Ebertfest Day Two – Big Fan

Big FanTo kick things off for Day Two of Ebertfest, we were treated to Big Fan. Big Fan is a movie about a New York Giants superfan, Paul (Patton Owalt) that spends his life obsessing with the Giants. He spends his free time, as well as some time at work, writing diatribes to call-in sports shows at one in the morning. His life changes forever when he finally meets his hero, Giants player Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm). His life changes even more when Bishop beats him within an inch of his life.

Paul is by most accounts, a total loser. He lives with his mom, works as an attendent in a parking garage, and has no aspirations beyond rooting for the Giants. His indifference to what his family wants for him is partially what makes him an interesting character. While it’s easy to judge him and write him off as a loser, Paul is truly happy with his choices in life. Even for those of us that have a small interest in sports will find relatable things in Paul’s lifestyle and his behaviors.

Big Fan is a movie about sports at its core, but it is quite removed from being a “sports movie”. One can literally have no knowledge of the sport of football and still understand nearly everything in this film. In fact, during the Q&A session with writer/director Robert Siegel, he admitted that Oswalt himself has an embarrassingly little amount of sports knowledge, yet nails the role.

Speaking of the Q&A session, it was one of the best at Ebertfest so far. Siegel was genuinely funny and frank about his movie and it was a delight to hear from him and his thoughts. It’s an absolute shame that Patton Oswalt, whom was scheduled to be here this week, was unable to attend, Siegel more than made up for his absence with his charm. While it wasn’t a technical discussion, it was informative and introspective to the process of this movie and others.

I give it 4 radio sports show call-ins out of 5.

Some interesting Ebertfest links:

The festival’s main site: http://www.ebertfest.com/
Stream the interview sessions for free: http://ustre.am/JauL
Follow me on Twitter @WatchesMovies


Rotten Tomatoes


14 responses to “Ebertfest Day Two – Big Fan

  1. This has always been on my “random movies to watch” list simply because I know so many diehard fans. Sounds like it, along with the whole festival, is a great experience.

  2. the q & a was great. he mentioned the parking lot scene and how it annoyed him that he messed up by not shooting it full, which we learned wasn’t easy because they kind of “crashed the party.” there were a few other inconsistencies that bothered me. for example, the last 20 or 30 minutes of the movie took place during the last two weeks of the football season. that would be during the last two weeks of december. nowhere did i see any christmas decorations, which would have been rather prevalent that time of year. also, at the start of the movie, the caller “philadelphia phil” referred to the giants having a record of 9 wins, 2 losses. that would place the start of the film at least as late as thanksgiving, probably another week after. at about the middle of the film, the sports radio host talked about how the yankees were doing in the playoffs. unfortunately, the baseball season would have ended before thanksgiving, so there’s no way baseball would still be in season.

    yeah, i’m being picky, but the director should be picky about that too.

    glad you’re enjoying the fest. i am too.

    • Thanks for commenting! Glad you’re having a good time too!

      I hardly notice inconsistencies like that the first time I watch movies, but since this was my second time seeing it I did notice some of the timeline issues. I think Siegel probably wasn’t thinking about that sort of thing too much when he was shooting since it was his first picture, but that’s probably one of the reasons why it bothers him watching it now. Very interesting, though.

  3. Pingback: Ebertfest Wrap-Up | Andy Watches Movies

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