Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert D. Siegel|
|Written by||Robert D. Siegel|
Marcia Jean Kurtz
|Music by||Philip Watts|
|Edited by||Joshua Trank|
|Distributed by||First Independent Pictures|
Big Fan is a 2009 independent comedy-drama film written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Michael Rapaport, and Scott Ferrall. The story revolves around the bleak yet amiable life of the self-described "world’s biggest New York Giants fan", Paul Aufiero (Oswalt). Big Fan garnered positive reviews at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. The film had a limited release in the United States beginning on August 28, 2009.
Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) is a parking garage attendant who lives with his mother (Marcia Jean Kurtz) in Staten Island, New York. He relentlessly follows the New York Giants football team. He and his friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) faithfully attend each Giants game; however, as they can't afford tickets, they must content themselves with watching the games on a battery-powered TV in the stadium parking lot. Paul is also a regular caller to the Sports Dogg's (Scott Ferrall) radio talk show, where he refers to himself as "Paul from Staten Island," rants in support of the Giants, and berates his mysterious on-air rival, Philadelphia Eagles fanatic "Philadelphia Phil" (Michael Rapaport). Paul's family criticizes him for doing nothing with his life. He disregards their scorn and happily devotes himself to his beloved team.
One day Paul and Sal spot Giants star and Paul's favorite player Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) and his entourage in Staten Island. They follow Bishop to a drug deal in Stapleton. Though the pair see Bishop buying something, they naively fail to recognize the transaction. They then follow him into a strip club in Manhattan. Mustering their courage, Paul and Sal introduce themselves to Bishop. All goes well until the two fans innocently mention that they saw Bishop in Stapleton. The intoxicated Bishop becomes enraged and brutally beats Paul, who is hospitalized for his injuries.
Following the incident, Bishop is suspended from the team. Paul's personal-injury lawyer brother Jeff (Gino Cafarelli) and NYPD Detective Velardi (Matt Servitto) pressure Paul to bring charges against Bishop, but Paul refuses, worried about the effect on the Giants' performance if they permanently lose their star linebacker. The charges against Bishop are eventually dropped and he returns to the team.
Jeff then files a $77 million civil lawsuit against Bishop "on Paul's behalf," claiming Paul is mentally incompetent to bring the lawsuit himself. When a reporter phones Paul to ask him "about the lawsuit," Paul becomes livid. He drives to Jeff's house, storms into Jeff's bathroom, and confronts him as he sits on the toilet.
Philadelphia Phil researches Paul on the Internet and reveals on Sports Dogg's show that the victim of the Quantrell Bishop beating is in fact "Paul from Staten Island", humiliating him. Paul heads for Philadelphia to confront Phil. Disguised as an Eagles fanatic, Paul identifies Phil in a local bar and gains his trust as they watch the Giants and Eagles play the season's pivotal final game. As the Eagles dominate the Giants, the crowd in the bar begins to deride the Giants in increasingly enthusiastic fashion, much to Paul's consternation. When time runs out and the Eagles fanatics celebrate their victory, Paul follows Phil into the men's room and pulls a gun on him, shooting Phil multiple times. Phil, lying shocked on the men's room floor, stares at his hands, which are now covered in red and blue, the Giants' colors. The gun is then revealed to be a paintball gun. Paul utters "Eagles suck!" and flees from the bar.
Paul is arrested and imprisoned for the assault. Sal visits Paul in jail and reveals to him the Giants' schedule for the following season. A key game coincides with the week Paul is scheduled to be released—Paul is overjoyed and says "It's going to be a great year".
- Patton Oswalt as Paul Aufiero
- Kevin Corrigan as Sal
- Michael Rapaport as Philadelphia Phil
- Marcia Jean Kurtz as Theresa Aufiero
- Matt Servitto as Detective Velarde
- Serafina Fiore as Gina
- Gino Cafarelli as Jeff
- Jonathan Hamm as Quantrell Bishop
- Polly Humphreys as Christine
- Scott Ferrall as Sports Dogg
- Sharoz Makarechi as Production Designer
- Josh Trank as Wrong Phil's Buddy
Big Fan received mostly positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 86%, based on 87 reviews, with an average rating of 7.1/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic." Metacritic gives the film a score of 70 out of 100, based on 27 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."
The New York Times gave the film a positive review, describing it as an "agreeably low-key and modest film."
- "Big Fan". Sundance Institute. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- Dargis, Manohla (22 January 2009). "In the Snows of Sundance, a Marked Chill in the Air". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
- "Big Fan". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
- "Big Fan". Metacritic. Retrieved 30 June 2016.
- Dargis, Manhola (27 August 2009). "Giants Die-Hard Takes One for the Team". New York Times. Retrieved 26 September 2015.