Tooncrap #23 - Eight Crazy Nights

One Crappy Film
Columbia Pictures: 2002

Written by: Raymond Gallant

The holidays are here once again. It's that magic time of the year where I sit back, relax and enjoy the worst in Christmas schlock. Although this year, I'm bucking the trend a tad. It's time to look at something that doesn't involve the fat man in the red suit. Instead we're looking at the 2002 Hanukkah film Eight Crazy Nights.

There was a time when the announcement of an Adam Sandler film didn't lead to the internet recoiling in disgust. And to be fair, while juvenile and goofy, his older works like Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore are still enjoyable. Even if the majority of the film is just stupid babble talk Sandler and a cadre of questionably offensive bits.

But by the time Little Nicky came about, it was becoming clear that the Sandler shtick for most was wearing thin. With the creation of Sandler's own company Happy Madison, it meant that more films starring Sandler's less funny buddies would be released, and more awful Sandler films would be an at least one per year given.

And in 2002, we would get Sandler's first foray into the animated world with "Eight Crazy Nights". A film that proudly proclaimed itself as a the first big Hanukkah film. And what with one of Adam Sandler's biggest successes being "the Hanukkah Song", clearly this was a wise decision all around. However, instead of something that Jewish people and non-Jewish people alike could cherish with their families, we get something that's not only unsuitable for children, but something that's really not suitable for almost anyone.

So let's like the menorah, and then light this film in flames. Let's review this thing.

We open our film with Rob Schneider as our narrator telling us about how Hanukkah season is the greatest time of the year, and that pretty much everyone loves it, except for this one guy who lives in the town of Dukesberry named Davey Stone (played by Sandler). Davey is a self centered slob who treats everyone like crap.

He sort of falls in between the main three types of comedy Adam Sandler. There's the one he uses more nowadays, which is him as a rich guy who usually has a hot wife, or gets a hot girlfriend. We have our massive asshole character that you know will probably change his tune by the time the film comes to the end, like Davey. And then there's full on SHLABBADY DOOBADY, when he's just a babbling schlub.

Davey is drinking down scorpion bowls at the local Chinese restraurant, and acting piggish, much to the disgust of Chinese Rob Schneider. And yes, Rob's portrayal is pretty offensive...

But he would eventually top himself in terms of offensive Chinese stereotypes in the surprisingly worse I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

The cops catch Davey trying to drive while drunk, and he sarcastically says he was saying goodnight to his car. This follows with him dry humping his car and talking seductively to it. Because I guess it hasn't been made clear enough that Davey is a bit of a jackass.

This is made even more evident as Davey tried to dine and dash. This leads to him being chased by the cops. And because this is a holiday cartoon, it needs to be a musical. As Davey avoids the cops he sings about how he doesn't celebrate the holidays, and how he's a piggish jerk.

Like we needed a big song to realize this already. The first three minutes of this film said it best before we suddenly get singing. But in case it wasn't made clear enough to you that Davey is a prick, we get him stealing a snowmobile, egging people, and being the nuisance of the town.

Davey eventually gets arrested for his recklessness. At court the judge gives some exposition that Davey at one point was a good kid, and was like the ultimate greatest player for the local kids Jewish basketball team. However due to Davey's constant lewdness, the judge plans to throw the book at him hard. Knowing Davey, he'd probably rub his dick on the book then wipe has ass with the pages. Because if it hasn't been spelled out by now, Davey's an asshole.
And then... it arrives.

A short man with a small foot named Whitey tries to defend Davey. And yes, Whitey is played by Adam Sandler. I've seen a lot of people have no clue where the hell Whitey came from. Funny thing is before I saw this film in '02, I knew where he originated from.

One of the tracks on Adam Sandler's last comedy CD "Stan and Judy's Kid" contains a track called "Whitey" which is the adventures of a short man with a smaller left foot and a massive fetish for the mall. So I wasn't completely caught off guard by this character being in the film. It doesn't change the fact that Whitey is an annoying character. From his voice to his seizures (which are supposed to be played for laughs), to his even more annoying fraternal twin sister. But I'm getting ahead of myself on the Whitey issue.

Also he has a hairy ass for some reason. I guess that's why they call him Whitey? It's funny because laugh? Screw it, it's shlock value.

We learn through more exposition that Whitey is the referee for the youth basketball team, and it's his last year due to him turning 70 next year (also, he's 69 years old. Something tells me that was an intentional joke). Since Whitey knew Davey when he wasn't a hell spawn, he wants to have him be a referee in training to see if it will help him change his immoral ways. The judge gives Whitey a shot with the condition that if Davey fails to cooperate, and breaks another law, he'll be sentenced to ten years in prison.

