Written by Robert Siegel

Directed by Robert Siegel

 Patton Oswalt, Kevin Corrigan, Michael Rapaport


Big Fan



“Big Fan” is a classic example of the American independent film at its best; the kind of film that Sundance was built for, the kind of film that serves best as a marker of the talent of its creator, and in its simplicity of plot and its complexity of implications, it succeeds at almost everything it tries to do.  “Big Fan” is the story of Paul Aufiero (played by Patton Oswalt), a classic loser by conventional standards.  He’s almost 35, he’s unmarried, he lives with his mother in Staten Island, he works the night shift at a parking garage, and he lives for the New York Giants, where he and his best (and only) friend Sal (Kevin Corrigan) go to the Meadowlands for every home game – not to buy tickets, which are apparently too expensive for them, but to hook up a television set to Sal’s car and watch the game from the parking lot on folding chairs that they bring with them.


And then at night he listens to Sports Dogg, a sports-radio host, where he calls in almost every night sometime after midnight, usually waking his mother up, as he writes down the things he’s going to say when he gets on the air as Paul from Staten Island.  He has a running feud with another caller, Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rapaport), who disses the Giants and loves the Eagles.  One night Paul and Sal are out at a gas station when their hero, Quantrell Bishop, the quarterback of the Giants, stops by to fill up his SUV.  The two decide to follow him into New York, where he goes to a nude/lap-dance bar with friends.  Paul and Sal use all their money just to keep staying there, then Paul decides to ask Quantrell for his autograph, and maybe even get invited to join him and his friends as they talk about who they’re going to have sex with that night.  Instead, what happens is the Quantrell sees Paul as a stalker and beats him up, putting him in the hospital.  His lawyer brother wants to sue, Paul won’t allow it, and even turns down a police detective who’s looking for a complaint of an unprovoked attack.  Instead, what Paul does is drive to Philadelphia looking for Philadelphia Phil.


The film, which was written and directed by Robert Siegel, is wonderfully original, brilliantly acted, especially by Patton Oswalt as Paul and Michael Rapaport as Philadelphia Phil, and shows Siegel has a wonderful sense of how to direct actors and how to shoot in an unobtrusive way so as to bring out the tensions that can tear families apart.  Even though “Big Fan” got almost no theatre time, I’d like to see it find an audience as a DVD.