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Things Only Adults Notice In Hubie Halloween

The Sandman is back! After wowing audiences in 2019 with his dramatically stressful turn as Howie Ratner in the critically acclaimed Uncut Gems, Adam Sandler has returned to his usual comedic antics in Hubie Halloween. Sandler stars as Hubie DuBois, a resident of the town of Salem who has committed to keeping his fellow citizens safe, whether they like it or not. But trouble comes knocking at Hubie's door when on this particular Halloween, there's real danger lurking in the shadows. It's up to Hubie to solve this spooky mystery — and try to get the townspeople who love to hate him to finally believe the Hubie who cried wolf.

Continuing his string of Netflix Original films, Sandler's stupidly hilarious antics are more accessible than ever, with viewers of all ages able to laugh along with this Halloween-themed comedy. But Hubie Halloween contains some tidbits that are sure to only be picked up on by older viewers, especially those more familiar with Sandler's previous movies. So fill up your Swiss Army thermos and put on your best costume, because we're here to talk about things only adults notice in Hubie Halloween. Mild, spooky spoilers follow.

Hubie Halloween's director should be familiar to Sandler fans

Adam Sandler is known not only for the familiar faces that show up onscreen in his films, but also for having a consistent group of creatives behind the scenes writing and directing his comic escapades. Returning for Hubie Halloween is frequent co-writer Tim Herlihy, who has collaborated with Sandler on such classics as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, Little Nicky, and more, while his cadre of frequent directors includes Dennis Dugan (Happy Gilmore, Big Daddy, You Don't Mess With the Zohan), Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Click), and Peter Segal (Anger Management, 50 First Dates, The Longest Yard).

For Hubie Halloween, Sandler reunites with another of his frequent collaborators, director Steven Brill, who helmed previous Sandler vehicles Little Nicky, Mr. Deeds, The Do-Over, and Sandy Wexler. Brill has also brought his comedic direction to such non-Sandler projects as Heavyweights, Without a Paddle, and Drillbit Taylor. Sandler is nothing if not loyal to his collaborators, and Brill's work is a perfect match for the hijinks required for Hubie Halloween.

Sandler's first live-action holiday-themed movie

It seems hard to believe, but it's true; in the pantheon of Sandler comedies spanning more than a quarter of a century, none of his live-action movies have been specifically centered around any sort of holiday. This is definitely an even stranger thing to consider when you realize that this is the guy whose most famous musical contribution to the comedy world is arguably the definitive holiday anthem for Hanukkah.

Of course there's his animated Christmas/Hanukkah outing Eight Crazy Nights, but the closest thing to a live-action Sandler holiday flick would probably be Uncut Gems, if you're willing to call that a Passover movie (it's not too far of a reach, honestly). So it is something of a delight to have Sandler and company whip up a spooky adventure that's steeped in enough holiday lore that it's bound to become a new Halloween movie tradition.

Ben Stiller reprises a key Sandlerverse role

The first face you see in Hubie Halloween is certainly not one you would expect, but for longtime Sandler fans, it's a wonderful surprise to kick things off. Our story begins at the nearby mental asylum where the inciting event of the film takes place: the escape of a mental patient who's been locked up for many years. And the orderly who comes to check in on this patient is someone you might recall from a previous Sandler film.

It's none other than fellow comedy luminary Ben Stiller, reprising his role of Hal L., the fantastically deranged orderly who tortured Happy Gilmore's beloved grandmother in 1996's Happy Gilmore. He definitely should have lost his license by now, but all these years later, Hal L. is back, still as unhinged as ever, to introduce us to the spooktacular world that this film has in store.

The comedy legends filling out Hubie Halloween's supporting cast

If we've learned anything from Adam Sandler movies like the hit comedy Grown Ups and its sequel, the comedies released by Happy Madison Productions seem to sit halfway between genuine attempts at telling funny stories and thinly veiled excuses for Sandler to hang out in fun locations with his friends. Hubie Halloween certainly sits more in the former category, but as per usual, Sandler is joined by an impressive cohort of comedy compatriots to fill out the supporting cast.

Joining him this go-around are Sandler mainstays Kevin James as the local police chief, Steve Buscemi as the new next-door neighbor with a terrifying secret, and Tim Meadows as an old classmate of Huey's, plus Maya Rudolph as another classmate from Huey's past and Modern Family's Julie Bowen (who also starred opposite Sandler in Happy Madison) as Hubie's longtime crush Violet Valentine.

Hubie Halloween's dramatic surprises

Maybe nothing will top the era-defining performance that Al Pacino delivered as himself in Sandler's Jack and Jill (he should've gotten another Oscar for the "Dunkaccino" commercial alone), but it's always a joy to see Sandler pull in actors better known for starring in dramatic films and letting them flex their comedy chops in his movies. And Hubie Halloween is certainly no exception, with a variety of respected actors stepping up to the plate to prove their comedic bona fides.

Here we have Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Something Wild) as a Salem resident who loves to pick on Hubie, Michael Chiklis (The Shield, Fantastic Four) as the resident priest of Salem, and the lovable June Squibb (Academy Award nominee for Nebraska), who stars as Hubie's mother. Whether he's recruiting comedic heavyweights or dramatic powerhouses, Sandler knows how to stack his cast with the best of the best.

