I don't know why, for sure, but I do love these particular movies.
And that's saying something, especially considering the fact that I typically hate Adam Sandler movies. They make me cringe, my eye-rolls coming in waves. I think Grown Ups 2 was perhaps one of the worst movies we saw in 2013.
Sandler's on-screen persona is often that of the fraternity sophomore, the eternal Peter Pan, but trapped in a state of arrested development that wears thin when he repeats slapstick scenes one after the other. They're too broad, forced, and cheesy for my taste.
But Hotel Transylvania feels different.
Ironically (or logically and appropriately), I find that Sandler's kid movies are the strongest. Perhaps because he is one? Pixels and Bedtime Stories, for example, entertained me far more than Billy Madison or Happy Gilmore ever could. When he edits himself, censors his tastelessness while revealing his vulnerability, intelligence, and heart, it is a beautiful thing.
He's had a few scenes like that, yes. Doe-eyed and beguiling, yes. I know, I know, shocking, right? You're incredulous; I can tell.
When Sandler, the eternal kid, writes for kids, it can be great. When Sandler, the eternal kid, plays the farting and belching boy trapped in a man's body (with shorts that hang down to his calves and oversized shirts that double as tents and are adorned with numbers and writing all over them), it's a mess. And the older he gets, the creepier the mess.
But to the matter at hand, I suppose I enjoy the Hotel Transylvania schlock for four reasons:
1. I love the idea of a crazy hotel, particularly the sort with eccentric guests coming and going. It's very atmospheric and cozy, in the same way The Grand Budapest Hotel was, or the affecting Ten Little Indians or The Haunting, or 1963's classic The Terror. Yep...hotels, castles, mansions, apartment buildings, beds & breakfasts, trains, planes, snow-encapsulated cars, forts, bunkers, Alamos, submarines, laboratories, prisons, islands, mountain retreats, distant planets, space ships, elevators, safe rooms, safe houses, jury deliberation rooms, quarantined hospitals, catacombs beneath Paris, secret and labyrinthine gardens and paths that lead into hollows and hatch doors in the forest...they all hold the same potential for creating fun isolation and interior and resident atmosphere, whether spooky, bewitching, seductive, mysterious, familial, or Seinfeldian. Rosemary's Baby, anyone? Event Horizon, The Hunt for Red October, Alien, The Martian, The Island of Dr. Moreau, even Home Alone. You name it. As long as they don't leave or can't get out, it can become perfectly claustrophobic. "We're all in this together," as it were, whatever the set or location.
2. I love Dracula. What's not to love? Good grief, don't get me started. He stands the test of time!
3. I love Halloween, and autumn, and these movies inaugurate the season in earnest.
4. I love the fact that Lauren, Dawn, and I can see Hotel Transylvania without flinching.
Admittedly, it will be tough for the second installment to top the first, but here's hoping.
See you at the show.