Sunday, September 5, 2010

Patton Oswalt in Big Fan (2009)

I've just watched Big Fan.  This is a fantastic movie - one of the best that I've seen in the past few years.

The movie explores fandom.  The central character, Paul Aufiero (played by Patton Oswalt), is a 35-year old who grudgingly lives with his mom and whose sole reward in life is following the New York Giants.  He is a good-hearted person who tries to get along with his family, works hard (as a parking lot attendant), nurtures his one friendship, and -- in one of the more interesting subplots -- is really polite.

Aufiero repeatedly calls a local sports show (under the tag "Staten Island Paul") and comes out of his shell (a little bit) in his pre-written odes to the Giants. He and his bud Sal go to all the home games, even though they're relegated to watching from a television in the parking lot.

The movie was written and directed by Robert Siegel, and I am an immediate fan of both Siegel and Oswalt (I didn't previously know of either, though I remember this movie getting talked up last summer on the Culture Gabfest and elsewhere).

On a personal level, the movie made me think about my own fandom.  On a social level, it made me think about the phenomenon of human tribalism and how sports teams might actually be a really good outlet for people's tribal energies, which can otherwise be funnelled towards more violent channels.

467.  Did Oswalt get any nominations for acting awards for Big Fan? Not only was his character extremely well-written, but his acting job was tops.

468.  The film uses real NFL player references.  Did they have to get special permission to do so?  It kind of surprised me that real players were referenced, given the dark tone of the movie.

469. I went to UVa's season opener last night with Chap and his friend Chris. We beat Richmond, 34-13, to inaugurate the Mike London era. The game was close until the fourth quarter, and it was a gorgeous Charlottesville evening. How many wins for the new Hoos? I predict 6-6, which I think would bode well for building the team into the future.

 This picture is from just before the Cavs' second touchdown.  Keith Payne had four touchdowns for us!

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