Sunday, January 24, 2010

Big Fan. B-

Patton Oswalt, who is probably known by most for providing the lovable voice for Remy in 'Ratatouille,' takes the lead with 'Big Fan' an indie drama from Robert D. Siegel (he wrote the amazing screenplay for 'The Wrestler'). 'Big Fan' is a modest little drama with edges of bleak comedy that proves a movie can save itself by one great climactic explosion of human emotion. The story centers around Paul, a die-hard New York Giants fan whose life is nothing short of pathetic. He lives with his mom, works as an attendant in a parking garage, and allows football to consume his very existence. It's sort of entertaining to see a guy who's so obsessed with football. After he goes to a club and gets beat up by his idol, Giants quarterback Quantrell Bishop, we think maybe he'll realize there's more to life than Giants football. But he stubbornly refuses to do anything about it. He doesn't even press charges against Bishop. He just wants him to get back on the field to help the Giants win. It's absolutely infuriating not just to see this guy living such a loser life, but to do nothing about it when he has the chance. But then 'big Fan' takes an almost shocking turn. I won't spoil it here. I'll just say that the ending is pretty much perfect. 'Big Fan' doesn't preach, but its message is clear: one has to pursue their passion in life to be happy. Paul's passion is football. At first we don't understand this. Then it's near the end and we still don't understand it. But the final scenes are so dead-on and expressive that they tell us everything we need to know--and compensate for the somewhat irritating first hour of the film. Patton Oswalt is very good here. He makes Paul seem real. If I was told to imagine a die-hard football fan, I'd imagine someone like Paul. The movie nails that aspect. 'Big Fan' isn't trying to be great, but its ending, which made the movie for me, is just that and then some.

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