Big Fan is a small little film about the line between being a “fan” of something or someone, and obsession. For any sports fan, it will ring true, but it’s also relevant to “fans” of all kinds. Just a couple weeks ago, people were making a huge deal about what film would win the Academy Award for Best Picture, with fans of Moonlight and La La Land taking sides about which film was better and deserved the prize. I’d encourage some of those film lovers to take a look at Big Fan and then a look in the mirror.
Patton Oswalt stars in Big Fan, and delivers a standout performance. It’s the kind of performance you really only see in indie film; he’s not afraid to make himself look bad – ugly, even – on the inside, a small man with a small life. His family desperately wants him to grow up – to get a real job, find a relationship, learn to take care of himself; but he insists that this is the life he wants.
Living vicariously through a sports team probably isn’t the healthiest lifestyle – but who’s to say what someone “should” or “shouldn’t” derive pleasure from? Big Fan does seem to take a side in the argument, but it’s not delivered in a judgmental way; while Big Fan doesn’t paint main character Paul in a particularly flattering light, it also doesn’t have much love for the characters around him either.