Barcalounge Skipper - Big Fan

You know how Netflix makes those recommendations, but you never really believe that you're going to like the movies suggested to you? The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock? Really, Netlfix?

But one film in particular had been stalking me from week to week on Netflix, last year's Big Fan, directed by Robert D. Siegel and starring Patton Oswalt. Now, Oswalt is an extremely funny comic, so I expected a funnier film than what I got from Big Fan, but I was far from disappointed.

Oswalt's character, Paul, is an obsessed New York Giants fan who spends most of his time listening to sports talk radio, waiting to hear the latest challenge from his archnemesis, Philadelphia Phil, a trash-talking Eagles fan played by Michael Rappaport.  Paul is in his mid 30s, works as a parking garage attendant, takes public transportation each day home to where he lives with his mother.  He waits on hold for hours most nights just to have his one minute of sports talk radio glory, when he can praise the Giants and, in particular his favorite player, linebacker Quantrell "QB" Bishop.  Paul even has a poster of QB hanging over his bed, and the homoerotic subtext is clear enough.  Big fan? When the Giants play at home, Paul and his buddy Sal (Kevin Corrigan) drive their crummy car to the parking lot of the stadium and watch the game on a portable TV perched on the trunk.  Paul's traditional Italian-American family want him to grow up and get a life.

One night, when a chance encounter with QB leads Paul and Sal to follow the Giant into a Manhattan strip club, Paul tries to approach the football star, but ends up being beaten by his idol.  Paul ends up in the hospital, QB ends up suspended pending further investigation, and Big Fan only gets more twisted from there.

This film has a few funny moments -- more funny odd than anything else -- but it's really just endlessly creepy, sad, and truly fascinating.  Oswalt gives a surprisingly subtle and effective performance, and the movie has one of the truly great penultimate scenes I can remember.  The final confrontation between Paul and the detested Philadelphia Phil is both excruciating and exhilarating.  Big Fan is the Taxi Driver of sports movies.

PN Feedburner - PN iTunes - PN Twitter - PN Facebook - PN Video

No comments: