A parking garage attendant and lifelong New York Giants fan finds his life spinning out of control following an altercation with his favorite football player in this darkly comic drama starring Patton Oswalt. For 35-year-old Staten Island native Paul Aufiero (Oswalt), sports are a religion. Paul still lives with his mother, he's the self-proclaimed "world's biggest New York Giants fan," and he spends most of his spare time calling in to the local sports radio station 760 "The Zone," where he can frequently be heard bickering with his contentious on-air nemesis Philadelphia Phil (Michael Rapaport), a fervent Eagles fan. Berated by his family for his obsessive love of sports, Paul retorts that they simply cannot appreciate the responsibility that goes with being the New York Giants' number one fan. One night, Paul and his best friend, Sal (Kevin Corrigan), spot Giants linebacker Quantrell Bishop (Jonathan Hamm) at a local gas station and impulsively follow his SUV to a Manhattan strip club. Once inside, the two friends bask quietly in the presence of football greatness before cautiously approaching their idol. When things don't go as planned and Paul winds up in the hospital, the resulting media frenzy finds him questioning everything he believes in just as his beloved team begins preparing for a late-season showdown with the Eagles. Former Onion scribe and Wrestler screenwriter Robert D. Siegel makes his feature directorial debut with this film, which he also scripted.
It's a shame that the only other review of this film didn't get it. This ain't "Rudy", it's a beautiful character study of a lower middle class working stiff whose only hope in life is to march to victory vicariously, on the shoulders of Giants; The New York Giants. Paul's facade is that of the "#1 Giants fan", but in reality he's just an insecure guy who can't even call his favorite sports-talk show without a script in front of him. Of course he lives in his mother's basement, and takes relentless abuse from angry customers at the parking garage where he works. The deep pain he feels from his meager existence, however, is all forgotten when Sunday rolls around. Sadly the heroes he has exalted turn out to be worse than he is, as his sincere but naive appreciation of their greatness is shattered by the reality of who they are. Yet Paul remains loyal, even after his heart, and several bones are broken. The real enemy is a fan of the opposing team. The climactic scene when he finally confronts his radio call-in rival, Philadelphia Phil is both shocking and oddly hilarious when the truth is revealed.
This is a story of hero worship gone terribly awry as Paul inadvertently unmasks his idol, only to discover that behind that facade is a face far uglier than his own. This is a sort of "Death of A Salesman" for sports fanatics. Paul is Willy Loman, in a way. He's a phony, but an endearing phony, who is just doing the best that he can.
Let me be clear, this is not a great film, nor is it a particularly important one, but it is a very good story of the pathos of everyday existence, as we struggle to define ourselves in a world where those we hold up as heroes, are not worthy of the effort it takes to lift them there.
More than 1 year ago
Maybe the worst movie I've ever wasted that much time on.