I don’t know the exact number of times I watched The Waterboy, but it has to be somewhere in the low zillions, but I still die laughing every time Farmer Fran reacts to seeing Bobby Boucher make his first explosive tackle on the football field.
Any fan of Adam Sandler’s comedies is sure to have the 1998 college football film around the top of their list. Though the film came out some 20 years ago, it still holds up remarkably well, mostly because of the sheer number of jokes that are squeezed out of every situation.
Now you might know the movie’s downright hilarious, but there’s probably a lot about the film you don’t know, even if you are a Waterboy superfan like I am. Here are some facts about this classic you’ll enjoy.
Kathy Bates was involved in the film because of family.
No, she isn’t related to Adam Sandler, but her niece was a huge fan of the comedian. The Misery star signed on to play Mama Boucher and thanks to Niece-Bates we were blessed with her on-screen rendition of an overbearing, football-hating mother.
Sandler had Winkler at “Chanukah Song.”
The Fonz wanted to act in a movie with Adam Sandler ever since he was involved with the former SNL standout’s smash comedy-song, “The Chanukah Song.” It’s crazy to think of anyone else playing the role, especially when you remember this classic scene.
Sandler did his football research.
You always hear crazy stories of method actors going to extreme lengths to research dramatic roles, but Sandler wanted to get his tackling right in The Waterboy so he decided to watch a Penn State linebacker by the name of Lavar Arrington play live. Arrington would later go on to play for the NY Giants.
The cheerleader outfits were the real deal.
The actual Boone High School in Orlando, Florida made an appearance in the film, thanks to the cheerleading squad’s generous donation. So if they always seemed super legitimate, that’s because they totally were.
They used two mules.
Finding an actor who can do it all is tough, even if you’re a mule. Which is why the producers behind the film employed not one, but two mules. One was trained to perform in the film while the other was a voice actor to bray in ADR.
It set a box-office record.
Sports comedies are a popular genre, but The Waterboy crushed box office records and was the highest-grossing film in the genre when it hit theaters: $186 million. That could buy a lot of high-quality H20.
A high school got a new stadium out of it.
The Waterboy director Frank Coraci got DeLand High School to allow the production team to film on location by agreeing to front the costs for refurbishing the school’s football stadium. Pretty sweet deal for both the school and viewers of the movie.
The film’s inspiration started early.
Sandler got the idea for The Waterboy after drawing from his popular song, “The Lonesome Kicker” and combining it with the “Cajun Man” character he’d play on SNL, so if you’re wondering where Farmer Fran came from, well there you go.
Disney was sued after the film’s release.
The granddaughter of silent filmmaker and actor Harold Lloyd sued Walt Disney for $50 million claiming that there were too many striking similarities between Sandler’s movie and the much older film that was released in 1924, The Freshman. Suzanne Lloyd lost her case.
The “Bourbon Bowl” isn’t real, but the crowd was.
Even if you know nothing about football, you’d probably be hard-pressed to believe that “The Bourbon Bowl” was actually a thing. The crowd attending the game, however, were mostly a bunch of students from the University of Central Florida.
Star Wars might’ve helped ticket sales.
The trailer for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace was a big, big deal, as it was the first Star Wars release in a very long time. Many people flocked to the theaters not to watch The Waterboy, but to see George Lucas start a new space odyssey.
It’s the third Sandler movie with this love-interest name convention.
What do Vicki Vallencourt, Veronica Vaughn, and Virginia Venit all have in common? Their initials are all V.V. and they’re all from Adam Sandler movies: The Waterboy, Billy Madison, and Happy Gilmore.
Wiccans will know this: that upside-down triangle is the symbol for water. The fact that it’s tattooed on Fairuza Balk’s left arm also symbolizes love. So just showing her left shoulder to Bobby literally screams that she loves water.
It’s Rob Schneider’s first Sandler cameo.
Seeing Schneider deliver a one-liner is the type of thing of Sandler movie fans can expect in a bunch of film, and it was a tradition that was first started in The Waterboy. That is, when he isn’t playing a carrot.
Adidas dedicated a clothing line to the film.
You might have noticed that Adidas got some sweet product placement in the film by being the official sponsors of the Mud Dogs’ jerseys, and the athletic clothing wear company decided to honor the 20-year anniversary of the film’s release by releasing this gorgeous clothing line. I can’t think of a better way to rep your love for this classic than with some of this swag.