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Big Fan (2009)

tomatometer

86

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

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

89

Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 27
Fresh: 24 | Rotten: 3

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

audience

62

liked it
Average Rating: 3.3/5
User Ratings: 33,339

My Rating

Movie Info

A parking garage attendant and lifelong New York Giants fan finds his life spinning out of control following an altercation with his favorite football player in this darkly comic drama starring Patton Oswalt. For 35-year-old Staten Island native Paul Aufiero (Oswalt), sports are a religion. Paul still lives with his mother, he's the self-proclaimed "world's biggest New York Giants fan," and he spends most of his spare time calling in to the local sports radio station 760 "The Zone," where he can

R,

Drama, Comedy

Robert Siegel

Jan 12, 2010

$0.1M

First Independant Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (88) | Top Critics (27) | 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.

November 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop 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.

November 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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?

October 1, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop 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.

September 25, 2009 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop 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.

June 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Deadspin
Deadspin

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

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Film Geek Central
Film Geek Central

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

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

Unlovable loser chooses the "low" road

September 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
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.

February 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

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

January 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews

There's always next season

December 31, 2009 Full Review Source: JWR

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

December 28, 2009 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
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.

December 15, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinerina

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

December 7, 2009 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

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

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
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.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

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

November 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

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

November 28, 2009 Full Review Source: The Scorecard Review
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.

November 13, 2009 Full Review Source: Capital Times (Madison, WI)
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.

October 23, 2009 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
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.

October 18, 2009 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
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.
November 19, 2011
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.
November 16, 2011
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.
July 10, 2011
blkbomb
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.
March 23, 2011
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

    1. Paul Aufiero: Eagles suck.
    – Submitted by Simon O (14 months ago)
    1. Jeff Aufiero: How do you get a concussion when you have no fucking brains?
    – Submitted by Alex O (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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