An unblinking look at the hidden (or perhaps not so
hidden) pathology of American sports mania, in which the power and victory of your team becomes the sole conduit for your self-worth.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
Big Fan is a spasmodically funny and bleak film about the love that speaks its name.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
A bleakly funny character study of a very particular species of urban fauna -- the sports radio call-in fanatic -- Big Fan is compulsively watchable.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Audiences are invited to congratulate themselves for not reviling Paul, as long as they keep him at arm's length.
Vadim Rizov - Village Voice
The movie gets repetitive, and when it calls an audible and goes somewhere unexpected, it pulls back quickly. Too bad.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
Oswalt nails Paul's mix of sadness and devotion, and Siegel gives the whole affair an air of gloom with just the barest hint of satire.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
A comedy with dark undertones, it asks: What kind of a man listens to and calls sports talk radio compulsively, even at 2 a.m.? Even out of season? Even on, say, Thanksgiving? He should get a life, do you think?
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Though the movie isn't much to look at, he gets a credibly dark and pathetic performance from the typically comic Oswalt.
J. R. Jones - Chicago Reader
Big Fan shares a nutty kinship with the obsessive-loner pictures of Martin Scorsese, namely Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy. And while Oswalt is no De Niro, the stand-up comic brings a schlumpy pathos to his portrait that shows depth and dimension.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
Mr. Siegel nails so many quirky details, and finds humor in the smallest of moments, that Big Fan is surprisingly poignant, too.
Sara Vilkomerson - New York Observer
It's a small, peculiar film, one unlikely to appeal much to women, non-sports fans and mainstreamers, but its uncomfortable comic insights should win it a loyal following.
Todd McCarthy - Variety
Superb Noo Yawk attitude, dialogue and performances keep the movie lively and tart, but it also turns out to have a surprising plot with a few twists you won't see coming.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
First-time director Siegel shows promise. His script is solid, and although the last act feels somewhat awkward, the idea is clever.
Linda Barnard - Toronto Star
Writer-director Robert D. Siegel grew up listening to callers like Paul on The FAN, New York City's all-sports radio, and he gives us a bizarrely sympathetic portrait of a guy who is as devout and as obsessive as any religious fanatic.
Jonathan F. Richards - Film.com
With its unremittingly bleak humor and eagerness to plumb the depths of fanboy abjection, Big Fan seems destined for a future in the cult canon.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Writer/director Robert D. Siegel understands the psychology of the obsessive sports fan, and he brings it to the screen in Big Fan, a dark comedy that occasionally skirts close to the edge of tragedy.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
Dark and engrossing look at a sports fanatic.
Duane Byrge - Hollywood Reporter
What's left is a vivid portrait of an exceedingly ordinary man for whom there's no great epiphany or cliched redemption. That may be Siegel's trickiest play of all.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Robert Siegel makes a potent directing debut with a scrappy movie that refuses to sentimentalize or ridicule its besieged hero worshipper.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Big Fan is a poignant, dead-on character study, an examination of a crisis in the life of the most die-hard of die-hard New York Giants football fans.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
Astute at observing the behaviors and mindset of the fan who sees no distinction between himself and the team.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
David Fear - Time Out
Unlovable loser chooses the "low" road
Marty Mapes - Movie Habit
Paul may in many ways be the ultimate 'loser' but he feels like a 'winner', so this becomes not just a study of obsession but of the essence of self-delusion and its importance in many people's lives.
Amber Wilkinson - Eye for Film
effectively delivers the clueless mentality of the empty headed sports fanatic to life,
John A. Nesbit - Old School Reviews
There's always next season
S. James Wegg - JWR
The decision to look at sports fandom through the lens of addiction gives Big Fan its power, its believability, its pathos, and its humor.
Michael W. Phillips, Jr. - Goatdog's Movies
I didn't enjoy Big Fan, perhaps due to my lifelong total disinterest in sports but I can say that it is quite good and well-made, and Oswalt does a terrific job.
