A slick fielding little league shortstop playing for Island State Bank in the Patchogue Youth Athletic Association.
A teenage ferry boat worker going back and forth to Davis Park all summer.
And among the very brightest in Patchogue-Medford High School’s Class of 1984.
Jack Giarraputo was all about Patchogue — until he stepped on the campus of NYU and met Adam Sandler. The two became best friends, and later formed in Hollywood what became one of the world’s most lucrative film production companies, Happy Madison Productions.
Giarraputo — before his retirement from day-to-day film production in 2016 — saw his 30-plus Happy Madison flicks rake in more than $4 billion at the box office and become the highest grossing comedy film production company in the world.
Fourteen different Happy Madison films grossed more than $100 million each. Below is a roll call of those 14 — and six others — to round out Happy Madison’s top 20 grossing films.
We’ll start from the top.
(Stay tuned for the Honorable Mention pick at the bottom of the list.)
‘Grown Ups’ (2010)
Worldwide earnings: $271 million
Featuring a tremendously talented ensemble cast — Sandler, Selma Hayek, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade et al — “Grown Ups” absolutely blew up at the box office during summer 2010. This, in spite of movie critics pretty much unanimously panning the movie.
“Grown Ups” did win a pretty cool award at the MTV Movie Awards: Best Line from a Movie (“I want to get chocolate wasted”). The film tells a story of five lifelong friends who reunite for a July 4 weekend vacation with their families decades after the group won their junior high school basketball championship in 1978.
‘Grown Ups 2’ (2013)
Worldwide earnings: $247 million
Riding the wave of fandom established in the original, Sandler and most of the original cast reunited for more summertime tomfoolery. It was nominated for nine Golden Raspberry Awards, though Sandler did win the Favorite Movie Actor award at the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards.
Worldwide earnings: $245 million
Sandler and James star as the heroes, facing off against characters of nostalgic video games who are attacking unsuspecting Earthlings. Pac-Man and Donkey Kong are among the bad guys.
“It’s just a barrel. How bad can it hurt?” James’ character asks, just before Donkey Kong lets him know.
Worldwide earnings: $238 million
Half tear jerker, half hilarious, Sandler uses a magical remote control to fast-forward through the difficult parts of his life, only to reach the saddest of endings. Christopher Walken’s presence, as usual, is a treat. Kate Beckinsale plays Sandler’s wife.
‘Big Daddy’ (1999)
Worldwide earnings: $235 million
The seventh-highest grossing film of the year, “Big Daddy” netted Sandler the Worst Actor award at the Golden Razzies for his portrayal of single (adopting) father Sonny Koufax. He and Giarraputo cried all the way to the bank, as the movie opened in North America at No. 1 at the box office (pulling in $41.5 in its first weekend) and never looked back.