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Movie Review: Big Fan

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I finally was able to watch Big Fan, starring my favorite living comedian Patton Oswalt and written and directed by Robert Siegel, who wrote the brilliant screenplay for The Wrestler.

Big Fan concerns a football super-fan named Paul. His favorite team is his whole life aside from his job as a tollbooth attendant. He is close to middle-aged and lives at home with his mother. According only to him, his life is going just fine. That is until he is beaten almost to death by the star quarterback of his favorite team.

What is refreshing about this movie is the honest portrayal of Paul. He’s the stereotypical loser character, but the movie is about him and his perspective. The movie doesn’t make fun of him or make the audience laugh at him. You’re there with him and you feel what he feels.

The movie comments specifically about our culture’s idolization of athletes, musicians, and other types of celebrities, who are all too often, in reality, amoral criminals. There is a scene in the movie where a six-year-old boy is brought a birthday cake with rapper 50 Cent on it. Nobody says anything and you’re just wondering, who is letting this kid listen to 50 Cent? It’s like that terrible movie that came out recently, Notorious, about the life of Biggie Smalls. In reality he was a drug dealer, and possibly a murderer. Yet, at the end, after his funeral, he is thrown a parade as if he was MLK or something. Talk about a backwards sense of values.

I had mixed feelings about the climax and ending of the movie. I can see why it would be hard not to. I don’t have any issue with what happened, but something bothered me about how it was done in the film. I can guarantee you that the ending is not the ending that you want or hope for. Once I realized that the movie did not give me the ending I wanted, rather Paul’s ending and a truthful ending, I came to terms with it.

Overall, with the direction being the weakest link, this was a very good first film from Siegel. I think he is an amazing writer and could possibly become just as good a director. Patton Oswalt showed some good range in a more serious role. A good movie in the vain of darker movies like Taxi Driver, but with a lighter touch.

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