Karina Montgomery - Cinerina
An odd mixture of "Marty" and "The Cabdriver", best when it focuses on the Marty side of the equation.
Louis Proyect - rec.arts.movies.reviews
Big Fan is wonderfully written, cliche-free and fully capable of surprising you.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
Paul is a sad figure, but the edge is taken off this by his single-minded (some would say dim-witted) devotion to the Giants.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
...the movie boasts a rough visual sensibility that's mirrored in both the performances and the meandering narrative...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
We're stuck on the ledge, waiting to see if Paul will jump. Painful, but good.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
What makes Paul fascinating isn't how pathetic he is. It's how dignified he thinks he is, and how that knit blue cap with "NY" on the front gives his life meaning.
Rob Thomas - Capital Times (Madison, WI)
It's a classic situation, transplanted to a small, petty arena. When I think of this movie, I think of Oswalt, how his anguish feels real (whether we understand it or not) and how his face unaccountably becomes an offbeat locus of dignity.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Screenwriter Siegel, directing his first film, lavishes as much attention on forty-year-old virgin Paul as he did on "Randy the Ram" in The Wrestler.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
...Siegel seems more interested in exhibiting Paul as a not-so-rare species of delusional male thwartedness than granting him an interior life, but it's still a powerful and interesting bit of sociology.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
A Strong, Tightly-Wound Character Study That Suffers Minimally From Its 1st-Time Director.
Jimmy O - Film Snobs
Cliched New York type of creepy/funny film that might only appeal to the male sports fan.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Though not without its problems, it is not a film that's easy to forget about, nor do its questions all answer themselves at once.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Big Fan stretches credulity in spots, but for the most part, it manages to keep its eye on the ball.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Wrings pain out of heartbreaking truths, and steamrolls to an unpredictable conclusion that's suspenseful, mildly coincidental, but gut-wrenchingly sad.
Sean O'Connell - Charlotte Weekly
Siegel takes us to the brink of operatic melodrama, then lands us in a tragicomic spot: a psychological landscape of alternate life and make-believe death.
Michael Sragow - Baltimore Sun
Oswalt's performance alone makes Big Fan worth seeing.
Brian Tallerico - Movie Retriever
Engaging truth: You may need your favorite team more than it needs you.
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Big Fan, however, sticks to its guns and gives in to none of the sappiness or redemptive qualities of The Wrestler.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
In his first starring role, Oswalt, a stand-up comedian whose trademark persona is part comic-book geek and part frat-house hedonist, inhabits a character who is both painfully familiar and poignantly alone.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
[Siegel's] directorial debut has a real ring of truth to it, and benefits from having a terrific cast. Thanks to Oswalt, we like Paul more than we probably should.
Jeff Vice - Deseret News, Salt Lake City
...expected a typical obsessed sports fan flick but writer and first-time director Robert D. Siegel gives us more, and entertains too.
Robin Clifford - Reeling Reviews
At times Siegel makes his film painfully brutal at other times it feels like a savage black comedy. Yet Siegel never lets Paul become a mere character type.
Beth Accomando - KPBS.org
...an American independent that let us experience a different kind of minority lifestyle.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
More about the leading man's performance than being a comprehensive tale
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Though there are moments of comedy, Paul's abrasiveness makes it too hard to give oneself over to the humor and accept it on its own terms.
Sonny Bunch - Washington Times
Oswalt sells Auferio's pasty indecision and makes him a more sympathetic figure than he has any right to be.
Marc Mohan - Oregonian
A peculiar but oddly effective portrait...of a loser not so much trapped as unwilling to try to escape.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
[Oswalt] is doing work here he has never done on screen.
Michael Phillips - At the Movies
A clever, darkly funny look inside the world of one intensely obsessive sports fan.
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
It's a modest, drab little drama about a psychologically unstable guy living in a sad little corner of America.
A.O. Scott - At the Movies
I could imagine a very good movie being made about rabid, angry football fans in New York and Philadelphia... but Big Fan just plain doesn't work, mostly because it doesn't understand the world it inhabits.
