As insubstantial as they are, I really like Adam Sandler’s first two movies, Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore. They have an idiotic charm to them, and don’t take themselves too seriously.

I’ve still not bothered with The Wedding Singer, and it’s clear that by 1998 he was both out of ideas and getting stale with his sudden-anger shtick. So when I found The Waterboy on YouTube, I didn’t expect much.

In general, I was right. It has the same trite plot of every sports comedy ever (including Happy Gilmore), but his goofy-guy guffawing is just painful. However, four things did intrigue me, and fortunately there are just enough silly fun bits to keep it worthwhile. The unexpected highlights are:

1. D’Angelo Barksdale from The Wire

Where’s Wallace at? Apparently he’s in The Waterboy. Not only is the part of Bobby’s football buddy Derek played by Lawrence Gilliard Jr., but his last name is Wallace! How amusing is that?

2. Ed Norton’s girlfriend from American History X

This was a case of staring at the person for several minutes, gnashing my teeth, asking “Where do I know her from!?” Then it hit me: Bobby’s love interest Vicki is played by Fairuza Balk, who delivered a chillingly convincing performance as a neo-nazi around the same time The Waterboy came out.

3. “Tom Sawyer” by Rush

I was amused and confused when one of the many football montages was accompanied by Rush’s classic song Tom Sawyer. If they’re trying to make a cogent point about Bobby’s status as a person, I don’t get it.

4. “Block Rockin’ Beats” by The Chemical Brothers

But the award for Best Song in the Movie must go to the early appearance of the smash hit Block Rockin’ Beats by The Chemical Brothers. It’s so excellent — and works so well in the movie — that I’ll end with it (the song starts around 1:00):

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