In the end, the Academy was not cool enough to nominate Uncut Gems for any Oscars. But don’t worry, Adam Sandler got a gold man of his own, sort of. Yesterday the Safdie Brothers, the directors of Uncut Gems, released a short film online titled Goldman vs. Silverman. It was shot in Times Square while they were making Uncut Gems, making it a kind of unofficial spin-off, and is about a couple of street performers fighting for turf and tourist dollars. Besides co-directing with his brother Josh, Benny Safdie co-stars as Silverman, while Sandler plays Goldman. This is as close to a gold statue as Sandler is getting this year, sorry Gems Hive.
Compared to the plot of Uncut Gems, Goldman vs. Silverman is a totally harmless story, but it’s as tense and uptight and nervy as anything the Safdies do. The close-ups are TOO CLOSE, the anger feels a little too real, and it’s clear from watching the background that the tourists in Times Square think this is a real fight brewing between two legit street performers. Definitely watch this short twice—it’s only six minutes, so that’s no difficult task—once to absorb it and once to watch the background. I think one guy seen taking photos might have recognized Sandler, but everyone else looks varying degrees of mystified and uncomfortable. This is the trouble I have Safdie films. There is no denying the ability, but goddamn do their movies make me nervous— Uncut Gems gave me a stomachache. But this makes Goldman vs. Silverman a perfect litmus test for the Safdie Brothers. If you’re not sure their brand of confrontational, anxious filmmaking is for you, just watch this short. Does the palpable discomfort of everyone on screen make you want to peel your skin off? No? Then you’re good to go.
Check out Goldman vs. Silverman below:
Attached: Sandler with his wife Jackie at the Critics' Choice Awards the other night.