We’ve all been asked this question at some point in our lives: “What’s your favourite film?"
Hmmm… It’s always a difficult one isn’t it? You thoughtfully ponder for a moment, quickly scanning through the sizeable library of cinema visits, DVD’s, Blu-Rays and videos that you’ve amassed in recent memory. It’s never an easy one to answer with absolute certainty and the likelihood that your particular movie of choice will differ from another individual’s is, in essence, human nature.
Of course, many will share the same passion for the silver screen's popular Oscar winners, black and white classics, perhaps a Disney film or two... Personally, I couldn’t care less about a film’s artistry, the award-winning performance of an actor, the previous pedigree of the director or the millions of dollars spent on cutting-edge special effects. No, for me, a memorable film is one where you can feel part of the on-screen enjoyment, create an emotional bond with the characters and, most importantly, conjure up ridiculous quotes from it at the drop of a hat. And for me there’s no other film that meets this specific criteria quite as successfully as Billy Madison; Adam Sandler’s absolutely stupid and hilarious comedy released back in 1995.
The plot for Billy Madison is relatively straight-forward but it’s the over-the-top delivery and sheer childishness Adam Sandler naturally exudes which makes the film a total riot to watch.
Billy Madison is the 27 year-old heir to his father’s multi-million dollar hotel chain: Madison Hotels. Billy’s lived a carefree life thus far, sponging off his wealthy dad and shirking any meaningful sense of responsibility. Most of the time, Billy’s content with getting drunk by the pool with his best friends Frank and Jack or being a general nuisance around the estate. A particular highlight of Billy’s week is “Nudey magazine day.”
Yes, life was good for our eponymous goof.
On the odd occasion, Billy’s presence is required at certain dinners to keep up appearances; he is the heir to the company after all. Typically, Billy’s lack of social etiquette and his complete disregard for acceptable behaviour leads to a rather uncomfortable evening and a familiar feeling of embarrassment for his father who finally loses patience with him after one of Billy's latest outbursts provoked by Bradley Whitford's Eric (a wily weasel of a human being whose eyes are set on taking Billy’s rightful, if risky, position). Sadly, Billy's dad decides that Eric should become the next CEO of the company due to Billy’s incompetence. Outraged, Billy protests to his father and decides to prove that he can be responsible.
Billy vows that he will pass elementary, middle, and graduate from high school all over again, albeit this time completely unaided by his father’s wealth. Billy will spend two weeks in each grade and if he completes the course, his competence will be proved. Surprised by Billy’s initiative, his father accepts the challenge and reminds his son that tomorrow... is a school day!
So what happens when a grown man who’s just a big kid at heart goes back to school? Plain awesomeness that’s what. Billy’s on-screen banter with the excellent kids who play his classmates is as charming as it is hilarious. There’s a real connection between them all and at times you’ll have difficulty determining who the real children are - Sandler or his pre-pubescent school pals. There are countless moments of pure stupidity on Billy’s behalf but it’s the delivery and Sandler's genuine appeal which make numerous scenes go from just plain silly to incredibly funny. I’ve yet to encounter anyone who hasn’t fallen for Billy’s magnetic charisma.
Billy Madison is off-the-wall crazy at times, with frequently bizarre moments which are infinitely hilarious. Want to see a man make out with a penguin? You got it. Witness the apparent demise of a clown? That’s there too. A spontaneous musical number? Billy Madison has it all. It’s a feel good movie from start to finish with a sprinkling of romance in there for good measure. If you don’t take life too seriously, and you enjoy a good laugh, then you should definitely enrol with Billy Madison.
Adam Vjestica is the Editor-in-Chief at Awesome Games, a UK gaming blog providing Game Reviews, Retro Reflections, News & Articles.