‘Billy Madison’ Turns 25 Years Old Today
Billy Madison turns 25 t-t-t-today, Junior! Adam Sandler’s breakout role as privileged man-child Billy Madison in Tamra Davis’ 1995 comedy is still considered by some to be his finest work. Sandler co-wrote the movie with collaborator Tim Herlihy, establishing a style that would later be emulated in movies like 1996’s Happy Gilmore and Big Daddy in 1999.
The premise of Billy Madison is elementary enough. In order to prove to his father that he’s fit enough to inherit his family’s Fortune 500 chain of hotels, 27 year-old Billy Madison goes back to school. No, not to college — back to first grade. He’s given two weeks in each grade, progressing all the way to senior year in high school. In the meantime, he develops a crush on a pretty teacher (Veronica Vaughn), gets in a dodgeball fight, and makes plenty of inappropriate jokes that go right over his classmates’ heads.
Upon his graduation, he sagely realizes he’s not the man for the job and passes Madison Hotels over to his father’s loyal operations manager, choosing to attend college instead. The movie received mixed reactions overall. For some, it was peak ’90s cult comedy. For others, Sandler’s performance was obnoxious enough to warrant detention.
Love it or hate it, Billy Madison is a hallmark of Sandler’s career. It’s half the namesake of his production company, Happy Madison Productions, which recently signed a new deal with Netflix to make four more films. 25 years later, things are looking good for the Sandman.
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