Monday, September 28, 2009

Go See This: Big Fan

Patton Oswalt’s a funny guy. So when he does a movie about a sad little man who’s life revolves around making comedically hyperbolic phone calls to a local sports talk radio show about his beloved New York Giants, you’d think it’d be hilarious right?

But Big Fan is not a comedy. Its funny, but the humor comes out of just how serious Oswalt’s character, Paul, takes himself and his nightly screeds. It’s about what its like to have your life completely and thoroughly revolve around a sports team; a sports team that doesn’t know you exist, but which you wouldn’t exist without.

It’s a great movie period, but if you’ve ever spent even five minutes listening to sports talk radio, you’ll wonder why it took this long for someone to make this movie in the first place.

Paul is in his mid to late 30s, works in a parking garage and lives with his mother, but on the late night sports airwaves, he is an artist. He spends his time at work writing opuses about how the Giants are amazing, and the Philadelphia Eagles suck, and then reads them on the air at night, hoping listeners will think he’s coming up with it all off the cuff.

For a while, the movie just follows Paul around, showing how everyone is depressed about his life except him. It picks up speed when he and a friend have a chance encounter with Paul’s favorite player, and the encounter goes horribly wrong. Paul spends the rest of the film trying (and failing) to deal with the fallout.

Big Fan was written and directed by the guy who wrote The Wrestler, and it has some of the same tragic-comic overtones. I’d imagine Patton Oswalt will get some Oscar buzz for his performance, but I’d shocked if he wins. Not because his performance is bad – on the contrary, it’s amazing. But it’s amazing because it’s so real. There’s not a whole lot of the “ActING!” that the Academy likes to honor. Paul is just a schlub who gets all his self-worth from a football team he can’t even afford to see live.
Does he take it to extreme levels? Sure. But I think anyone’s who’s ever worn a team jersey or hat well into adulthood can sympathize, if only just a little.


red said...

I'm really looking forward to seeing it.

Anonymous said...

Gosh darn it. I wanted to be all elitist and recommend this flick before you all have a chance to see it, but i haven't had a chance to see it. It was on my radar. Good to hear that its good.

BeckEye said...

Sounds interesting.

words...words...words... said...

I've been trying to make time to see this movie for two weeks. I really have to.

Dr Zibbs said...

He's hilarious!

Patrick Harrington said...

Sweet - I hadn't even heard of it - will need to see it.

Miss ya Liz!