Robert D. Siegel, USA, 2009, 86 min.
We all have an obsession or obsessions, but most of us are able to put them into perspective. This film tells the story of someone who is so obsessed that he has no room in his life for anything else.
Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is a Giant’s fan. He’s such a big fan that he puts LCD to shame. He lives at home with his mother and has a job as a parking deck attendant. Paul keeps his life structured in such a way that he has no commitments or responsibilities besides watching, talking, living and breathing Giant’s football.
At night, he calls up a sports radio show and dukes it out over the airwaves with Philadelphia Phil, an Eagles fan. The Giants/Eagles rivalry is growing strong as the season progresses and Paul carefully writes his speeches so he can be the best Giant’s spokesman he can be.
His obsession isn’t unrealistic, and Patton Oswalt plays the character perfectly. Only a short time into the film Paul feels real. His only friend, Sal (Kevin Corrigan), and Paul’s family are also well-written and well-acted and breathe even more life into the main character.
The story really starts when one day Paul sees his favorite player, Quantrell Bishop, at a gas station. He follows him from Staten Island all the way to Manhatten and tries to meet him.
Things don’t go as planned. The film takes a dark turn and Paul is put into a position where he actually has a chance to do something for his team. Something at great expense to himself, and something that his family does not understand. This causes a rift, and things come to a head when Philadelphia Phil brings the rivalry to a personal level. So Paul, doing the only thing he feels he can do, sets out for his version of the perfect revenge.
The film is gritty and naturalistic. The direction and cinematography have a very 70’s feel to them, and the locations and events round out the great performances to complete the package. Big Fan is a good, solid film. Patton Oswalt gives a great performance, creating a real character. And instead of forcing us to feel a certain way about Paul, the film lets the audience judge him for themselves.