We get to the stadium for the basketball game. Davey continues to treat Whitey like a little white turd, while Whitey tries to take it all in stride. It's here we also learn that Whitey has been trying for years to earn the town's highest honor, a patch for the town's all-star. Essentially the best person in town. But things with Davey don't turn out too well. He mocks a fat kid, gets the crowd to throw food at him, which leads to Whitey having a seizure.

Ha, it's funny because he might die.

Disappointed with Davey's ref job, Whitey takes him to the only place he loves more than the basketball court, the mall. And if you think Chinese Rob Schneider and seizures were the worst thing about this film, well then we've reached the true point of no return. Because this whole segment is pretty much here to pay lip service to every store imaginable. Whitey gives the ultimate rhyming blowjob to everything from Sharper Image and Radio Shack to Dunkin Donuts and Panda Express. And if you think "well, this is a one time thing so it's not that big a deal", stay tuned. It gets better.

While at the mall we're introduced to a woman named Jennifer that Davey used to know as a kid. Which leads us to our first flashback to when Davey was actually a nice kid, who was well adored by everyone, including his parents.
After talking with mayor Kevin Nealon, Whitey begins to believe that he may have a chance to win the patch. This leads to... oh god no...

A song from Whitey, about the big banquet and how he'll finally have that patch. This is followed with visuals of a woman with three breasts and men in white tuxes pissing their pants. I will give the movie this, they knew Whitey singing wasnt torture enough, so they upped the ante with more gross out humor that mostly doesn't click.

On the drive home, Whitey learns that Davey stole peanut brittle from the mall. Which leads to Whitey...

You guessed it!

Davey leaves Whitey stuck in the snow as he continues his holiday humbuggery in his trailer. We see an envelope addresed to him from his parents, and you can slowly clue together what may have happened to set Davey into this downward spiral. Whitey gets a push from some reindeer and is on his way home to his fraternal twin sister Eleanor.

And holy shit she's worse than Whitey. I mean, I can sorta live with Jackass Adam Sandler, and short annoying voiced seizure-y Adam Sandler, but annoying voiced hypochondriac Adam Sandler may be where I draw the line here. We also learn a bit more about Whitey that he takes odd jobs to make ends meet, and he is often treated like crap.

And speaking of crap, as if we didn't need more reasons to find Davey to be a douchebag, he sends Whitey rolling down a hill inside a port-a-john, and then hoses him down, which causes Whitey to be frozen throughout the night. At this point, even if you don't have any real respect for Whitey, you have to think that he should finally call the cops on Davey. But because he wants that patch so badly, he's really trying his damnedest to deal with this devil.

And because we haven't gone five minutes without gross out humor, Whitey gets saved by the reindeer who lick off the shit covered ice to free him. hey, literal tooncrap!

Whitey's next plan to try to turn Davey around is to give him a refresher on how to play basketball. Davey ends up being challenged to a game of shirts vs skins where the loser has to eat the jock strap of a fat guy. So Davey teams with Whitey and Jennifer's son Benjamin, and...

Ha. Ha Ha. HA! Nope. I can buy a lot of the over the top crap in this film, but Adam Sandler being that well built, even for a cartoon, is something I can't buy. Especially since we're led to believe that Davey Stone is an alcoholic slob that doesn't care about other people or himself. So I highly doubt he eats well and is overly concerned about self image. That just feels like somehting Adam suggested because god forbid the almighty Sandler not look like a slob, despite that being the character he's playing in this film.

And Davey is of course a god of the court, managing to easily win the challenge. While he's still a bad influence on Benjamin, this is the first time in the film where god help it, he's not trying to be the biggest jerk off in town. But since he was a bad influence, Jennifer is none to happy with him.

But since she's the main love interest this leads to a song with both of them that's kind of forgettable to remind us some more that hey, Davey wasn't always a jackass. And you know, it would actually be a touching scene, with all the footage about how they used to be in love and such, if they didn't have Whitey singing about gross things involving Eleanor, or how Mayor Nealon's wife used to be a man, and over juvenile crap.

And that's the problem that really sticks this film in the gut. There IS an actual interesting story involved within it, but because this is Happy Madison, you can't go two minutes with some sort of bodily joke, or gay joke, or anything that is bottom of the barrel humor. And that is the majority of the film, and it keeps it from ever making you turn your opinion around on it.

