Big Fan

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 88


Audience Score

User Ratings: 33,732
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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 responsibility his fandom carries. One night, Paul and his best friend Sal spot Giants star linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in their neighborhood. They impulsively follow his limo into Manhattan, to a strip club, where they hang in the background, agog at their hero. Paul cautiously decides to approach him, stepping into the rarefied air of football stardom -- and things do not go as planned. The fallout of this chance encounter brings Paul's world crashing down around him as his family, the team, the media and the authorities engage in a tug of war over Paul, testing his allegiances and calling into question everything he believes in. Meanwhile, the Giants march toward a late-season showdown with the Eagles, unaware that sometimes the most brutal struggles take place far from the field of play.

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Patton Oswalt
as Paul Aufiero
Marcia Jean Kurtz
as Theresa Aufiero
Michael Rapaport
as Philadelphia Phil
Serafina Fiore
as Gina Aufiero
Gino Cafarelli
as Jeff Aufiero
Jonathan Hamm
as Quantrell Bishop
Joe Garden
as Dennis
Matt Servitto
as Detective Velardi
Polly Humphreys
as Christine
Polly Humphries
as Christine
Scott Ferrall
as Sports Dogg
Sidne Anderson
as Hospital Doctor
Maya Louise Dispensza
as Christine & Dennis's Daughter
Julian Lane
as Birthday Boy
Caroline Gallo
as Gina and Jeff's Daughter
Maya Louise Dispenza
as Christine and Dennis's Daughter
Cookie Bradshaw
as Law-Office Ad Woman
Malik Jacobs
as Shady House Guy
Jason Hardee
as Quantrell Buddy #1
Ronnie Amadi
as Quantrell Buddy #2
Angel Estrada
as Quantrell Buddy #3
Billy Parker
as Quantrell Buddy #4
Farouk Adelkan
as Quantrell Buddy #5
Mifit Hodzic
as Strip Club Valet
Nicole McGee
as Bartender
Dan Dinenberg
as Bouncer #1
Christiane Figueiredo
as Paul and Sal's Stripper
Nick Stevens
as Play-by-Play Announcer
Wilson Hall
as Color Commentator
Alan Cross
as Zone Reporter Ed Rosen
Nick Gallo
as Radio Caller
Ginny Sisti
as Parking Garage Driver #1
Paul Sisti
as Passenger #1
Jordan Cohn
as Parking Garage Driver #2
Daniella Tineo-Cohn
as Passenger #2
Joe Caniano
as Parking Garage Driver #3
Debbie Sutin
as Parking Garage Driver #4
Robert D. Siegel
as Front-Lawn Reporter #1
Yori Tondrowski
as Front-Lawn Reporter #2
Tom Epstein
as Parking Garage Reporter
as Wrong Phil
Josh Trank
as Wrong Phil's Buddy
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News & Interviews for Big Fan

Critic Reviews for Big Fan

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (28)

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

    Nov 29, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Nov 22, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Oct 23, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Though the movie isn't much to look at, he gets a credibly dark and pathetic performance from the typically comic Oswalt.

    Oct 2, 2009 | Full Review…
  • 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?

    Oct 1, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Sep 25, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4

Audience Reviews for Big Fan

  • Nov 19, 2011
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 16, 2011
    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 M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 23, 2011
    pretty good movie some good acting and some memorable parts
    Paul A Super Reviewer
  • Jul 04, 2011
    8.3/10 "Big Fan" is so very wrongly advertised as a straight-up comedy. Even the poster features undertones of comedy; it depicts a melancholic Patton Oswalt with sports-fan make-up all over his face. Yes, that is funny; he is miserable and sad. Perhaps this was an attempt at dark comedy, although it certainly got me to watch the film. I started "Big Fan" knowing only the premise and the star. I had not read any reviews prior to my viewing, and maybe this worked for my personal benefit. I conclude that I had no idea what was destined to hit me. "Big Fan" is an extraordinarily crafty drama that does indeed double as some sort of comedy, although sticks to its dramatic side for most of its 85-minute run time. I suppose this is a good thing, because the script is strong within the genre of drama. I didn't expect it to be as good of a film as it was. Hell, given the subject matter, it gives me no reason why I should have enjoyed or even LIKED the film. But you never can tell, can you? Paul (Patton Oswalt) is a big fan (of the New York Giants football team). His one and only friend is Sal (Kevin Corrigan), and yes, Sal is also a " big fan", although Paul might be into his passion just a wee bit more. Paul is depicted as a lovable low-life who lives with his mother and works as an attendant in a parking garage. Being a New York Giants fan may be his only reason to live, and his only form of escapism. Paul spends his "other life", as a fan, quite well. He's a frequent caller for a local sports radio station, where he bashes an opposing rival team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles also have their own devoted supporter, who locks horns with Paul more than often, on the radio show. Did I forget to mention that Paul's favorite Giants player is Quantrell Bishop? Yeah, well...he is. One night, Paul and Sal are out on a drive, and they see their favorite football star out in the big city. They follow the guy to a strip club, where they finally confront him, and, well...let's just say that Paul ends up meeting his idol in ways he could have never imagined or wanted. Paul gets beaten by the man he so closely and gleefully idolized. Afterwards, he refuses to sue. This is because he does not want the Giants to lose their greatest and most influential player. However, Bishop ends up being taken out of play for quite some time anyways, and Paul's team goes to hell afterwards. There is stuff that most definitely happens after the events I have already described, but this film is too good to least completely. It is backed by so many things that yes, I would even go as far as to call it fascinating and whimsical. Yet, the film is also bleak and dark. Very dark. It has laughs, as it is part comedy, but some of them will be tough sells. You might not always laugh out loud at the humorous moments, and you might feel bad for the central character, but none-the-less, this is a film with more humanity than half the films on the market today. It is an indie picture, yes, but hardly one for the hipster crowd. Hell, I'm not even sure if it's for the sport fan crowd. They could probably relate to some of it, but will they truly like it? I cannot say. Patton Oswalt has proven himself a worthy opponent of ANYONE when it comes to comedy acting, but here he tries his hand at drama, and succeeds almost miraculously. How the script, for this film, was pulled off so ingeniously, I shall never know. It's almost impossible to come across people in the movie business who are intelligent quite like the writers of this film were. They mix satire with the darkness of the human heart. Sometimes I smiled, sometimes I frowned. None the less, I was intoxicated in Oswalt's performance, the script, and just about everything else. This is a film that deserves an audience. Consider me a fan.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer

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