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Adam Sandler Stopped Reading Reviews After Reaction to Billy Madison

The comedian recalled the papers calling his first film "garbage"

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Billy Madison (Universal Pictures)

    Adam Sandler is a beloved comedian now, but when he first broke out of the Saturday Night Live bubble with Billy Madison, the first film he ever co-wrote, he didn’t receive a particularly warm welcome from critics. Since then, the actor says he hasn’t read a review for any one of his films.

    “When I was 17 and I got into this, I didn’t think about critics … I didn’t even realize that stuff was coming. I just thought you made movies, people go see it,” Sandler said in a recent conversation for Netflix (via EW). “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.'”

    Sandler wrote 1995’s Billy Madison, about a spoiled 27-year-old who must go back to school and pass every grade without his rich father’s help, with Tim Herlihy. When the first bad review for the film came out, the duo hoped it was a fluke, “but then 90 percent of the papers are going ‘This is garbage,'” Sandler recalled. He admitted that the reaction “stung,” because “you know your grandmother’s reading it.”

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    It was then that the pair decided “maybe we shouldn’t read this stuff because it’s so harsh.”

    “I say the first two or three, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, we would still kinda hear about it,” Sandler added. “People would call us up, “Can you believe they said this about you?’ I’d be like, ‘I didn’t read it, man.'” Of course, his career turned out fine, and Sandler says he understands his sense of humor isn’t for everyone. “Critics aren’t going to connect with certain stuff and what they want to see,” he said. “I understand that it’s not clicking with them.”

    Sandler’s last project was the basketball film HustleHe’s currently in the midst of a standup tour, and tickets are on sale now via Ticketmaster.

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    Revisit our ranking of Sandler’s Best Film Roles.

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