Though he’d yet to see the film, David Roth recently described the protagonist in the Patton Oswalt schmuck-vehicle “Big Fan” as “a lumpy, quietly pathological obsessive Giants fan who fucks his life up through that obsession.” The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick is slightly more effusive in his praise for screenwriter/director Robert Siegel‘s followup to “The Wrestler”, declaring, “this one’s for New York sports fans, all of us, from the logical to the lunatics; this one gets us where we live; this one’s for us.” Or, perhaps, this one’s for you, you WFAN-calling motherfuckers.
Paul, slickly and sickly played by Patton Oswalt, is a habitual caller to “The Sports Dogg,” played by Scott Ferrall, the transient sports talker/act now heard over Sirius/XM. Ferrall’s never seen, but his casting — his voice and his script — make for perfect.
Paul brings to mind Marty, the poor soul butcher in the Oscar-winning 1955 movie “Marty.” Screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky made Marty 35, and had him live with his mother, but in The Bronx, not Staten Island. Marty and Paul, more than 50 years apart, are much the same, except Marty was a passive schnook. Paul works at it.
Paul attends every Giant home game. He tailgates before and then during the games — he doesn’t actually have tickets. He’s pathetic and detached, but harmless.
We all know him. We know him from inside the Garden or just outside Yankee Stadium. We know him from the old neighborhood and from listening to WFAN. We know several of him, and in different degrees, all the way to total weirdo.
Sickly. Pathetic. Detatched. Weirdos. If this is what Mushnick thinks of persons who hang out in East Rutherford on Sunday afternoons and ring sports yack radio in the middle of the night, how might he describe the diminishing number of persons who actually read the NY Post sports section every day?