By Juan Barquin
By Amy Nicholson
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Travis Cohen
By Juan Barquin
By Stephanie Zacharek
By Amy Nicholson
By Juan Barquin
September 1987: Sandler joins Ken Ober, Colin Quinn, and Denis Leary as cast member on MTV's game show Remote Control.
Sometime in 1989: Sandler lands first starring role in a movie, playing stand-up comedian Shecky Moskowitz in director Valerie Breiman's Going Overboard. Movie is released straight to Betamax.
September 1991: Sandler joins cast of Saturday Night Live as a featured player; later he becomes a regular, alongside David Spade, Chris Farley, and Rob Schneider. America tunes in ... to watch Phil Hartman.
1994: Sandler stars alongside Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi in Airheads, which makes $5.37 million.
1995-1999: Sandler stars in and, in most cases, co-writes and/or coproduces Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, Bulletproof, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, and Big Daddy, which make a combined $490.6 million at the box office. He also produces Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo, starring Schneider, which costs $18 million and makes $65 million, despite the small fact that Schneider is as watchable as bunny-rabbit vivisection.
November 5, 2000: The Los Angeles Times reports that "Michael DeLuca, head of production at New Line, says Little Nicky can do for Sandler what Ghostbusters did for Bill Murray, meaning vault him into another stratosphere of box-office stardom."
November 12, 2000: Little Nicky -- produced by, co-written by, and starring Adam Sandler as the son of Satan -- opens on 2910 screens nationwide and makes $16 million in its opening weekend.
December 25, 2000: Little Nicky, now playing in only 151 theaters, pockets $46,006. Happy Hanukkah.
December 31, 2000; 11:53 p.m.: Adam Sandler attends a New Year's party at the home of David Spade. In attendance are Christopher Walken, Rosanna Arquette, Kid Rock, Fred Ward, Dennis Miller, Malcolm in the Middle's Dewey (ten-year-old Erik Per Sullivan), former SNL head writer Fred Wolf, TRL host Carson Daly, TV director Dennie Gordon, and Kevin Farley, who insists on being called "Lil' Chris." Drunk on peppermint schnapps, Sandler calls Amy Pascal, chairwoman of Columbia Pictures, and insists he can "shit out a movie within 24 hours" and have it make "craploads of wicked crazy cash," despite the fact that it will star Spade. Pascal, in the middle of a schvitz with Bette Midler and Howard Stern, approves a multimillion-dollar budget.
January 1, 2001; 1:15 a.m.: Wolf and Spade begin writing script for Joe Dirt, about a white-trash, mullet-wig-wearing orphan searching for his parents, who abandoned him during a trip to the Grand Canyon. Sandler, who will produce, suggests adding a scene in which a young Joe Dirt lights a cow's farts on fire.
January 1, 2001; 1:17 a.m.: Wolf and Spade complete the script. Sandler approves but adds a scene in which a dog's testicles are frozen to the front porch of a shotgun shack. During the script read-through, Miller compares Joe Dirt to the works of George S. Kaufman and Oscar Wilde "if they had their cerebellums removed with a pair of tweezers by a spastic Joey Mengele." Sandler, who has no idea what he means, agrees.
January 1, 2001; 5:18 a.m.: Filming commences on Joe Dirt. Spade calls Brittany Daniel -- star of his "all-time favorite television show," Sweet Valley High, and begs her to play Joe Dirt's would-be girlfriend, Brandy. Daniel agrees but only if Spade signs a contract in which he agrees "not to fondle, grope, or touch Daniel in any way, shape, or form." All kissing scenes will be handled by a stunt double.
January 1, 2001; 6:49 a.m.: Walken begins having doubts about appearing in the movie. He asks Sandler if Joe Dirt is a comedy or drama or "whatnot." Sandler replies that it doesn't make any difference, then reminds Walken of pictures he has of the actor "doin' that thing with that thing." Walken agrees to be in Joe Dirt, as a school janitor who's really a mobster in the federal Witness Relocation Program but only if he doesn't appear until the movie is nearly over. Spade and Wolf cut all but six of his lines, which Walken still manages to turn into five minutes' worth of dialogue.
January 1, 2001; 4:32 p.m.: Rosanna Arquette, who penned all her dialogue as a woman working at a gator farm, likewise decides to pull out of the project; she suggests sister Patricia, "who will appear in anything on a bet." Spade threatens to tell the tabloids of their drunken night together in 1996; she begrudgingly relents.
January 1, 2001; 6:15 p.m.: Joe Dirt goes into postproduction. Spade and Sandler insist the movie is "just as good" as Deuce Bigalow and Norm MacDonald's Dirty Work. Miller, reminding the duo of his work in Bordello of Blood and on Monday Night Football, suggests "more of me, even though people find me as likable as Bill Clinton at a cigar shop." At the last minute, Spade and Wolf add wraparound footage of Miller as a Los Angeles disc jockey interviewing Joe Dirt about his life story.
January 1, 2001; 6:17 p.m.: Miller's scenes are written, shot, and wrapped. Now Sandler thinks the movie is "just as good" as his own Waterboy. "It's wicked awesome," he suggests to Pascal in a phone call. Pascal, giving David Letterman a massage, agrees, though she's yet to see the movie.
January 1, 2001: 10:43 p.m.: Joe Dirt is edited and mixed, complete with soundtrack of Seventies superhits. Movie is finished, at long last. Columbia Pictures decides to release it the weekend of April 13. "Good Friday, my ass," Sandler tells Pascal, and they laugh all the way to the bank.
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