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Big Fan (2009)


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 88
Fresh: 76
Rotten: 12

Critics Consensus: Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic.

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Reviews Counted: 28
Fresh: 25
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic.


Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 33,419



Movie Info

Paul Aufiero, a 35-year-old parking garage attendant from Staten Island, is the self-described "world's biggest New York Giants fan." He lives at home with his mother, spending his off hours calling in to local sports-radio station 760 The Zone, where he rants in support of his beloved team, often against his mysterious on-air rival, Eagles fan Philadelphia Phil. His family berates him for doing nothing with his life, but they don't understand the depth of his love of the Giants or the … More

R (for language and some sexuality)
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Robert Siegel
In Theaters:
Jan 12, 2010
Box Office:
First Independant Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Big Fan

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (28) | Fresh (76) | Rotten (12) | DVD (5)

First-time director Siegel shows promise. His script is solid, and although the last act feels somewhat awkward, the idea is clever.

Full Review… | November 29, 2009
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Writer-director Robert D. Siegel grew up listening to callers like Paul on The FAN, New York City's all-sports radio, and he gives us a bizarrely sympathetic portrait of a guy who is as devout and as obsessive as any religious fanatic.

Full Review… | November 22, 2009
Top Critic

It's a classic situation, transplanted to a small, petty arena. When I think of this movie, I think of Oswalt, how his anguish feels real (whether we understand it or not) and how his face unaccountably becomes an offbeat locus of dignity.

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

Though the movie isn't much to look at, he gets a credibly dark and pathetic performance from the typically comic Oswalt.

Full Review… | October 2, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A comedy with dark undertones, it asks: What kind of a man listens to and calls sports talk radio compulsively, even at 2 a.m.? Even out of season? Even on, say, Thanksgiving? He should get a life, do you think?

Full Review… | October 1, 2009
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

In his first starring role, Oswalt, a stand-up comedian whose trademark persona is part comic-book geek and part frat-house hedonist, inhabits a character who is both painfully familiar and poignantly alone.

Full Review… | September 25, 2009
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic

Siegel's too busy making Paul the most pathetic person on earth to figure out what makes him tick, and he pauses from humiliating Paul only to portray Staten Island as some sort of cartoonish wasteland.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Despite the rough-around-the-edges direction, this was a compelling character study, anchored by an astonishing performance by Patton Oswalt.

Full Review… | May 10, 2013
Film Geek Central

Astute at observing the behaviors and mindset of the fan who sees no distinction between himself and the team.

Full Review… | April 25, 2012
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

Unlovable loser chooses the "low" road

Full Review… | September 28, 2010
Movie Habit

Paul may in many ways be the ultimate 'loser' but he feels like a 'winner', so this becomes not just a study of obsession but of the essence of self-delusion and its importance in many people's lives.

Full Review… | February 24, 2010
Eye for Film

effectively delivers the clueless mentality of the empty headed sports fanatic to life,

Full Review… | January 9, 2010
Old School Reviews

There's always next season

Full Review… | December 31, 2009

The decision to look at sports fandom through the lens of addiction gives Big Fan its power, its believability, its pathos, and its humor.

Full Review… | December 28, 2009
Goatdog's Movies

I didn't enjoy Big Fan, perhaps due to my lifelong total disinterest in sports but I can say that it is quite good and well-made, and Oswalt does a terrific job.

Full Review… | December 15, 2009

An odd mixture of "Marty" and "The Cabdriver", best when it focuses on the Marty side of the equation.

Full Review… | December 7, 2009

Big Fan is wonderfully written, cliche-free and fully capable of surprising you.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Jam! Movies

Paul is a sad figure, but the edge is taken off this by his single-minded (some would say dim-witted) devotion to the Giants.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Laramie Movie Scope

...the movie boasts a rough visual sensibility that's mirrored in both the performances and the meandering narrative...

Full Review… | November 29, 2009
Reel Film Reviews

We're stuck on the ledge, waiting to see if Paul will jump. Painful, but good.

Full Review… | November 28, 2009
The Scorecard Review

What makes Paul fascinating isn't how pathetic he is. It's how dignified he thinks he is, and how that knit blue cap with "NY" on the front gives his life meaning.

Full Review… | November 13, 2009
Capital Times (Madison, WI)

Screenwriter Siegel, directing his first film, lavishes as much attention on forty-year-old virgin Paul as he did on "Randy the Ram" in The Wrestler.

Full Review… | October 23, 2009
East Bay Express

...Siegel seems more interested in exhibiting Paul as a not-so-rare species of delusional male thwartedness than granting him an interior life, but it's still a powerful and interesting bit of sociology.

