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An Escapist Vacation Guide Through Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Movies

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No entertainer is a bigger fan of baggy clothes and vacations than Adam Sandler. In a legitimately brilliant mix of capitalism and work days that require getting hit in the nuts a few times, the head honcho behind film production company Happy Madison has found a way to mix business with sightseeing and staying at the nicest resorts, all on the dime of major studios like Netflix.

There’s no better time, then, to vacation vicariously through Sandler’s movies than during a pandemic. Across numerous films in the Happy Madison filmography, he’s provided what is virtually a vacation cinematic universe, starring a bunch of gorgeous tourist spots and his friends David Spade, Kevin James, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Rob Schneider and more. Bright sunlight, product placement (sometimes for Pepto Bismol) and comedic sequences built around watching Sandler and his on-screen family get a little tropical R&R is practically guaranteed. 

In honor of Happy Madison’s special dedication to cinematic escapism, we’re looking back at the most major trips that Sandler’s company has put together for his friends and, to a much lesser extent, your entertainment.

Honolulu, Hawaii, ‘50 First Dates’ 

This isn’t a vacation movie for one of Sandler’s characters, but 2004’s 50 First Dates warrants inclusion here, because this is where the tradition of Sandler’s paid vacations started. The original script was supposed to take place in Seattle, and naturally, it was Sandler’s idea to put it in a different place. “Yeah, that’s a very artistic idea,” he was told. And thus, 50 First Dates was rewritten for the sunnier cafes and homes of the island of Oahu, in and around the likes of Kaneohe, Ka’a’awa, Wahiawa, Honolulu and Kāne’ohe Bay. Given the film’s loving depiction of Hawaii as a place to live and not just visit for a few days, it’s no coincidence that this is one of Sandler’s sweetest movies.

Maui, Hawaii, ‘Just Go With It’ 

Sandler returned to Hawaii for a second film vacation with 2011’s Just Go With It, in which he plays a cranky plastic surgeon who wants to manipulate a younger woman (Alice Eve) into being with him, which he does by also manipulating a co-worker (Jennifer Aniston) and her two kids to pretend to be his ex-wife and children, respectively. This movie heads for the Waldorf Astoria’s Grand Wailea Resort around 45 minutes in, because where else are you going to try to execute a scheme of having a fake family and ex-wife? 

Much of the bonding takes place on the resort grounds, but there is one adventure sequence that has them kayaking, hiking and going to a waterfall at Kilauea Falls, which is actually on a different island. There’s a lot of cringeworthy stuff about this movie, but the worst might be that it offers further evidence that Sandler is a resort vacationer — even if he’s in a beguiling place like Maui, he’d prefer to just hang out by the pool. 

Royal Caribbean Cruise, ‘Jack and Jill’

In 2011, Sandler was able to get his on-screen family (and presumably his real-life one) on a cruise ship that was still in its pre-inaugural celebrations. Jack and Jill stars two Sandlers as feuding twins, but it gives the most loving screen time to Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, which is now one of the world’s largest cruise ships. True to what one of Sandler’s on-screen progeny exclaims, “This boat has everything!,” including mini-golf, an all-you-can-eat buffet, a gym, a giant pool, rock climbing, a carousel and more (all of this is shown in the movie — you know, for narrative purposes). The commercial intent was so heavy that Royal Caribbean even offered one lucky winner their own Jack and Jill inspired cruise vacation, presumably without Al Pacino making an appearance via helicopter.   

Sun City, South Africa, ‘Blended’

The farthest that Sandler has taken his Happy Madison crew was for Blended, a 2014 family comedy (starring Sandler and Drew Barrymore) about single parents whose families become enmeshed together. Like with other Happy Madison projects, the star of this movie is the resort, which in this case is the Lost City at Sun City Resort. The activities are a mix of Happy Madison shenanigans (accidentally seeing two rhinos fuck; watching monkeys play a ramshackle rendition of “Careless Whisper”; and a slew of stereotypical images of Africans) and actual resort activities, like dinner at the Crystal Court. In one of the more shameless plugs in Happy Madison lore — maybe even worse than Jack and Jill — they even take time to show off the resort’s jungle play zone, nightly pool party and disco. 

Still, the shoot wasn’t without its dangers. On Late Night with David Letterman, Sandler talked about how he was offered to give water to a cheetah. But when he bent over, the cheetah attacked him from behind — you can see it all on video. 

