Big Fan (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Big Fan (2009)



Critic Consensus: Featuring Patton Oswalt's sympathetic portrayal, Big Fan humorously and effectively captures the dark and lonely world of a sports fanatic.

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Movie Info

Paul Aufiero, a 35-year-old parking garage attendant from Staten Island, 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.

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Patton Oswalt
as Paul Aufiero
Marcia Jean Kurtz
as Theresa Aufiero
Michael Rapaport
as Philadelphia Phil
Serafina Fiore
as Gina Aufiero
Gino Cafarelli
as Jeff Aufiero
Jonathan Hamm
as Quantrell Bishop
Joe Garden
as Dennis
Matt Servitto
as Detective Velardi
Polly Humphreys
as Christine
Polly Humphries
as Christine
Scott Ferrall
as Sports Dogg
Sidne Anderson
as Hospital Doctor
Maya Louise Dispensza
as Christine & Dennis's Daughter
Julian Lane
as Birthday Boy
Caroline Gallo
as Gina and Jeff's Daughter
Maya Louise Dispenza
as Christine and Dennis's Daughter
Cookie Bradshaw
as Law-Office Ad Woman
Malik Jacobs
as Shady House Guy
Jason Hardee
as Quantrell Buddy #1
Ronnie Amadi
as Quantrell Buddy #2
Angel Estrada
as Quantrell Buddy #3
Billy Parker
as Quantrell Buddy #4
Farouk Adelkan
as Quantrell Buddy #5
Mifit Hodzic
as Strip Club Valet
Nicole McGee
as Bartender
Dan Dinenberg
as Bouncer #1
Christiane Figueiredo
as Paul and Sal's Stripper
Nick Stevens
as Play-by-Play Announcer
Wilson Hall
as Color Commentator
Alan Cross
as Zone Reporter Ed Rosen
Nick Gallo
as Radio Caller
Ginny Sisti
as Parking Garage Driver #1
Paul Sisti
as Passenger #1
Jordan Cohn
as Parking Garage Driver #2
Daniella Tineo-Cohn
as Passenger #2
Joe Caniano
as Parking Garage Driver #3
Debbie Sutin
as Parking Garage Driver #4
Robert D. Siegel
as Front-Lawn Reporter #1
Yori Tondrowski
as Front-Lawn Reporter #2
Tom Epstein
as Parking Garage Reporter
as Wrong Phil
Josh Trank
as Wrong Phil's Buddy
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Critic Reviews for Big Fan

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (34)

First-time director Siegel shows promise. His script is solid, and although the last act feels somewhat awkward, the idea is clever.

November 29, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Writer-director Robert D. Siegel grew up listening to callers like Paul on The FAN, New York City's all-sports radio, and he gives us a bizarrely sympathetic portrait of a guy who is as devout and as obsessive as any religious fanatic.

November 22, 2009 | Full Review…

It's a classic situation, transplanted to a small, petty arena. When I think of this movie, I think of Oswalt, how his anguish feels real (whether we understand it or not) and how his face unaccountably becomes an offbeat locus of dignity.

October 23, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Though the movie isn't much to look at, he gets a credibly dark and pathetic performance from the typically comic Oswalt.

October 2, 2009 | Full Review…

Oswalt's performance alone makes Big Fan worth seeing.

October 2, 2009 | Full Review…

A comedy with dark undertones, it asks: What kind of a man listens to and calls sports talk radio compulsively, even at 2 a.m.? Even out of season? Even on, say, Thanksgiving? He should get a life, do you think?

October 1, 2009 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Big Fan

Big Fan is a humorous look at the lonely life of a fanatic sports fan, and first-time director Siegel manages what seemed to be almost impossible: to make a poignant portrayal of a loser who only thinks of football, a task that is helped mostly by Oswalt's terrific performance.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Robert D. Siegel, bring a criative screenplay that show to the audience the empty and lonely life of Paul Aufiero, Patton Oswalt in a very good acting, a sport fanatic, just like others fans. Big Fan, is a terrific independant dark comedy that, make me want see the film from the beginning to the end. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer


Big Fan is a minor, dark indie masterpiece, full of honesty, drama, pathos and painful humor. Writer/director Robert Seigel shows immense talent as an observer of obsessive losers who have the audience's absolute empathy, despite of - or because of --their utter lack of self awareness. . Be warned if you're expecting another Adam Sandler Waterboy - it's NOT essentially a comedy, let alone a Hollywood one. In a blurb on the box, you might be misled into thinking that this is light fare about wacky sports fans. The same material could have easily been spun in a way similar to other light Hollywood comedies about obsessive fans like Fever PItch. That disconnect is likely why the film didn't much of an audience in its theatrical release and those who have seen it, expecting wacky Sandler-like mayhem, must have ejected the DVD disc before hitting the half hour mark. The film captures a culture of obsessive football fans who define their entire lives by the ups and downs of their team (The New York Giants in this case). Their own limited lives matter far less to them than the fate of their heroes. Paul, the lead character is self defeating. He runs away from any chance of getting out of his mother's house and his job as a parking lot attendant at the age of 35 and lives to call in to the sport phone in shows as the most super Giants fan of them all, his only accomplishment. That and getting the stuffing beaten out him, almost killing him, at the hands of the Giants' star QB. The casting of all supportive roles is stellar, from Paul's suffering mother to his Sancho Panza buddy in Giants obsession, to his sleazy brother, a personal injury lawyer. The film is grungy, and not aesthetically beautiful, but is appropriate to its dreary setting and characters. It's also paced beautifully. After this and the Wrestler (an excellent film, but I think this film is more interesting, despite Mickey Rourke's star power) I greatly anticipate what Robert Seigel will do next. Not to mention the star: Oswalt's performance is full of honesty and courage, he is very gifted with the pathos as well as the funny. Every twist and turn of Big Fan is surprising and fresh, and pays off. I thought the only misstep in Seigel's script was a hasty and apparently violent ending (last ten minutes) that didn't quite compute. In addition, no one changes or learns any lessons, which is possibly true to life, but not as interesting dramatically.

Josh Morris
Josh Morris

Super Reviewer

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