Tons of cameos

It isn't just the larger supporting cast lined up for Hubie Halloween that's filled with great comedians. Even the smallest one-line cameos are delivered by comedic stars who bring their A-game to the latest entry in the Sandlerverse, ensuring that each scene is as much fun for us as it looks like it was for the actors bringing these scenes to life.

Here's just a sample of the stars who fill out the rest of the ensemble cast: Stand-up comedian George Wallace plays the extremely stubborn town mayor, Colin Quinn pops up under lots of makeup as a blink-and-you'll-miss-him janitor, Breaking Bad favorite Lavell Crawford shows up as a hilariously despondent farmer, and Saturday Night Live veterans Kenan Thompson, Mikey Day, and Melissa Villasenor are all able to find their way into the proceedings and leave lasting impressions with their brief appearances. Critics may not always like his movies, but people clearly enjoy working with Adam Sandler.

Hubie's Swiss Army thermos

Adam Sandler has played a number of spectacularly foolish characters over the years, and that long-running tradition carries forward with the easily scared, overly cautious town laughingstock that is Hubie DuBois. Sandler's latest buffoon, with a voice as silly as his mustache, is doing his best to protect the town of Salem from any potential Halloween danger, even as his fellow citizens mock him at every possible moment.

One of the key features of Hubie's ensemble is his signature thermos — but instead of just keeping things at temperature, this is one accessory that holds more secrets than one could possibly imagine. Throughout the film, Hubie uses his miraculously complex drinking vessel as an umbrella, a vacuum cleaner, a telescope, a trowel, a drill, a flashlight, a grappling hook, a megaphone, and, naturally, a handy-dandy thermos. If there's one thing you can say about Hubie DuBois, he's always prepared.

O'Doyle still rules!

Not only does Hubie Halloween provide evidence of taking place in the Happy Gilmore universe with Hal L.'s appearance, but there seems to be firm proof that this film shares a world with another early career-defining Sandler hit. As previously established, Hubie DuBois is something close to the town pariah. Even the local kids know that making fun of Hubie is a Salem tradition, and a certain Salem child appears to be part of a family that knows a little too much about making fun of Adam Sandler characters.

You can faintly hear it early on, but when a group of kids who've been harassing Hubie start to ride off on their bikes, you can hear one of them yell "O'Doyle rules!" That's right, it's yet another member of the accursed O'Doyle family from Billy Madison who made Billy's life a living hell. They've somehow found their way to Salem to continue their tradition of picking on Adam Sandler characters, but as always, the guy Sandler plays winds up triumphant in the end.

Shaq is back

As well as packing his films with comedy stars and surprising dramatic actors, Sandler is also well known for throwing sports luminaries into his movies — presumably to give him the chance to have fun with some athlete friends. The list of sports stars who've popped up in previous Sandler movies includes Dan Marino, Dan Patrick, John McEnroe... and Shaquille O'Neal, whose role in Hubie Halloween is slightly different than you might expect.

Throughout much of the film, Hubie is seen listening to the local radio station WTCH — specifically enjoying the dulcet tones of the spooky, seductively voiced disc jockey known only as Aurora. But in a classic comedy spin that maybe we should've seen coming, that voice is actually coming from none other than Shaq himself, creating a visual dissonance that makes for one of the film's goofier comic premises — and one of the film's more unexpected cameo appearances.

One last surprise cast member

One of the biggest mysteries throughout Hubie Halloween is the identity of the escaped mental patient roaming the streets of Salem wearing a pig mask. As he continues to wander through the town, citizens are being kidnapped left and right, and only Hubie has the wherewithal to try and solve this mystery once and for all. Suffice it to say, major spoilers coming up in the next paragraph for anyone who doesn't already know who this mystery asylum escapee really is.

If you know your Adam Sandler comedies, you know that there's a certain Sandler collaborator whose name has yet to appear on this list, and for good reason: Hiding behind that pig mask is asylum escapee Richie Hartman, played by none other than Rob Schneider, one of Sandler's most frequent comedic co-stars. His late appearance in the film sets us up for the final shocking revelation of who's been causing all the mischief in Salem — a mystery that you'll just have to watch Hubie Halloween to solve.

Is Hubie Halloween a threat made good?

Those who were following the awards season conversation in 2019 may have stumbled upon a comment made by Adam Sandler along the campaign trail for his fantastic dramatic outing Uncut Gems. With this film being the closest he'd ever been to Oscar gold, Sandler spilled the beans in an interview with Howard Stern about what might happen if he didn't win. "If I don't get it, I'm going to f***ing come back and do one again that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay," he quipped. "That's how I get them."

Even though Sandler did win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Leading Actor for Uncut Gems, he sadly did not win an Oscar, let alone get nominated. So we have to wonder: Is Hubie Halloween the film that Sandler warned he would make to get his revenge? It's certainly not for everyone, but it would be hard to argue that it belongs on a list of Sandler's worst movies. Hubie Halloween has enough silly voices, solid performances, and genuinely heartfelt moments to make this a worthy new addition to the Sandler comedy canon.