Big Fan Hits Theaters Today

Friday, August 28, 2009 |

As the Giants prepare to face the Jets for the 41st consecutive preseason tomorrow night (they are 18-21-1 in the previous 40 contests), I figured I'd drop this quick post to remind you that writer/director Robert Siegel's Big Fan opens today (Fri. 8/28) in New York and Philadelphia.

I did a short write-up about the film back in July, but here's another link to the trailer.

In short, Big Fan is the intense story of Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt), an obsessed Giants fan whose violent run-in with his favorite player (the fictional linebacker Quantrell Bishop) brings his entire world crashing down around him.

In the wake of the Plaxico Burress fiasco, the film's pivotal scene cuts
chillingly close to the bone, so it will be interesting to see how the Giants organization responds to it. In a recent interview with Deadspin, Siegel (The Wrestler) told Sarah Schorno that he did not seek (or need) permission from the Giants or the NFL to use the team's name, trademarks, or stadium as a backdrop in the film, and that the filmmakers have "no formal relationship with the team." Though former Giants tight end Howard Cross has cooperated with the filmmakers by participating in a few Q&As, Giants VP of Communications Pat Hanlon told me this morning that to his knowledge, nobody in the organization has seen the film. That would, I assume, include linebacker Jonathan Goff, who shares a number (54) and position with the fictional Bishop. 

In today's New York Times, Mahnola Dargis writes that Big Fan is an "agreeably low-key and modest film" that "avoids sentimentality without abandoning sentiment." Those are words rarely, if ever, used to describe--for lack of a better phrase--sports films.

To my knowledge, Big Fan is the first feature film since Warner Bros' atrocious 1972 adaptation of Fred Exley's masterpiece, A Fan's Notes, in which the New York Giants are featured in any kind of prominent way.

As an official partner of the film I'll be screening it over the weekend and likely posting a review. I'm also working to arrange a short interview w/ Siegel, who like me is a native Long Islander and graduate of the University of Michigan. So stay tuned for updates on that.