Thursday, October 15, 2009

Big Fan (Rhoades)

Giants Cast Very Big Shadow on “Big Fan”
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

I don’t know a lot about sports, so when I play Trivial Pursuit my friends trip me up with questions about football. Some of them eat and sleep the game. In fact, one dogged pal camps out at Giants Stadium a day before each game, assuring that he’s among the first in line.
I didn’t even do that for the Beatles.

The lead character in “Big Fan” – the new indie film playing at the Tropic Cinema – reminds me of that pal, a die-hard Giants fan.

“Big Fan” gives us Paul, a not-very-ambitious parking lot attendant who lives with his mother on Staten Island. He’s a guy obsessed by Giants football games. Known as “Paul from Staten Island” on a local sports call-in radio program, he often rails against “Philadelphia Phil,” a big Eagles fan. One night when Paul actually encounters a Giants player, his fandom gets him into a violent confrontation that forever changes his view of the game and pits him against Philadelphia Phil for real.

This self-proclaimed “world’s biggest New York Giants fan” is enthusiastically portrayed by Patton Oswalt, an actor-comedian best known as the voice of the rat in Disney’s “Ratatouille.” And his Eagles opponent is played by omnipresent Michael Rapaport (TV’s “Boston Public,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Prison Break,” and more than 20 films).

This study in sports fanaticism was written and directed by Robert D. Siegel, the guy who penned “The Wrestler,” the acclaimed comeback hit for Mickey Rourke. Before he turned to screenwriting, Siegel was editor-in-chief of The Onion, a noted satirical newspaper. He intended for “Big Fan” to be a comedy, but the story unfolded as a drama when he wrote it.

Patton Oswalt was pleased, for he didn’t want to get typecast as a funny guy. Instead, he may get the reputation of being a sports nut.
[from Solares Hill]

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