Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Turning on the Fans

There's a movie that I wanted to see when it was out in the theatres for fifteen minutes, but I missed that narrow window of opportunity.  It's on free-per-view right now, on the Sundance channel movies, and it's called "Big Fan."

Patton Oswalt, who played a guy who lived with his mom and sold subway tokens in a tiny booth on "King of Queens" really steps out of his comfort zone in this one. He plays Paul Aufiero, a guy who lives with his mom, but is a parking garage cashier in a tiny booth in this movie.  But I'm not knocking it.  The movie is great.  All I can tell you is that it's about a guy who devotes his entire life to being the #1 fan of the New York Giants football team.  Tell you any more, and I'd be ruining it for you, and I do recommend it.  Trust me.  I was right about "Ernest Has Jury Duty," wasn't it?

With football season approaching, people in Baltimore are in an odd state.  The baseball team is doing better than it has in any season since 1997, and the football team wasn't much good in that year.  Now the Orioles are right in the middle of the pennant race and the Ravens start their season this Monday with expectations that this has to be the year they win it all.  (No pressure there...)

I'm a big fan, myself, but I enjoy the game from the perspective of watching talented athletes do what they do so well.  Paul Aufiero is a character who represents those people who seem to misplace the perspective, taking the wins and losses of his team entirely too seriously, and even saying, "We're gonna win..." as if he were out there at left tackle or something.

I don't even think the players themselves get so stoked up as to call and argue a botched double play or dropped interception with a guy on a radio show or another caller.  In fact, I have read stories about people who became professional athletes because they were born with a preternatural ability to throw, hit or catch a ball, and not because they were deeply interested in it.  They even say, in some cases, that they couldn't care much about the history of the game.  They see it as a nice way to earn more than they would at almost any other occupation except for being CEO of Bain Capital, and they drive home after the game, wondering why people are hollering on the radio about a game that's already over.

Listen, it's no problem if some wish to display an overwhelming interest in sports, but "Big Fan" will show you that there is a dangerous side to all this.  And I might as well admit that we watched it on Monday evening, because the Orioles had played (and won!) in the afternoon that day, and so there was no baseball to watch that night. 

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