The song is interrupted as we see that the guy from the basketball game (who is still eating the jock strap for some reason) has set Davey's house on fire. Davey manages to save the letter from his parents before his place goes up in smoke. Since Whitey is too charitable for his own good, he lets Davey stay with him, much to the chagrin of Eleanor. When asked about staying with his parents, he reveals to her that they died, which we've pretty much guessed was the case. And it's back to Davey being a piggish louse.

Which leads us to our next song. Which is both Whitey and Eleanor telling Davey that any misbehavior is a technical foul. It's more of a song than the first Whitey song, and isn't entirely filled with potty humor like it either. But still, it's Adam doing screechy voices that makes you want to pop your eardrums. After that it's a montage of Davey actually getting along with the two of them. And it even has a scene where Whitey...

You guessed it! And it's still not funny!

So now we finally get to the story involving Davey's past, and what turned him from good kid to amoral assclown. Whitey tells us how Davey managed to once save his basketball team from a 24 point loss to eventually win the game. However, on the way to the game his parents died in a car accident, which explains Davey's downward spiral. It is a sad moment, and it definitely adds some weight to Davey's character. But this moment would actually feel bad if, you know, Whitey wasn't the one narrating it. Kind of takes the piss out of the moment when your comic relief is the one talking about it.

Being reminded of the situation gets Davey in an uproar, and he lashes out by mocking Whitey's devotion to wanting the patch, ripping off Eleanor's wig, and leaving in a huff. Whitey kicks Davey out, and focuses on the banquet. While Davey is back to his drunken ways. He breaks into the mall to yell about how Jennifer is constantly looking down on him. But his drunken anger is interrupted by, and I shit you not...

All of the mall's mascots coming to life to give Davey an intervention.

As if the product placement from earlier couldn't get any more blatant, we suddenly have living mascots who are concerned about the well being of our main protagonist. This is easily the worst use of mascots for products in a cartoon ever.

What are you talking about? What's "Foodfight"?

So the Footlocker ref, the panda from Panda Express, a talking radio from Radio Shack, and more famous stores that are most likely long since dead try to convince Davey to finally let his emotions go. And of course, it's in the form of a song.

Thank god Davey's not suddenly into drugs or they'd probably try to kill him Cartoon All-Stars style.

But when he finally reads the message from his parents in the Hanukkah card, his emotions are finally set free and he can finally let it go.

This is going to happen every time, isn't it?

Davey manages to avoid the cops as we head to the big banquet. Mayor Nealon tells a joke apparently so good, it makes everyone shit themselves. Even the deer. Because again, we've been bombarded with enough actual emotion in this film that we need to reign that all in and get back to the schlock.

As Davey is on the bus to freedom, the tires pop, and he ends up right in front of the banquet, just as the patch is about to be rewarded. And if you think it's actually going to go to Whitey, well you would be absolutely frigging wrong. It instead goes to...

Hook handed billionaire Jon Lovitz? Wait what?

Unhappy with the result, Davey barges in to tell everyone how wrong they were with their decision, and for all the generous acts Whitey has done for the town for the past 35 years, and how he was the worst offender to him. And of course, he does this through song that shows just how the entire town pretty much shat on him for his entire life.

The still crushed Whitey decides to take solace at the closed Mall, where it turns out everyone shows up to finally give him the appreciation he sought after. He gets the 35th patch, along with all the other patches. Davey does the right thing, Whitey gets his moment, Jennifer and Davey may be an item (they never really make that too clear), and we end the film with...


Eight Crazy Nights is a bad movie. Bad not so much for its story, which honestly isn't the worst ever. Davey does go through enough of a stage of progression that does make him somewhat likable at the end. And the animation isn't horrible either, as it was done by the same people behind the Iron Giant, which is also kind of sad when you think about it.

What makes it a bad movie is that first off, this doesn't feel like a Hanukkah film. It barely ever makes it any kind of deal. It always feels like a backdrop with constant reminders of oh yeah, our protagonist is Jewish. But the story is so muddled with annoying characters, unfunny and out of place toilet humor, and unnecessary songs. we spend so much time with Whitey's plight that it often overshadows the plight of the film's actual protagonist. The comedy also feels weak, even for Sandler works. There's never any real laugh out loud moments, only unfunny lowbrow humor that never feels fresh.

If it had shied further away from the traits of Happy Madison's works, fixed so much about the story, even focused on things that felt more in the background than they should have been (Davey and Jennifer's relationship being the main story thread that never felt like it developed like it should have), and even lowered the rating to maybe a PG, then you could have had something that maybe could have been looked at as something more than what it was. But sadly, it's just another shitty Sandler flick.

So here's to another Tooncrappy year. Have a happy holiday, and we'll be seeing you fine toonsters in 2015. Keep on Crappin'.