Nothing but films today. I didn’t even have time to eat until I got home.
I think that maybe at the end of this week I might be sick of coming out of one movie just to go into another, over and over, but right now I’m loving it. It’s also amazing how fast a day can go by when you’re in a theater the whole time. Man, I wish work days went by as fast as movie watching days, but sadly that is not the case.
Now on to the movies! One dramatic competition contender and two documentaries.
The first film I saw today was a screening of Big Fan starring Patton Oswalt and written/directed by Robert D. Siegel of The Wrestler fame.
You know that saying “There’s always someone worse off than you?” Well, Paul Aufiero (Oswalt) is that guy. Paul works in a parking garage booth, lives with his nagging mother, and his only happiness in life depends solely on the success of the New York Giants football team.
Paul is the saddest and most pathetic character ever created for the big screen. He spends his nights writing personal scripts to use when he calls into the local sports talk show. Like two immature geeks on an online video game message board, Paul and a man named “Philadelphia Phil” exchange heated football discussions back and forth. His Sundays are spent, not actually in the stadium, but with his buddy in the parking lot of the Giants’ stadium watching the game on a tiny TV hooked up to the car battery.
Paul tells everyone he’s happy, but he presents himself like a person who just saw a group of innocent puppies get slaughtered. Oswalt is normally a very funny man, but here he is pathetic. That’s not a slight against the film, because he is supposed to be pathetic, the warning is don’t expect a comedy.
The film drags on at the pace at which Paul approaches his life. Virtually nothing happens in the first half of the film, except we learn Paul’s brother is a sleaze bag attorney, his brother’s wife has enormous fake boobs, and his family doesn’t respect him.
The conflict comes when Paul and his buddy follow the star quarter back of the Giants team to a club, where Paul gets the living crap beat out of him after he discloses they’d been following the player. Now what does Paul do? Does he turn his favorite player in and risk the Giants losing? Does he sue the thug for all he’s worth? Do we really care?
It’s so hard to care for a character that doesn’t care for himself. There’s no redeeming value in Paul. When he finally confronts his nemesis “Philadelphia Phil” the scene is confusing, and doesn’t accomplish much other than showing us how immature these people really are.
I understand there are people out there that actually take something as trivial as sports this seriously, but a movie about it isn’t interesting. If I wanted to see this type of obsessive immaturity I’d go down to the local sports bar where it’s free.
This is the first documentary that I’ve seen at Sundance thus far, and it was worth it. If you have any heart or feeling in your soul you will connect with this film…that is unless you live in Taiji, Japan.
The Cove focuses on one tiny secluded piece of water in the town of Taiji, Japan where every year fisherman with large boats channel thousands of dolphins into a secluded bay. Here in the bay dolphins are sold to trainers from dolphin shows around the world. The dolphins who aren’t picked are then led to the cove in question where they are slaughtered, 23,000 every year.
The man behind the film is Ric O’Barry. He feels personally responsible for the plight of these dolphins and captive dolphins everywhere, because he’s the guy who made dolphins famous. He’s the brain behind TV show Flipper. After one of the five dolphins who played Flipper died, or as O’Barry says it “committed suicide” he has vowed that his life work will be to free the dolphins and stop the slaughter in Taiji.