February 7, 2010

#057: Big Fan

Big Fan is a film starring comedian Patton Oswalt as Paul, a devout New York Giants football fan.  His entire life revolves around the NFL football season, and little else seems to matter as much to him as a win for his G-men.  He regularly calls into a local sports radio show to recite his pre-written thoughts.  He and his best friend get dressed up and drive to home games, only to watch the game on a small tv in the parking lot.  This guys is obsessed with the Giants.

One night while driving they notice their favorite player getting into a car.  They follow him all around, finally catching up with him at a night club.  After much deliberation our main character finally gets up the balls to go over and talk to him, only to get his ass kicked by his sports hero.  The rest of the film explores how he responds to this incident, and how it changes his life and love for his team.

Big Fan can be about a lot of stuff, but the thing I connected with the most is how it deals with the subjectiveness of success.  By "normal" standards this guy would be considered a complete loser. He still lives at home with his mother, he has a crappy job, and the only thing he is passionate about is football.  However, he is completely content with what he has.  He has no problem with his lot in life, and just wants everybody to leave him alone.  It is an interesting look at a guy who would seem to have his priorities all out of whack, but you can't help but feel for him and understand his frustration.

This movie does a lot of things well.  It feels extremely real.  The performances feel genuine and allow you to connect with the characters.  Patton Oswalt's performance was the best part about the film.  He did a great job for not having a whole lot of acting experience.  I really enjoyed the the sentiment of the film, and appreciated the inventive story line.  However, when it was all over I felt disappointed. From the beginning the movie seemed to be taking us somewhere.  Along the way it seems we got lost.  In the end, I felt like we didn't go anywhere.  I didn't hate the movie because of it.  In a way it is a perfect parallel with Paul life, and his uninspired existence.  He isn't going anywhere, and neither is his movie.  The end does have somewhat of a "victory" for our lovable loser; but it is hardly a satisfying conclusion.

I would definitely recommend this film to anybody interested enough to check it out.  It has that indie charm without any of the quirk and self-importance.  Even though I found the destination somewhat unsatisfying, the journey was enjoyable enough.


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