Three-times MVP baseball player Bobby Rayburn joins the San Francisco Giants, and obsessive fan, whose profession is selling hunting knives, Gil Renard is excited over that. But Rayburn plays the worst season of his career and Renard tries to do everything to help him, but goes too far. Written by
In the final sequence, Bobby Rayburn tries for an inside the park homer but is called out at the plate. Not only does he run the bases in a torrential downpour; it is pitch dark. At night games, stadium lights illuminate the field so it looks like daylight. See more »
[Gil narrating his poem]
Excited and anxious, I await my dream / To escape, applaud and embrace my team / Opening day I always can trust / It's just for this high that I crazily lust / Return of our hero does brighten the days / Just briefly my troubles get lost in the haze / The grace from the field arouses the crowd / Reflects on the days when I was quite proud / I'm more entranced than the average fan / I used to play, you see, and I know I still can / That time I drove the ball ...
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Although The Fan has a baseball setting with the late Candlestick Park in San Francisco, it's not a baseball story. It's the dual story of a fan obsessed with baseball and his favorite player and that same player and his performance anxiety living up to the huge amount of money the Giants are paying him.
The title role is played by Robert DeNiro and a lot of his character is taken from what Michael Douglas had earlier did in Falling Down. DeNiro is the son of the founder of the company he works for, but dad having passed away long ago, the company is in different hands. DeNiro is not cutting it as a salesman of hunting knives (no pun intended) and he's having problems with his former wife Patty D'Arbanville-Quinn over visitation with his son.
At the same time multi-million dollar acquisition Wesley Snipes is having problems living up to the hype and he's looking like a big old bust. Especially next to new Giant sensation Benicio DelToro who is carrying the team with what looks like a Most Valuable Player season. Snipes is only doing well on one front, his relationship with his young son.
As his life falls apart DeNiro starts fixating on his favorite player and what he can do to help motivate him. After that this film gets truly bizarre.
But DeNiro who probably has more disturbed characters under his creative belt than any other actor around today keeps it all real. He's matched by Wesley Snipes who plays a Barry Bonds like superstar who gets a good life lesson by the end of the film.
In fact Snipes realizes it before the film ends. As he quite realistically says, it's just a game, it's not like we're out there discovering a cure for cancer. The problem is that there are too many out there, fans like DeNiro in sports and in show business who get way too caught up in it.
Look also for nice performances by Ellen Barkin who has a sports phone-in show and John Leguizamo as Snipes's agent and the wisest guy he has around him.
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