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Adam Sandler: from critical laughingstock to Oscar favorite | Culture

In a scene from Hustle, the basketball drama that has become the most watched Netflix film worldwide since its June 3 premiere, the character played by Juancho Hernangómez rehearses his triple shot. In front of him, his scout-turned-coach, played by Adam Sandler, tries to distract him: “Your mother is a whore!” “Your sweat smells like piss!” The test is meant to make the young man overcome his weak point: his irascible response to his opponents’ insults, which on the court cause him to falter. “You got to be an iceberg out there, all floating around, and sharp, and taking down ships,” the coach says.

The actor knows what he is talking about. Since the beginning of his career, Adam Sandler has grown accustomed to receiving vitriolic critical reviews. Now, those critics witness Sandler securing one commercial success after another. His exclusive agreement with Netflix has earned him $420 million since 2015. The attacks continue, but Sandler is still there. Like an iceberg.

Hustle has not provoked the usual response. The film has received overwhelming acclaim from critics: Rotten Tomatoes gives it an approval rating of 92%, the highest ever for a Sandler film. Reviews have particularly praised the performance of its protagonist, and some already place him on the list of favorites for the next awards season. The New York comedian experienced this previously with Uncut Gems (2019), when he won, among others, the Best Actor award at the Independent Spirit Awards. He jokingly threatened to make a film that was “bad on purpose” if he didn’t also win the Oscar.

Adam Sandler, during a screening of 'Claw' in Philadelphia on June 7.
Adam Sandler, during a screening of ‘Claw’ in Philadelphia on June 7.Lisa Lake (Getty Images for Netflix)

Sandler did not receive so much as an Oscar nomination for the role, but he has not kept his word. Journalists including Indiewire’s David Ehrlich have spoken of Hustle as a film far removed from the actor’s usual offering, with “more in common with ‘Jerry Maguire’ and ‘The Way Back’ than it does any of the other Happy Madison [Sandler’s company] productions.” Despite the change in register, Adam Sandler’s ardent fans will note the film’s commonalities with his comedies.

The plot centers on the process of managing emotions. That alone sets up Hustle as a counterpoint to the archetype behind Sandler’s early humor: the figure of the immature man who has violent outbursts when things go wrong. The relationship between Sandler’s and Hernangómez’s character recalls Sandler’s Happy Gilmore. In the 1996 film, a teacher played by Carl Weathers tries to teach young Sandler to manage his temper in order to help him become a golf champion.

“Criticism insists on separating them because it is a more serious, adult, apparently deeper approach. But that’s not the case,” says critic Roberto Alcover Oti, who coordinated the book Adam Sandler: La infancia infinita, a 2015 critical collection on Sandler’s work. “It is difficult not to see the adult player from The Longest Yard, the figure of the scout in Hustle,” says Alcover Oti, referring to the 2005 comedy in which Sandler played a football player in prison. “In his last stage, mainly as a result of the Grown Ups saga [2010-2013], Sandler has reflected, always humorously, on his late-adolescent heroes’ hard journey to maturity. And that is what Hustle is about.”

Against the “cynical assholes”

In the climactic trial of Big Daddy (1999), the boy adopted by Sandler’s character summarizes what he learned from the man: “he taught me that Styx was one of the greatest American rock bands, and they only got a bad rep because most critics are cynical assholes.” Sandler’s character then decides to prove his maturity by offering to be questioned by his biggest critic: his own father. The catharsis of the exchange drives the audience members to tearfully call their parents and reconcile. It is a scene definitely not suitable for “cynical assholes.”

Sandra Bullock and Adam Sandler at the MTV Video Music Awards gala at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1994.
Sandra Bullock and Adam Sandler at the MTV Video Music Awards gala at Radio City Music Hall in New York in 1994.Jeff Kravitz (FilmMagic)

The film encapsulates an essential element in its protagonist’s oeuvre: the outcasts’ victory over the system. The main character, a downright bum, is supported in court by a gang of outsiders, including a drunk, a beggar, an immigrant and several homosexual friends. And another frequent theme is that of family, also key in Hustle. In La infancia infinita, Alcover Oti highlights how Click (2006) leads to the understanding that “a narcissistic choice of existence can only lead to oblivion and loneliness,” while Grown Ups depicts the “lost paradise” of childhood as something that “can be enjoyed again through children.”