Las Vegas, ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’

After saving a New Jersey mall from skateboarding thieves, the next adventure for Kevin James’ vigilante takes him to Steve Wynn’s 2005-established Wynn Casino, where Blart gets to play tourist for a security cop convention, even though his heroics are inevitably called upon (never forget the age-old Blart credo: “Security is a mission, not an intermission.”) The antics that take place in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (which Sandler produced) are all based in the Wynn and its sister tower, the Encore, putting Blart in front of a plate of double chicken parm at the Bartolotta restaurant (now known as the Costa di Mare), or showing off his Segway skills in the Wynn esplanade, in clear view of Cartier and Dior stores. And while evading some bad guys, Blart finds himself at the center of the casino’s resident Cirque du Soleil production La Rêve, an aquatic show on the premises. 

But you have to wait until the end to see the guy who made it all happen — Steve Wynn. He appears in a wordless cameo opposite James, playing the meta role of “guy who hands over a big check.” 

Puerto Rico, ‘The Do-Over’ 

David Spade and Sandler buddied up for 2016’s The Do-Over, a type of faked-death fantasy that calls for a different kind of getaway. The key to their reinvention is taking on the lives of people who live in Puerto Rico, so cue the montage of Old San Juan, which includes a drone shot over the amazing Castillo San Felipe del Morro that lies on the edge of the city, and images of women in bikinis. In true Happy Madison fashion, the sense of local culture is essentially, and sadly, abandoned from there. Instead, Puerto Rico gets a bleaker significance — a means for their middle-aged men to take a vacation from their sad-sack existence. 

Milan, Italy, ‘Murder Mystery’

It’s a little surprising that Sandler hasn’t embraced European vacations more, as the sightseeing in the unmistakably titled Murder Mystery is genuinely fun, and it inspires more excitement than just watching Sandler and his friends hang out in a super fancy hotel. Murder Mystery has Sandler and Aniston (as two long-married people thrown into a, well, you know) begin their accidental yacht adventure in the gorgeous port town of Santa Margherita Ligure. The script’s whodunit scenario then transplants everyone to the picturesque Milan (which does stand-in work for Monaco) and later to Lake Como, where Sandler takes part in a rare chase scene that ends with him tripping and crashing into a cart. And for all of you fans of the Italian buildings also used in Ocean’s Twelve, the climax of the movie was shot at Villa Erba, a 19th century lakefront property that you can only visit if you’re a part of a wedding there.

Oahu, Hawaii, ‘The Wrong Missy’ 

Spade wasn’t a part of 50 First Dates or Just Go With It, so he got a Hawaiian getaway with The Wrong Missy, a movie that has him and comedian Lauren Lapkus slap-sticking around the Four Seasons Resort Oahu, at Ko Olina. In this most recent Happy Madison Netflix comedy, Spade is an uptight business guy who accidentally invites a different Melissa than he intended to a work retreat. Beach-side, pool-side and shadow-dancing antics then ensue. 

Heavy sigh. 

While much of the movie takes place at the hotel, there’s a historic shark scene (at least within the history of nautical vomiting), in which Spade is in a shark cage with his boss. Part of the scene is thanks to a real tourism company in Oahu, Dolphins and You. As they affirm on their website: “We’ve never seen a large shark in the water … we promise our practices are much more sanitary. On a real Dolphins and You tour, there’s a lot more dancing, a lot more culture and a lot more dolphins!” 

For all of Sandler’s cultural tone-deafness and creative license, hopefully at least tourism businesses like Dolphins for You, and locales like Oahu, Puerto Rico and South Africa benefit from serving as Happy Madison backdrops. When we can all actually go on vacation again, that is.

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Man, I feel like a woman! – brunch feature

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Pink is for girls, blue is for boys. This is where the narrative for gender identity begins. Wrapped in a colour specific blanket, the newborn is welcomed to a world where a gender stereotype is ready for them.

So, when iconic designer Gaurav Gupta opened FDCI’s India Couture Week this month with an inclusive show titled Name is Love that incorporated people of all genders, body types and sexualities walking in his trademark sculptured silhouettes, it brought the focus to the fact that fashion has no gender and love has no gender.

