenge for his Oscar snub
A month before last year’s Oscar nominations were released, Adam Sandler joked on The Howard Stern Show that if the Academy snubbed him for his role in The Safdie Brothers’ film Uncut Gems he would make a movie “that is so bad on purpose.”
Well, that’s exactly what happened. Although Sandler was well recognized at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards, he was denied any Oscar recognition.
The film was ignored by The Academy altogether, receiving a grand total of zero nominations. I believe it’s due to what I like to call The Sandler Stigma: there will forever be a prejudice attached to the name, regardless of the quality of his content.
But luckily for die-hard Sandler fans like myself, we’ve been gifted with a new holiday classic: Hubie Halloween.
I proudly, wholeheartedly stand by Sandler and his decision to go forward with Hubie Halloween, but I would also be doing him and you a great disservice by saying this movie is anything but nauseating.
Don’t get me wrong, you should definitely watch it—but do so with context. Know that this movie is intended to be horrifying in all the wrong ways.
Before digging into any details, I feel obligated to note that there will be spoilers ahead. But even if you haven’t seen the film, you won’t be missing much by ignoring this disclaimer.
Sandler spends the entirety of his performance in Hubie Halloween as his often replicated character Bobby Boucher. Although there is no notable continuity between the two films, it would not be unreasonable for film theorists to assume that Bobby Boucher and Hubie Dubois are the same character.
His trademark voice, most notable in his 1998 film The Waterboy, is not only exhausting but also commendable. Sandler tends to receive substantial criticism and mocking for this persona in particular, characterized by its squeaky tone and subtle lisp.
If you’ve ever seen a Saturday Night Live impression—or me after a couple glasses of rosé—there’s no doubt you’ve heard the voice before. It’s also featured in Sandler’s 1995 film Billy Madison during his “Back to School” song.
To the average, passive viewer, this seems like nothing more than a weak swing at a cheap laugh—and for the most part, you’d be right—but once you consider this character choice in the context of Hubie Halloween, you realize it’s the most intelligent thing about this film.
What better way to stick it to the industry than by filming an entire movie playing the character they’ve come to resent you for? It’s payback! Sandler knows full well that everyone involved in the decision to leave him off the Oscars ballot will be regretfully forced to watch it. So screw them, enjoy.
Although the film itself is borderline unwatchable, the cast is rather prestigious. Alongside Sandler, the movie stars Julie Bowen, Kevin James, Rob Schneider, Steve Buscemi, Maya Rudolph, June Squibb, Ray Liotta, Tim Meadows, Kenan Thompson, Michael Chiklis, Ben Stiller, Saturday Night Live co-stars Melissa Villaseñor and Mikey Day as well as NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
It truly shows how many fellow actors were willing to work alongside Sandler on his blatant course of revenge against the Academy. It’s overwhelming to think of all these stars in one film, regardless of its sheer lack of quality. As well, it’s heartwarming to think that Sandler’s friends and co-stars have recognized that his efforts in Uncut Gems had gone unnoticed by ‘prestigious’ Hollywood cinema.
In a way, the recognition of your peers outweighs that of pretentious Hollywood. Sandler should be touched that this many globally recognized celebrities were willing to star in his film solely intended on sticking it to the industry.
Something much less vile about the film was Sandler’s dedication. During the closing credits, a tribute to the late Cameron Boyce is shown on screen. “Gone way too soon and one of the kindest, coolest, funniest, and most talented kids we knew. You live on forever in our hearts and are truly missed every day,” read the quote.
Sandler had previously worked with Boyce in both Grown Ups films, having played the young actor’s father. Boyce passed away due to an epileptic seizure in 2019 and was intended to star in Hubie Halloween. So, regardless of Sandler’s true intentions behind the film, the heart behind the hatred makes the entire endeavour worthwhile.
Of course, we’ll never really know why Sandler chose to make this film. It’s quite possible this is just another god-awful addition to Sandler’s already shaky resume. There truly is no empirical evidence to say this film is in direct response to his Oscar-snub—even though this seems to be the case.
Either way, Hubie Halloween is worth the watch. If not for the political context of revenge, watch it for the sake of supporting an actor who deserves your recognition.