Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Fan

Directed by Robert D. Siegel.
2009. Rated R, 86 minutes.
Patton Oswalt
Kevin Corrigan
Michael Rapaport
Marcia Jean Kurtz
Gino Cafarelli
Matt Servitto
Serafina Fiore
Polly Humphreys
Jonathan Hamm

Plot: Paul (Oswalt) is a die-hard New York Giants football fan. He eats, sleeps and drinks "G-Men". What will he do after he is beaten up by Quantrell Bishop (Hamm), his favorite player on his favorite team?

The Good: Director Robert D. Siegel does the impossible and gives us an original movie - one dealing with sports, no less. In fact, I'd hesitate to actually call it a sports movie. It's more of a sports fan movie. Instead of focusing on a player, team or coach and working up to "the big game," we walk with an ordinary joe who lives to support his team. That fan, Paul, is portrayed brilliantly and without a hint of sarcasm by Patton Oswalt. That last part is important because Paul could've easily become a comic figure and sank the movie. Through a skillfully ambiguous ending, we're not sure whether to feel happy or sad for him even though he is inexplicably happy. By the way, that's not a spoiler. You have to see it to know what I'm talking about. As Paul's mom, Marcia Jean Kurtz is not only a riot but a constant reminder of how pathetic her son truly is.

The Bad: While Paul is supposed to be a sad case, the movie took the easiest route to that destination by utilizing stereotypes. In this case it's that a guy who's passionate about his team and likes to call the sports radio shows he listens to has to be child-like in all areas of life. Paul is so much so, it's nearly to the point of retardation. His buddy Sal (Corrigan) is similar. However, I wanted more from Sal. We can guess, but are never really sure how he feels about all that's going on. It's especially important since Sal is actually present when Paul is beaten. And what happens with what Paul's brother, Jeff (Cafarelli), is trying to do for him?

The Ugly: Whether you find her attractive or not, former (current?) porn-star Serafina Fiore as Paul's sister-in-law Gina has an unbelievably distracting appearance.

Recommendation: While it's an excellent movie, it's hard to recommend because it's a bit of a downer. It's doubly so for someone like me who is actually a Giants fan and likes to listen to sports talk radio. That said, definitely see this if you want to see a drama that's sports related but still has a unique vision. Just don't go looking for any actual sports scenes because there are none.

MY SCORE: 9/10

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