Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Big Fan

Grade: A-

Big Fan is a dark comedy about a man, Paul Aufiero, who is the self proclaimed "biggest NY Giants fan". Paul works as a toll booth attendant in a parking garage and still lives with his mother at age 36. He frequently calls into a sports radio talk show to talk up the Giants and has developed a little rivalry with a man who calls himself Philadelphia Phil, an Eagles fan. Paul and his friend go to Giants Stadium for the games but just sit in the parking lot watching the games on a TV. One night, Paul is out with his friend one night when they spot Paul's favorite player and quarterback for the Giants. They decide to follow him in order to possibly meet him. They follow him into a club and when he finally works up the nerve to go meet the player, there is a misunderstanding and the player ends up beating Paul so bad he ends up in the hospital near death. The police want to investigate but Paul doesn't want his favorite player to go to jail because he feels it would cause the Giants to suffer, so he claims he has amnesia. His friends and family keep pushing him to do something and the movie follows his struggle to deal with the reality of the situation.

The movie is written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, who also wrote the award winning The Wrestler. Siegel's second venture into writing is on par with his first. The writing was amazing and extremely wonderful. The whole movie was a brilliant commentary on sports fanaticism and how crazy some people can be all in the support of their favorite team. The direction was authentic and made the whole movie feel very real. He also had one of the most genius and surprising twist endings I've seen in a while.

Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, Observe and Report) plays the main role of Paul Aufiero. Oswalts performance was simply amazing. I am just amazed at his acting in this movie as I'm used to seeing him doing his stand up routines and popping up in random comedies as secondary characters. His first take at a lead role (aside from voicing the main character in Ratatouille) was great. If for nothing else, see the movie for his performance. I would say Oscar worthy but as the movie is so hard to find I highly doubt it will be considered.

Also in the movie, Kevin Corrigan (Pineapple Express, Superbad) plays Sal, Paul's best friend. Corrigan gives a great performance as a man trying to help and support his friend through a hard time. Michael Rapaport (Hitch, TV's The War At Home) plays Pual's rival, Philadelphia Phil. Granted, most of his performance is just his character calling into the radio station so you only hear his voice, you do see him at the end of the movie.

This movie is only playing for one week at the Chez Artiste and I can not recommend it enough. It was fantastic. If you can't get to the theater to see it, rent it when it comes to DVD. It is a brilliant movie with some of the best writing and acting I've seen all year. I loved it and I don't care about sports. It is, however, a very dark comedy. It will make you laugh, but not often.

Great quote: "It's going to be a great year."

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