Personally, I don’t fit the standard sizes for menswear. And as much as I love neutrals, I don’t fear colour or prints. So quite naturally, it becomes easier to shop in the women’s section for better fit. But every time I rummage through the racks in a store, a polite store executive walks up to me and says, “Sir, the men’s section is that way.”

To bring to light that gender neutrality in fashion isn’t an alien idea, I picked six different outfits by six friends who have cracked the concept. Take a look.

Sheer joy

Sumiran Kabir Sharma, creative director of the non-binary label, Anaam, has fearlessly worn what may conventionally be perceived as womenswear. This confidence in himself sparks a reaction that says, “Why can’t men wear sheer?”

“The most noticeable change of this decade is that menswear has become fluid” —Akshay Tyagi, Celebrity stylist

“I believe in the connection between the artist and his art. When I was in design school, I used my body as a canvas instead of a mannequin. But this actually started in my childhood, when I started exploring neutrality by trying my sister’s clothes or draping table cloths and curtains over myself. My label started very clearly as a movement, not as a business. I’m glad that non-binary fashion has made a noise but it still reaches a niche market. To create a more sustainable impact, gender studies need to be actively introduced in schools,” he says.

Sumiran Kabir Sharma’s non-binary label Anaam offers sheer outfits for men too

Sumiran Kabir Sharma’s non-binary label Anaam offers sheer outfits for men too

My true confession: Earlier this year, I wore a sheer jacket but over a fitted black tee because I wasn’t fit enough. This gave me an incentive to workout so I can wear just the sheer without fear!

Marilyn Monroe moment for men

Siddharta Tytler recently shot his campaign with male models in skirts. “They were on the fence when they saw the outfits, but once they wore the skirts, they were twirling all over the place!” he says about the models. “Today, men wear kilts with fitted jeans under them and closer home, the lungi is a pallu-less sari or a wraparound skirt in a way.”

“Today, if a man wears a suit and teams it with a pussy bow, for me that is progress towards neutrality. In the last few years, the lines are getting blurred and hopefully this trend is here to stay,” he says.

Siddharta Tytler’s campaign features men in skirts

Siddharta Tytler’s campaign features men in skirts

“Today, if a man wears a suit with a pussy bow, for me that is progress towards neutrality” ­—Siddharta Tytler

My true confession: The only time I’ve worn a skirt is probably as a contemporary dance costume as a performer with Shiamak Davar. While it may not have found its way into my wardrobe, I’ve seen some men who are inspiringly comfortable in them.

It ‘suits’ everyone

Suket Dhir, whose design aesthetic defines the subtlety of Indian culture, gives a nod to the pantsuit and blazer. “They are a hundred per cent neutral. Men and women both look amazing in them; in fact, women look even better!” he says.

“I believe in the concept that the individual is a sovereign. The only thing we have control over is our own body and mind and that too in the now. For me, it is not about gender or sexuality, it’s about an individual.”

According to Suket Dhir, women look even better in suits than men!

According to Suket Dhir, women look even better in suits than men!

His journey towards incorporating neutrality in his collection began at home. “My wife starting taking clothes from my wardrobe and that got me thinking, why don’t I make them in women’s sizes? While the label is clearly menswear, it can easily be adapted for women. Fashion isn’t about segregation, it’s about beautiful clothes for beautiful people.”

My true confession: I’ve never been able to walk into a store and find a suit my size. So, I go to the women’s section and buy an oversized blazer and getcustom-made trousers!

Take the plunge

For singer, performer and iconic drag queen Sushant Divgikr, deep necks and plunging necklines are for everyone. “Not only in the entertainment industry, but everywhere.” Men with great bodies drop a couple of buttons on their shirt or even wear a deep V-neck tee, so this does fall under the purview of fluid fashion

Singer,performer and drag queen Sushant Divgikr says deep necks and plunging necklines are for everyone

Singer,performer and drag queen Sushant Divgikr says deep necks and plunging necklines are for everyone

“Millennials have a stronger world view with easier access to information. Closer home, gender neutrality has been part of our culture forever; just revisit our scriptures to understand the acceptance of fluidity,” he says. “No one has the right to tell you what you must wear. Of course, there needs to be public decency but beyond that personal expression is subject to interpretation.”

