Big Fan


Robin Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Robin Clifford 

Big Fan
Laura Clifford of Reeling Reviews
Laura Clifford 

Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is well past 30, lives at home with his mother, works nights at a parking garage and is a die hard, uber New York Giants fan. He believes his team is destined for greatness until, one night, he sees the team’s star defensive linebacker, Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm), in his neighborhood. He follows his idol and, later, approaches the very drunk Bishop but his good intentions are misread as stalking and end in a beating, putting the fate of his beloved team and its star in jeopardy in “Big Fan.”

Robin:
This is a surprisingly complex story about obsession that takes it in directions unexpected. It starts out normal enough with Paul furiously scribble down his thoughts about the latest Giants victory to be prepared for his regular “impromptu” call in to his favorite sports show. He uses this platform to slam down the Philly Eagles, especially their biggest fan, Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rappaport). His is a life of working his job and existing only until the next Giants game.

Paul’s chance meeting and beating by his idol, Bishop, has a profound impact on Paul, the linebacker and the Giants that corkscrews the story in the as mentioned unexpected directions. I will leave it at that because the story should be allowed to play out its surprises.

This is a real one hander (with second banana comic relief delivered well by the always-versatile Kevin Corrigan as Paul’s best bud and admirer, Sal), Patton Oswalt gives a solid, evocative performance as a man who blames himself for the violent act by Bishop. Far from wanting to take advantage of a potential lawsuit, which his shyster lawyer brother, Jeff (Gino Cafarelli), keeps trying to force, Paul just wants to make things as they were before. The story centers on his new obsession. Other cast members, such as Serafina Fiore as Jeff busty wife Gina and Marcia Jean Kurtz as his long-suffering mom, help give the film depth.

I expected a typical obsessed sports fan flick but writer and first-time director Robert D. Siegel gives us more, and entertains too. I give it a B.
Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is well past 30, lives at home with his mother, works nights at a parking garage and is a die hard, uber New York Giants fan. He believes his team is destined for greatness until, one night, he sees the team’s star defensive linebacker, Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm), in his neighborhood. He follows his idol and, later, approaches the very drunk Bishop but his good intentions are misread as stalking and end in a beating, putting the fate of his beloved team and its star in jeopardy in “Big Fan.”

This is a surprisingly complex story about obsession that takes it in directions unexpected. It starts out normal enough with Paul furiously scribble down his thoughts about the latest Giants victory to be prepared for his regular “impromptu” call in to his favorite sports show. He uses this platform to slam down the Philly Eagles, especially their biggest fan, Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rappaport). His is a life of working his job and existing only until the next Giants game.

Paul’s chance meeting and beating by his idol, Bishop, has a profound impact on Paul, the linebacker and the Giants that corkscrews the story in the as mentioned unexpected directions. I will leave it at that because the story should be allowed to play out its surprises.

This is a real one hander (with second banana comic relief delivered well by the always-versatile Kevin Corrigan as Paul’s best bud and admirer, Sal), Patton Oswalt gives a solid, evocative performance as a man who blames himself for the violent act by Bishop. Far from wanting to take advantage of a potential lawsuit, which his shyster lawyer brother, Jeff (Gino Cafarelli), keeps trying to force, Paul just wants to make things as they were before. The story centers on his new obsession. Other cast members, such as Serafina Fiore as Jeff busty wife Gina and Marcia Jean Kurtz as his long-suffering mom, help give the film depth.

I expected a typical obsessed sports fan flick but writer and first-time director Robert D. Siegel gives us more, and entertains too. I give it a B.

Laura:
"The Wrestler" writer Robert  Siegel makes his directorial debut with another down and out sports tale, this time focusing on a fan.  People define
themselves in many ways from their college degrees to their careers to their family heritages but Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt of "Ratatouille") is all about the
New York Giants and the persona he creates calling in about them to Sports Talk radio.  He spends the rest of his time living with his mother (Marcia
Jean Kurtz), working as a parking attendant, hanging with his buddy Sal (Kevin Corrigan) and resisting his brother-in-law's attempts to get him
 on a management track at the big box store where he works.  One night he and Sal, who defines himself by being Paul's friend, spot their hero, Giants
defensive linebacker Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) in their own Staten Island neighborhood and decide to follow him all the way to a
Manhattan strip club.  Too dim to realize Bishop was scoring drugs when they first spotted him, Paul approaches the man and tells him where they saw
him and is beaten to a pulp for the privilege.  Everything that follows is unexpected, except for Paul's personal injury lawyer brother's attempt to
cash in on the event, and by film's end, Paul has transformed himself into a very big fish in a small talk radio niche.

Siegel and his star have fashioned a unique character study set in a specific environment.  Whether bickering within the toxic, up-the-ante relationship
with his mother or coasting while clinging to the job that allows him to listen to a radio, Oswalt keeps us intrigued with Paul's strange campaign.  "Big Fan"
is an American independent that let us experience a different kind of minority lifestyle.  B+

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