Stephen Silver - The Trend
A fascinating character study and a deeply felt blow to the gut.
Robert Levin - Critic's Notebook
Big Fan isn't a touchdown, but its patient torture reminded me of the rest of the world's football: tense stretches of nothing with enough killer moments to cheer.
Amy Nicholson - I.E. Weekly
Robert Siegel, the writer-director of Big Fan, was also the writer of The Wrestler, last year's most overrated movie. In some ways, I like this one more, but it's yet another grunge fest.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
A stronger director could have turned this material and its complex themes into a taut, ironic thriller.
Robert Davis - Paste Magazine
Suffers from a lazy, bland screenplay deficient in sharpness, insight and imagination which can't be saved by Patton Oswalt's oddly engaging performance.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
A sort of indie throwback to low-fidelity 1970s character cinema, the perfectly detailed Big Fan makes a stinging and yet insightful comment on the culture of obsessive fandom, and the quiet savvy of its finale lies in the manner in which Siegel de
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
Oswalt effectively demonstrates that he's ready for more than just funny stuff, but it'll take a less one-note movie to really let him show something.
Luke Y. Thompson - E! Online
Dean Essner - Bullz-Eye.com
Dean Essner - National Post
Dave White - Movies.com
The movie concludes with a series of tense, unpredictable scenes. Isn't that why we love sports so much, because we never know what will happen?
Noel Murray - AV Club
In its lack of big moments, of soliloquies explaining deep hurts and connections between characters who never understood each other before, Big Fan feels refreshingly real.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
Oswalt's performance is at once hilarious and touching, shifting from sunny to cloudy to stormy with a smoothness that's inspiring.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The offbeat Big Fan stays poised on the edge of comedy and tragedy, and doesn't tip its hand until, well, the final gun.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
The rough edges suit Big Fan well, making for a fragrant depiction of pro sports appreciation slowly asphyxiated to a gasp of inconsolable delirium. In other words, don't mess with a Giants fan.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
When Big Fan flies too far afield, it loses fans along the way.
Norm Schrager - Filmcritic.com
Regardless of where you fall on the scale, you'll appreciate how both the writer-director and Oswalt deftly balance treating Paul with bemused condescension and bruised humanity.
David Fear - Time Out New York
It is a fabulous "What If?" and Siegel's screenplay squeezes drama out of every possible story permutation.
Jordan Hoffman - UGO
It acutely illustrates how excessive sports fanaticism functions as a strain of insanity that, as posited by the "happy" coda, recommences with every new season.
Nick Schager - Slant Magazine
Patton Oswalt is sympathetic (at times heart breaking) and makes the film completely worth watching.
Whitney Borup - Film Threat
A Taxi Driver style moody yarn about your basic Big Apple bottom feeder schlemiel moping his way through existence, the film touches on the darker side of sports geekdom and living life as a spectator sport through others.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
With Big Fan, screenwriter Robert Siegel's directorial debut, the schmaltz-meister that wrote The Wrestler shows us that he's grown leaps and bounds as an artist in the span of just one year.
Simon Abrams - New York Press
Robert Siegel (screenwriter of "The Wrestler") makes an gloomy but respectable debut with a dark drama that revels in a particular New York character type living within clearly drawn societal lines.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Siegel's shots are dirty, his dialogue sharp, and his knack for avoiding cliches is rare; Oswalt's performance is a selfless, measured descent into madness that deserves some sort of award
Larry Carroll - MTV
The film itself ends pretty well, but only after a run-of-the-mill start that gets cheap laughs out of funny clothes and stupid people from Staten Island.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix
Patton does something pretty amazing here, creating a character that is all at once comedic, heartbreaking, and supremely insightful.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
Roll over Quentin Tarantino and tell Robert Rodriguez the news. With Big Fan, Robert Seigel proves that the existential poetics of popular culture have a new laureate.
Ray Greene - Boxoffice Magazine