Big Fan

Comedian Patton Oswalt triumphantly nails every comic and dramatic nuance as Paul Aufiero, a New York Giants obsessive who has long ago moved from fan to fanatic. At 36, Paul still lives with Mom, works a dead-end job at a parking garage, and stays up nights prepping football rants to deliver on a radio call-in show. Paul's only support is his pal Sal (an outstanding Kevin Corrigan), who joins Paul as he stalks Giant linebacker Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) into a Manhattan strip club, where Paul comes on too strong and gets his ass kicked. Brutally. Bishop is suspended, but the fan won't sue. He has his reasons. Paul is a setup for an easy joke on losers. That the joke never comes is a tribute to writer Robert Siegel (The Wrestler), who makes a potent directing debut with a scrappy movie that refuses to sentimentalize or ridicule its besieged hero worshipper. His pain, like his loneliness, is palpably real.

From The Archives Issue 244: July 28, 1977
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