In the book, Oti also argues that Sandler’s celebrated dramatic characters, in films such as Punch-Drunk Love (2002) or Funny People (2009), can be “understood as dark, sorrowful, realistic versions of his usual figures.” In the former, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, Sandler plays a perpetually nervous character who falls in love while struggling to make his way through a hostile world. Some have come to interpret it as an indie version of Superman, but Anderson, director of titles such as Magnolia and Licorice Pizza, has always maintained that he wanted to make “an Adam Sandler arthouse film.”

“There is just one Adam Saldner, who both sublimates his desire for success and cannot stop expressing the human side of it,” Roberto Alcover Oti tells ICON, referring to how the archetype varies in different films. In the book, he wonders whether the actor’s critical and public acceptance is due to his characters’ being self-destructives, rather than effortlessly achieving success. “Perhaps we feel closer to those fragile, loser archetypes, or perhaps we find it hard to project ourselves onto someone who turns their defects into virtues in order to succeed, since we don’t always achieve that,” he reflects.

In his acceptance speech for the Independent Spirit Award in 2020, Adam Sandler thanked critics for the effort to “pretend” not to hate him “for five minutes.” And he claimed independent film as “a big part” of his filmography, “from my first film, a fearless look into the American education system through the eyes of a privileged sociopath by the name of Billy fucking Madison to my searing exploration of American college football and its manipulation of socially-challenged athletes like Mister Bobby Bouchet [The Waterboy, 1998].” It remains to be seen whether Hustle will allow Sandler to collect new statuettes six months from now. For now, with the success of his Netflix movie, these are unfortunate times for those who can’t stand to see Sandler succeed.

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Denmark adds an extra $2.6bn to its Ukraine aid fund


Denmark’s government said on Monday that it was committing an additional $2.6 billion to a fund for aid for Ukraine, originally set up in March, bringing the fund’s total to $3.6 billion.

Published: 29 May 2023 17:24 CEST

Denmark adds an extra $2.6bn to its Ukraine aid fund

Danish Prime Minister poses in front of a Danish jet fighter during a visit to the Fighter Wing Skrydstrup air base earlier this month. Photo: Bo Amstrup/Ritzau Scanpix

Western nations have pledged a steady flow of support to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion over a year ago.

“The war in Ukraine is at a very critical time with a serious situation on the battlefield, and therefore Ukraine needs all the support they can get,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told Danish public broadcaster DR.

First announced in March following an agreement by almost all parties in parliament, the Scandinavian country originally committed seven billion Danish kroner ($1 billion) to the fund, the bulk of which was intended for military aid.

Frederiksen said Monday the country would add an additional 7.5 billion kronor already this year.

“It is now that the Ukrainians need our weapons and our support, so it is urgent,” she told DR, adding that the fund was already running out of money.

Another 10.4 billion kroner was committed for 2024 as Frederiksen noted “there is no indication that next year will be a year of peace”.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky extended his thanks in a post to Twitter.

“This major contribution will further strengthen the combat capabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the short and medium term,” the statement said.

In mid-May, Denmark also announced that it would help train Ukrainian pilots to fly F-16 fighter jets, as part of a European initiative.

Last week, Frederiksen did not rule out that Denmark would also donate some of its own F-16s, of which it has around 40.

The jets are planned to be gradually replaced by the more modern F-35 over the next few years.

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Nick Cannon’s ‘consensual non-monogamy’: Fathering 12 kids with 6 different women | Culture

In the last 12 years, Nick Cannon (San Diego, California, 42 years old) has had 12 children with six different women. Five of them were born in 2022. The actor and host, with a long career behind him, has become a regular in the gossip press, which announces each of his new descendants with shock and fascination. While his personal life has generated unusual interest recently, he is more than used to media attention. Far from feeling uncomfortable, he speaks freely about the most private aspects of his life.

