As Scout Tafoya points out in his 25th installment in the "Unloved" series of video essays on under-discussed films for RogerEbert.com, we live in a culture in which fandom is often mistaken for cultural awareness, in which celebrities are like kings surrounded by flailing, worshipful peasants. Patton Oswalt’s New York Giants-worshipping Paul Aufiero in 2009’s ‘Big Fan‘ would seem to be a natural product of this sort of national impulse, the tortured, embarrassing result of a world in which following greatness might be considered a step towards achieving greatness of one’s own, when in fact, an entirely different set of activities is required. As in this film, our attempts at getting closer to those we idolize are rendered even more painful when the results of our labors are not what we were expecting. Oswalt’s work in Robert D. Siegel’s film was riveting, like a well-acted car crash; Tafoya, as always, walks us through that crash, shows us the parts, assesses the damage, and shows us how this car crash is probably the best car crash we could possibly watch.
Watch: How the Patton Oswalt Vehicle ‘Big Fan’ Critiques Celebrity Culture