Full Review… | October 18, 2009
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Audience Reviews for Big Fan

Robert D. Siegel, bring a criative screenplay that show to the audience the empty and lonely life of Paul Aufiero, Patton Oswalt in a very good acting, a sport fanatic, just like others fans. Big Fan, is a terrific independant dark comedy that, make me want see the film from the beginning to the end. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


Big Fan is a minor, dark indie masterpiece, full of honesty, drama, pathos and painful humor. Writer/director Robert Seigel shows immense talent as an observer of obsessive losers who have the audience's absolute empathy, despite of - or because of --their utter lack of self awareness. .

Be warned if you're expecting another Adam Sandler Waterboy - it's NOT essentially a comedy, let alone a Hollywood one. In a blurb on the box, you might be misled into thinking that this is light fare about wacky sports fans. The same material could have easily been spun in a way similar to other light Hollywood comedies about obsessive fans like Fever PItch. That disconnect is likely why the film didn't much of an audience in its theatrical release and those who have seen it, expecting wacky Sandler-like mayhem, must have ejected the DVD disc before hitting the half hour mark.

The film captures a culture of obsessive football fans who define their entire lives by the ups and downs of their team (The New York Giants in this case). Their own limited lives matter far less to them than the fate of their heroes. Paul, the lead character is self defeating. He runs away from any chance of getting out of his mother's house and his job as a parking lot attendant at the age of 35 and lives to call in to the sport phone in shows as the most super Giants fan of them all, his only accomplishment. That and getting the stuffing beaten out him, almost killing him, at the hands of the Giants' star QB.

The casting of all supportive roles is stellar, from Paul's suffering mother to his Sancho Panza buddy in Giants obsession, to his sleazy brother, a personal injury lawyer. The film is grungy, and not aesthetically beautiful, but is appropriate to its dreary setting and characters. It's also paced beautifully. After this and the Wrestler (an excellent film, but I think this film is more interesting, despite Mickey Rourke's star power) I greatly anticipate what Robert Seigel will do next. Not to mention the star: Oswalt's performance is full of honesty and courage, he is very gifted with the pathos as well as the funny.

Every twist and turn of Big Fan is surprising and fresh, and pays off. I thought the only misstep in Seigel's script was a hasty and apparently violent ending (last ten minutes) that didn't quite compute. In addition, no one changes or learns any lessons, which is possibly true to life, but not as interesting dramatically.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

Paul Aufiero: He was rusty.

Upon a second viewing of Big Fan, I liked it a lot more than I remember. I believe a lot of the negative ratings come from people going in expecting a laugh a minute comedy; when Big Fan is more of a dark drama with some comedic moments.

Patton Oswalt was perfectly casted as Paul Aufiero. He's a big fan as you might expect from the title. He scripts out what he's going to say all day before making his calls into the Sports Dog; his favorite sports radio program. He's such a big fan that he goes to the stadium every Sunday just to sit out in the parking lot and watch the game on television. He calls his team(New York Giants) we, like he has something to do with their success or failure. Kevin Coorigan is also perfect as Paul's friend Sal, an equally big fan who is Paul's one and only friend.The drama begins when he gets to close to his hero and favorite player. After an altercation which results in his heroes suspension, he has a choice to make, him or his team.

Big Fan is a really good black comedy and it reminds me a lot of another movie I recently watched, Film Geek. Both movies center around a guy who has let his respected passion take over his life completely. Big Fan is much more enjoyable then Film Geek though, and really deserves a viewing or two.

Melvin White

Super Reviewer

NFL fans can be pretty rabid at times, but there exists a special breed of sports fan, one whose whole life is consumed by the game, that goes beyond rabid. Take Paul (Patton Oswalt) for example. He's a 36 year-old parking garage attendant whose time is occupied by the New York Giants and the Giants alone. There are no other interests or hobbies, and his friends and family come a distant second. He makes weekly calls to a sports talk radio show, for which he spends much of his free time writing down what he wants to say on his next call. Things come to ahead when he and his friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) see his idol, Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) at a gas station and begin following him across town. After following to a strip club, a misunderstanding arises, and Paul lands in the hospital with a concussion. This leads Paul to a great dilemma: whether to press charges and hurt the Giants in the play-offs, or let Bishop get off scott-free after practically murdering him. You won't find any profundity in Big Fan, just an indie film that takes a shot at the atypical sports fan. Oswalt manages to achieve the right amount of psychosis for his character, from the disturbing blinking to his random outbursts. Is it a dark comedy or simply a dark movie? I'm leaning towards the latter.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Big Fan Quotes

Paul Aufiero:
Eagles suck.
– Submitted by Simon O (20 months ago)
Jeff Aufiero:
How do you get a concussion when you have no fucking brains?
– Submitted by Alex O (3 years ago)

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