In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, he attempted to explain his particular family vision. As he explained, during the pandemic, some of the women with whom he had an open relationship expressed their desire to be mothers. He accepted. ”A lot of them are in the same age group. And I just wanted to give them what they desired. I kept saying, ‘I can handle it,’” he says. Cannon avoids labels, but he has described his relationships as “consensual non-monogamy” in an interview live-streamed on YouTube last summer. “To even pretend like I’m in a monogamous relationship, that would be misleading. Because, as we know, monogamy defines one thing, and people like to classify what I do as polyamory or polygamy, but even that, I always say to define me is to confine me,” he added. Currently, Cannon is the father of 11 children (Zen Cannon, the fruit of his relationship with Alyssa Scott, died at the end of 2021 of brain cancer at only five months old). He is the father figure of an unconventional family.

Given that his children are spread across six different homes, it seems difficult for Cannon to be present in all of them. To those who call him irresponsible, the artist insists that all of his children are perfectly taken care of, including from a financial perspective. After The Sun speculated last year that Cannon paid three million dollars to support his children, the entertainer responded that the quantity was much larger, though he did not specify the number.

Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey celebrate their twins’ birthday at Disneyland. The couple married in 2008 and divorced in 2016.
Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey celebrate their twins’ birthday at Disneyland. The couple married in 2008 and divorced in 2016.


His growing family is the subject of most headlines about Nick Cannon. In April 2011, his first two children, the twins Moroccan and Monroe Cannon, were born to Mariah Carey, the only woman who he has married. The artists went to the altar in May 2008 in the Bahamas and were together until their divorce in 2016. Cannon has confessed that the singer was the love of his life, but the incompatibility of their personalities ultimately posed an obstacle to the relationship. “Imagine if, like, Trump and Putin had to live in the same house,” he told the Los Angeles Times, alluding to his marriage.

After the twins, in February 2017, the model Brittany Bell gave birth to Golden Sagon Cannon. She would also have Powerful Queen Cannon in December 2020. In June 2021, the entertainer again became a father of twins, Zion and Zillion, this time with Abby De La Rosa. Only nine days later, his seventh child, Zen, was born. With the announcement of his eighth child, Legendary Love, with the model Bre Tiesi, in July 2022, he decided to stop and reflect, starting a period that he has called “celibate.”

“My therapist was one of the [people] who said I should probably be celibate,” he said on his radio program. He maintained the decision for months. At some point, though, it ended, because in September 2022, he became the father for the ninth and tenth time, with the model Lanisha Cole (mother of Onyx Ice) and, again, with Brittany Bell (Rise Messiah). Baby number 11, Beautiful Zeppelin, arrived in November, his second child with Abby De La Rosa. And the last one, Halo Marie, came at the end of 2022 with Alyssa Scott.

Fatherhood has caused Cannon to reflect on his own shortcomings, and a few years ago, he decided to resume his education and go to college. He told Forbes that he felt a sense of “emptiness” when he saw his children go through the education process. In May 2020, he announced on Twitter that he had graduated from Howard University, an emblematic institution of African-American education, with a major in Criminology and Administration of Justice and a minor in African Studies.

From a street gang to a host on ‘The Masked Singer’

Aware of the interest in his private life, Cannon draws attention to his work whenever he can. His career began with Nickelodeon, the youth entertainment chain that also put celebrities like Ariana Grande on the map. In 1994, he was part of the cast of All That, which continued for 10 seasons. Since then, he has formed a career as an actor and host, with some forays into the music industry.

Nick Cannon alongside ‘Larry The Cable Guy’ on an episode of ‘The Masked Singer.’
Nick Cannon alongside ‘Larry The Cable Guy’ on an episode of ‘The Masked Singer.’FOX Image Collection/Getty Images

Before landing his first big TV contract, his youth had been complicated. His parents were just teenagers when they had him, and he was raised primarily by his paternal grandfather. His father was one of the founding members of the San Diego Lincoln Park Bloods gang and spent time in prison. There, he found religion, and upon his release, he moved to North Carolina. Nick joined his father there, where the senior Cannon had a public television show that awakened Nick’s interest in the entertainment world.

