All I know is the world of response papers and data analysis. This has seeped into my personal life. Here is a comparison of two films: Big Fan and Buffalo 66.
Big Fan (2009)
Oswalt plays 37-year old “Paul from Staten Island,” one of the biggest NY Giant fans in town, but also maybe one of the most broke. He works at a parking garage payment booth and lives with his mother who nags him about getting a job and family, things that “normal people” have. He loves to tailgate at the home Giants games, but unfortunately canonly afford to watch the games on TV in the parking lot with his best (only?) friend, Sal (Kevin Corrigan). He especially idolizes Quantrell Bishop, the Giants’ star quarterback. He gets his kicks from calling a local radio show and ragging out his arch-nemesis-of-the-radio-waves, Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rappaport, hell yeah!). Long story short, said idol QB Bishop kicks the shit out of Paul in a nightclub and as a result he is comatose for three days. When he comes back-to, he is surrounded by reporters, detectives, and his own attorney brother who all want him to press charges. Paul just wants the Giants to do well, and he knows if Bishop is convicted, he won’t be able to play. This is Paul’s struggle.
Buffalo 66 (1998)
Billy Brown was brought up by a neurotic and selfish family. His mother (Anjelica Huston) is an avid Buffalo Bills fan and thinks about little else. His father (Ben Gazzara) is, well, a weird asshole? Billy gets out of jail and has to reconstruct the glamorous lifestyle he has been lying to his parents about since his incarceration. Enter Layla (Christina Ricci). Kidnapped and forced to play into the charade as Billy’s doting wife, “Wendy Balsam,” Ricci goes along with the whole thing. An odd family reunion ensues, and we get a taste of just how weird Billy’s life must have always been. We wonder, how did he get into jail in the first place? Well, ironically enough, it’s because of the Bills, baby. Billy Brown made a bet for the Bills to win the Superbowl, and surprise surprise, they don’t win. He doesn’t have the cash to pay for the bet, so he takes the wrap for someone else’s crime (we never know what this crime is). This is in exchange for the bookie (Mickey Rourke) to not break his legs. Billy never forgets the losing game, and blames the Bill’s (quarterback?) Scott Woods. He goes to Woods’ strip club to blow his brains out.
So we have NFL football teams and their failures as big blows to the protagonists of these films. Both Paul and Billy have families that seemingly do not understand them. One key difference here is that Paul doesn’t pretend to be something he’s not, and expects his family to take him at face value. Billy, on the other hand, hides his incarceration from his family, replacing the truth with a string of lies about his successful government job and loving wife. Both Paul and Billy plan the violent demise of a nemesis, but neither actually goes through with it. And both have encounters with their (former or current) football hero. Each of them has a loser best friend, and guess what, they are played by the same actor (Kevin Corrigan)!!! I think I have a new favorite actor by the way, and it is he. He isn’t even credited in Buffalo 66 by the way. He was also in Zebrahead and True Romance along with Michael Rappaport, oh the connections!
Both of these films are darkly funny, but Buffalo 66 is definitely darker. I think Big Fan is trying to be a more mainstream version of Buffalo 66, but I don’t think the mainstream public got the memo, because I don’t think Big Fan did very well in theaters. Either way, I think most people would like Big Fan, if only nominally, and it’s nice to see a new movie every now and again. I won’t be going out to buy it anytime soon, but it is good to know that not everything hitting theaters these days is a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston.
Update: Coincidentally enough, I checked out the Rotten Tomatoes webpage and saw that they are currently accepting submissions for Homage or Stealing: You Make the Call, a segment sometimes featured on the show. I submitted another video for consideration, check it out on their page! Here’s hoping they use it!