LETS GO PATTON! In Big Fan
Big fan is not a big movie at all, in fact its even smaller in scope then writer/director Robert D. Siegel’s last film he wrote, The Wrestler. But just like Paul Aufiero’s (Patton Oswalt) life, small in scope is what works for him.
Paul is probably one of the simplest characters ever seen in a movie, he’s a parking garage attendant and a New York Giants fan, that’s it. He lives with his mother and is a frequent masturbator, that’s about as deep as Paul’s life is. His love for the Giants makes up 100 percent of his daily thoughts and wants and goes deeper then you can imagine. Kids, jobs, personal growth, relationships none of them matter more to him then the New York Giants. He’d rather die then give up his love for The New York Giants.
That’s pretty much the movie in a nutshell. Paul ends up seeing his favorite Giants quarterback Quantrell Bishop (played by arena football player Jonathan Hamm) at a gas station one night and ends up following him around New York until they end up at a strip club hours later. To emphasis Paul’s lack of living they look at the clock (10:30PM) and think its far to late to be going out this late. It’s like he has NO IDEA on the lifestyles multi millionaire football players live. Once in the strip club, Paul and his buddy Sal (equally simple) do not care about the strippers and are more annoyed with them getting in the way of them ogling Bishop from afar. Finally Paul works up the courage to approach his hero, and it starts off well enough (a fan meeting a star) then they mention how long they had been following Quantrell, not realizing that one of his stops was probably for drugs (again showing just how out of touch with real life they are). In the confusion Bishop being a hot head, and not having any idea of Paul and Sal’s love for him beats the living shit out of Paul.
Paul wakes up a couple days later in a hospital with his rich and successful lawyer brother hot and heavy to milk Bishop for all the money his worth. But Paul sees it differently. The rest of the movie we see Paul struggle with probably severe brain damage and in trying to decide if he wants to put his hero in jail or not. I do not want to say anymore because what he does is a surprise.
The movie is very minimalistic in its approach, trying to be a fly on the wall in Paul’s life. Patton is on the screen 100% of the time, we do not see how this affects any other character other then Patton. Nor do we really know anything about any other character except how they interact with Patton. From his mother who’s given up on him long ago, to his brother and sister who just do not understand him, to Sal who is just another version of himself, to finally Paul’s arch nemesis Philadelphia Phil. Philadelphia Phil is a caller into Paul’s favorite late night sports talk radio and Paul can’t stand him. For all we know he could be just like Paul but for the Philadelphia Eagles instead.
For as basic as the movie sounds there is enough humor throughout and Patton’s memorizing performance as Paul to keep you interested for its short running time. Director Robert D. Siegel obviously took some queues from Darren Aronofsky work on his previous script. In fact these movies are very similar. In the end I like Big Fan more, just because it’s more unique and fun even in all its bleakness. Plus this is a character that you haven’t seen done a million times before, the last time I can think of would be Falling Down.
I also connected to this movie being that I’m an obsessed movie fan myself, though I realize that there is more to life beyond movies. Patton admits to trolling internet movie geek boards such as AICN in order to prepare for this role. If you have ever been called a geek or loser or told to get a life by anyone you know, give them this movie to watch to let them know that it could be a lot worse.