The teenager started performing stand-up in bars, and he met Jaime Foxx, who glimpsed Cannon’s potential and brought him into his circle of African-American friends. Among them was Will Smith, who Cannon has publicly thanked for his success: “He told me that I reminded him of him. …[Will] gave me a TV deal, a record deal, put me in Men in Black II. He was truly a mentor when I was 16 and always was a great example,” he said on The Howard Stern Show after Will Smith’s infamous slap at the 2022 Oscars.

In addition to Men in Black (2002), Cannon played the lead role in the 2002 film Drumline, but he rejected projects as notable as Crash, which won the Oscar for best film in 2006. The actor has spoken about how, in the early years of his career, he prioritized economically appealing contracts above others: “I was just trying to get my mom out the hood. I went for the money a lot of times. There were huge directors that wanted to meet with me, and I’d be like, ‘How much?’ I was so good that if I would have focused on my craft, things could have been different,” he told the LA Times.

At the beginning of the millennium, he formed part of the group of pop-culture celebrities led by Paris Hilton. He partied with the controversial heiress and her circle of friends, which included Kim Kardashian, with whom he had a relationship of a little over a year when the host was 26 and the Calabasas businesswoman 25. And though the major film roles continued to recede, he never lacked work.

Kim Kardashian and Nick Cannon at an event in Hollywood in October 2006.
Kim Kardashian and Nick Cannon at an event in Hollywood in October 2006.John Shearer (WireImage for William Rast / getty)

At 42 years old, he has a notable position in the entertainment industry. His family life is intense, and his work brings one project after another, whether on television or radio or in business. Today, he is a host on The Masked Singer, the successful South Korean show whose United States edition began in 2019. According to Cannon himself, he makes $10 million each season for the show. He also hosts Wild ‘N Out, a program for freestyle comics that was created in 2005 and now is on its 21st season on VH1. Cannon also owns sports-themed bars and restaurants around the US, as well as his own production company, Ncredible Studios.

Recently, he has appeared on the Fox program Beat Shazam, a game show presented by actor Jamie Foxx until his sudden hospitalization in April. Along with his friend Kevin Hart, Cannon just released Celebrity Prank Wars on Amazon Freevee. And he also hosts Counsel Culture, where he moderates conversations with men about current issues. He is also the face of a daily radio show, The Daily Cannon, released in April for Amazon’s application AMP. And in film, his latest role is a powerful agent on Hollywood Heist, a title which will also bring Alec Baldwin’s return to the big screen after the tragedy that occurred during the filming of Rust.

His professional commitments bring in earnings of $100 million a year, according to Cannon himself. His presence on television has made the artist a familiar face in the homes of families in the United States, who have also witnessed the growth of the host’s family off-screen.

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German word of the day: Basteln

What does basteln mean?

The German verb basteln means to engage in handicrafts or to tinker around with something. Though there isn’t a direct equivalent verb in English, the closest translations would be “to do handicrafts”, “to make” or “to tinker”.

Basteln is most commonly used to describe the kind of arts and crafts activities that children are particularly fond of, such as painting eggs or making puppets out of socks. But, of course, children aren’t the only ones who like to get make things, and DIY projects, or working with materials to create or repair objects also come under the umbrella of basteln

If you need to find a shop near you that sells the kind of materials you’d need for a Basteltag (craft day), you can search for online a Bastelladen (crafts store) or for Bastelbedarf (craft supplies).

The term basteln can also be used more generally to mean “to put something together”, usually at short notice. For example, if you find yourself having to throw together a last-minute presentation, you could say:

Ich kann aus diesen Dokumenten etwas basteln

I can put something together from these documents

Where does the word basteln come from?

The origin of the word is not entirely clear, but it is believed to be derived from the Middle High German besten, meaning “to knot” or “to tie up”. During the Middle Ages, the word besten was also used to refer to the handicraft work of laymen or craftsmen.

Over time, basteln evolved to mean the act of constructing or assembling something using simple and easily accessible materials. 

Use it like this: 

Basteln ist eine tolle Aktivität für die ganze Familie

Doing crafts is a great activity for the whole family

Er mag es zu basteln und mit seinen Händen zu arbeiten

He loves to do crafts and to work with his hands

Seit Tagen bastelt sie an ihrer Präsentation

She’s been tinkering with her presentation for days

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