My true confession: I’ve seen gym-fit boys wear “cleave showing” tees with absolute ease. So, I adapted my own version of a V-neck oversized shirts that work very well!

The whole nine yards

Celebrity stylist Akshay Tyagi gives us a historical insight into the dhoti as “the most neutral piece of clothing that exists in India. Our fabric history started from there.”

“Historically, we’ve had shared silhouettes, that became rigid over the years” —Urvashi Kaur

“Till the 1980s, men were wearing crop tops and women were wearing oversized blazers. Then, through the ’90s and early 2000s, the concept of neutrality lost its identity. Over the last 10 years, people have wanted to embrace their individuality. The most noticeable change of this decade is that menswear has become fluid,” he says.

Does he feel that the barriers of gender specific shopping sections will break? “Currently, this may seem like wishful thinking. The sections are more about stocking and organisational convenience than anything else. But niche boutiques and designers are moving there, which does give us hope.”

Ashim Gulati in a gender fluid outfit styled by Akshay Tyagi

Ashim Gulati in a gender fluid outfit styled by Akshay Tyagi

Some of Akshay’s A-list clientele may or may not embrace non-binary fashion, he says. “If gender neutral clothing doesn’t resonate with their personality, it would come across as gimmicky.”

My true confession: As a child, I’d watch my mother dress and make my own sari with a dupatta. Though I may not wear a sari in its literal form now, I don’t shy away from using the yardage as a lungi or a dhoti.

A ‘cover up’

While most of what designer Urvashi Kaur makes is gender fluid, the concept of duality is visible in her campaigns. So any form of outerwear, whether jackets or dupattas, is for all genders.

Outerwear created by Urvashi Kaur is gender-fluid

Outerwear created by Urvashi Kaur is gender-fluid

“The concept of fluidity has been around since mythological times. Like most things, this idea of neutrality in terms of gender is also cyclical and has gone through a metamorphosis. Historically, we have had shared silhouettes, which over the years became more rigid. Deeper issues such as toxic masculinity and the suppression of women also found their manifestation in this segregation. We continue to rely on societal norms dictating how we dress, thereby limiting our perspective on gender fluid fashion,” she says.

My true confession: Whether it’s a pashmina or a cape, a trench or an overcoat, there is something for everyone. My wardrobe is packed with outerwear bought from around the world from every section!

Bharat Gupta is a fashion commentator, consultant and stylist

From HT Brunch, September 27, 2020

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Kendall Jenner Leaves a Fitting While Out in Milan | Kendall Jenner

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Sat, 26 September 2020 at 10:16 pm

Kendall Jenner Leaves a Fitting While Out in Milan

Kendall Jenner is in Milan for Fashion Week!

The 24-year-old model made her way back to her ride after leaving a fitting with Versace on Saturday afternoon (September 26) in Milan, Italy.

PHOTOS: Check out the latest pics of Kendall Jenner

For her day outing, Kendall was seen with wet hair while wearing a long, brown dress paired with boots and tan face mask.

A few days before, Kendall stepped out wearing a “VOTE” mask while on a juice run in Los Angeles.

Earlier this month, Kendall was spotted out on a dinner date with her rumored boyfriend.

Kendall recently gave a tour of her stunning home in L.A. – watch here!

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Tired of dressing down? McCord Museum’s Dior exhibit gives taste of high fashion

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MONTREAL —
More Montrealers may be dressing down these days while they work from home, but the McCord Museum is giving visitors a taste of high fashion.

A new exhibit is dedicated to the famed designer Christian Dior.

“Dior opened 17 months after World War II. There was still rationing, no textiles and what he was suggesting is the antithesis to wartime style,” said Alexandra Palmer of the Royal Ontario Museum.

Palmer credited Dior with helping to restart many smaller industries that had been dormant during the war.

“There were beaders, embroiderers, textile makers, manufacturers. All these people come together and make the dress,” she said. “You can’t have fabulous fashion unless you have access to amazing materials.”

The display includes 40 garments on loan from the Royal Ontario Museum, as well as the McCord’s own well-preserved collection of 11 dresses.

“The silk satins of the 1950s are today blended with rayon or acetate, modern synthetic fabrics,” said curator Cynthia Cooper. “It’s very difficult today to fidn something that replicates fabrics used in that period.”

The Christian Dior exhibition runs until Jan. 3, 2021.  

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