Thursday, January 21, 2010

"Big Fan" (2009) - Movie Review

If Sachin Tendulkar from the Indian cricket team much against his public image of being the modest, greatest and most humble player in the cricket history beats up a religious fan of his, what will happen? Not to the image of Tendulkar but think about the conflict his fan would go through. Whether he would remain a loyal fan or tear apart the posters in his room? This will explain the situation Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is in “Big Fan”

Paul is a self proclaimed crazy fan of the New York Giants football team. His main man is the quarter back Quintrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) and he is more than a hero. He is the nerve center for the team he would drain his blood for. Paul a mid thirty stocky guy works as a parking garage attendant, lives with his mom and always preparing to fire back in a late night radio show against his rival “Philadelphia Phil” his counterpart for the Philly Eagles football team. He is content with his life when his brother Jeff (Gino Cafarelli) and sister are married and have the “regular” jobs. Paul’s Mom (Marcia Jean Kurtz) is wondering who can get through this guy.

His buddy Sal (Kevin Corrigan), the loyal sidekick of Paul spots Bishop in Staten Island and they begin to follow him. Paul is excited and after a quick stop in a mystery house, they enter a strip club. Both of them pay no attention to the walking naked beauties and like a shy man wondering how to approach a girl, they are breaking their heads to get a chance to say hi to their idol. Bishop who by this time is drunk and having a liking for being short tempered is pissed off hearing Sal and Paul followed him. This ends up in several punches over Paul. Paul gets serious concussion and is in a situation I mentioned earlier.

Paul is clear and is in so much love with his team and his denial frightens us. He knows what was done to him was clearly wrong yet he still supports the man and the team. His family is stunned and his brother, a lawyer who we would have seen in the local television ads does not want blood but money. When Paul wakes up after three days, he asks Sal what happened to the Sunday game. They got beaten to pulp by the opposing team. Reason, Bishop got suspended because of the incident. Now he personally feels responsible for his team’s demise in the game.

“Big Fan” does not want its central character to come to senses. A fan like Paul need an incident like that to put things in perspective but opposed to that, Paul takes this more personally as a fan to have caused this to get his star player ejected out of the team. Patton Oswalt known mainly for his stand up comedy and sitcom appearances gives a tough performance. Quite easily he could have been misjudged for his other persona to make him as a joke. Here he is a joke as a character.

People like Paul exists in every house hold. Either it is a game, politics or celebrity whom the people need for to believe in something. But no, that is a positive outlook, the fans who paints themselves and shriek to ruin their throats wants a substitute player for their dreams. The kind of dream they do not wanted to pursue as it requires grand hard work and born abilities to perform. Hence they attach too much of themselves to the star resulting in a worship so blindly that things encircle their idols.

Written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, this is a touching story of a man giving up his entire self to a game he never plays but watches and talks about with utmost sincerity. The movie so methodical in its construction which moves forward with a character the audience expect to change. But his change is something else or there comes the scene where he cannot take it any more of everything to take vengeance of odd kind. He dresses up as an Eagles fan and goes to a Philadelphia bar where his radio rival hangs out. In that he finds the man and stands alongside hearing and cheering the Eagles. Oswalt shows some wonderful acting out there which makes me to reevaluate his whole stand up image. This is a performance of some feat.

The film which goes in the direction of the audience wanting Paul to change ends with a sadness and a mild state of confusion. Paul really likes his life. His mom is fed up because she wants him to lead a regular life. But Paul is content with his painless stale job, a game to celebrate, a chance to properly articulate his faithfulness and anger in a late night radio show followed by a regular masturbating session and talk endlessly about the team with his buddy Sal. He indeed is the biggest fan, whether we like it or not.

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