Written by Steve ‘Frosty’ Weintraub
Another of the many movies that premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer/director Robert Siegel’s debut film “Big Fan”. Like “The Wrestler”, which he wrote but didn’t direct, this film deals with the sports world and it feels just as real and authentic. Here’s the synopsis:
Patton Oswalt plays a 35-year-old parking-garage attendant from Staten Island, and is the self-described “world’s biggest New York Giants fan”. He lives at home with his mother, spending his off hours calling in to local sports-radio station 760 The Zone, where he rants in support of his beloved team, often against his mysterious on-air rival, Eagles fan Philadelphia Phil. His family berates him for doing nothing with his life, but they don’t understand the depth of his love of the Giants or the responsibility his fandom carries.
One night, Paul and his best friend Sal spot Giants star linebacker Quantrell Bishop at a gas station in their neighborhood. They impulsively follow his limo into Manhattan, to a strip club, where they hang in the background, agog at their hero. Paul cautiously decides to approach him, stepping into the rarefied air of football stardom–and things do not go as planned.
The fallout of this chance encounter brings Paul’s world crashing down around him as his family, the team, the media and the authorities engage in a tug of war over Paul, testing his allegiances and calling into question everything he believes in. Meanwhile, the Giants march toward a late-season showdown with the Eagles, unaware that sometimes the most brutal struggles take place far from the field of play.
While some of the Sundance press didn’t fall in love with “Big Fan” like they did with “The Wrestler”, I absolutely loved it. It was one of my favorite films at this year’s festival and Patton’s performance was a real surprise. That being said, if you go into this expecting to see Patton making you laugh all the time, you’ll be very disappointed. While there are some very funny parts, this is a drama first. The humor is a result of real life situations and not from Patton doing stand-up.
While I don’t know if the film has sold or what’s the plan for distribution, Robert Siegel has definitely proven to me that he can direct and hopefully this is the beginning of a long career. In the coming days I’ll have exclusive interviews with both Robert and Patton, so check back for those. Until then, enjoy these three clips from “Big Fan”.
Clip 1 – It never should have come to that
Clip 2 – Don’t say that word in my car
Clip 3 – Paul calls into the radio show