Black SplatThe Fan (1996)
   

"You fuck with me, I'll send your head into the outfield!"

The Fan - Robert De Niro as Gil Renard threatens a little league baseball coach

Description: Robert De Niro as Gil Renard, a dysfunctional baseball fanatic argues with his son's little league coach in the motion picture The Fan (1996).

Gil Renard is a hunting knife salesman who works at the business started by his father. But lately Gil's sales are down and as the new management tells Gil, "Your father wasn't a business man, Gil... and neither are you...That's the bottom line." Within a short time, Gil is fired ("I want your reorder book. Outstanding commissions will be forwarded.")


Gil Renard: You sure I can't interest you in any of this?
Sporting Goods Clerk: You got any kayaks?
Gil Renard: You gotta be outta' your fuckin' mind, "kayaks"?
Sporting Goods Clerk: I could use kayaks.
Gil Renard: Stanley, what the fuck do kayaks have to do with knives?
Sporting Goods Clerk: Never mind.
Gil Renard: You fuckin' asshole, "kayaks" you're asking me about, when I'm asking you about knives?
Sporting Goods Clerk: Yeah. Ok, I understand, sir. Thank you for coming in.
Gil Renard: How about you take some kayaks and stick 'em up your fuckin' ass, ya moron.

While his career is going down the drain, and his relationsjip with his ex-wife and son on the rocks, Gil holds on to the only thing in his life that has any meaning, his love of baseball, in particular, The San Francisco Giants.

Obsessed with the game, Gil becomes a devoted fan of Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes), a three-time MVP all-star center-fielder traded from the Atlanta Braves who joins the team after signing a $40 million dollar contract.

The Fan - Gil Renard at baseball game with his son

But when Bobby begins to have a bad season, Gil believes that Bobby's bad luck is tied to a rival team player named Juan Primo (Benicio Del Toro) who is playing well that season. To eliminate what he feels is the reason Rayburn is slumping, Gil attacks Primo with a knife and puts him out of business.

As his obsession continues, Gil takes advantage of a potential tragedy and saves Bobby's son who is drowning at the beach. Latching onto Bobby as a friend, and playing down the fact that he loves the game, Gil worms his way in to Bobby's life. Gil is nicknamed "Curly."


Bobby Rayburn: You like baseball?
Gil Renard: Well, I'm not obsessed with it or anything.
Bobby Rayburn: At least you're not one of those diehard, you know, baseball fans, you know, really.
Gil Renard: Why's that?
Bobby Rayburn: Because those guys are losers.
Gil Renard: Aren't the fans what it's all about?
Bobby Rayburn: Sheee-it! I'll tell you something, man, the fans are like women. When you're hitting, they love you, and when you're not, they just as soon spit on you as look at you!

After a while, Gil resents the fact that Bobby seems ungrateful for all of his help (after all, he killed Primo for him) and that he seems to no longer care about the game or his fans so he devises a plan. Kidnapping Bobby's son, Sean, Gil tells Bobby, that if he does not play the best game of his life in the last game of the season, his son will pay for that.

"I want you to hit a home room for me Bob. I'm serious as a heart attack, Bobby. So Bobby, I'm watching you. If that pitcher goes easy on you, I'm gonna hurt your kid."

As Bobby tries to reason with Gil, he inadvertently upsets him, as Gil shouts, "Don’t you talk back to me! You show me some respect! Without people like me, you’re nothing! We’re the ones that get you your 40 fuckin’ million!"

The Fan - 'Don't you talk back to me'

Exasperated at Gil's crazed demeanor, Bobby asks, "Look, what do you want?” Gil replies, “What do I want? I want every time they think of you, they're gonna think of me.”

In his spiral down to madness, Gil also finds time to beat to death with a bat Coop, an old friend who used to play little league ball with him when he was 12-years-old. Coop (Charles Hallahan) tried to help Sean escape.

In a final confrontation, Bobby chases Gil (disguised as the umpire) to the middle of the baseball field as the police surround Gil who is wielding one of his large hunting knives. As the rain continues to pour, Bobby pleads, "Where is my boy?"

Gil realizes that he is now in the spotlight as his image is being projected in the Jumbo Screen in the stadium. Bobby continues to plead with Gil, but in the end, Gil as if winding up for the pitch of his lifetime starts to throw his knife, at which time, the police open fire. Bobby runs to Gil's mortally wounded body and pleads again, "Where is my son, but Gil dies. However, Sean is alive and safe in the very little league ball park Gil played as a child. A room littered with baseball clippings of Bobby, illustrated Gil's obsession to the game

In the end, in Gil's mind, he sacrificed his life (like a good ballplayer sacrifices a hit for his team) to make Bobby care about life and in doing so care about the game of baseball that Gil loved so much.


The Fan - Wesley Snipes faces off with Robert De Niro

[Bobby wields a baseball bat and Gil grips a knife as they face off on the ball field as the skies open up with rain and the police with guns drawn surround them.]

Bobby Rayburn: Okay! Okay! I just want my kid back!
Gil Renard: Batter up, Bobby. I waited a long time for this.
Bobby Rayburn: Where's Sean?
Gil Renard: Where do you think he is?
Bobby Rayburn: Come on. Where is my son?
Gil Renard: Where's Bobby...Where's my homerun?
Bobby Rayburn: What!!! Where is my son?
Gil Renard: I don't know. [looks into the rainy sky] I guess he's in that big stadium in the sky.
Bobby Rayburn: I'm telling you Curly. If you hurt my fuckin' kid. I swear to god I'm going to kill you.
Gil Renard: Bobby! Be nice, Bob.
Bobby Rayburn: What do you want from me, huh!
Gil Renard: I don't want anything. I just want you to...I never showed you my best pitch.
Bobby Rayburn: CURLY!
Gil Renard: [Gil looks at his image in the Jumbo Screen]
Bobby Rayburn: CURLY!
Gil Renard: [Gil looks at the screen and then takes his knife, raises it and appears to wind up for a pitch to throw the knife.]
Police Officer: [Pointing gun] FREEZE!
Bobby Rayburn: No! No! Don't shoot. He's got my son.
Gil Renard: BOBBY! Now do you care?
Bobby Rayburn: [Bobby looks back at Gil, but is speechless]
Gil Renard: [Seeing Bobby does care] Just a little bit. [Gil winds up for the pitch to throw the knife]
Bobby Rayburn: CURLY! DON'T! [Police shoot Gil and bring him down. Bobby walks over to Gil as the rain continues to fall] Curly, where's my son? Where's Sean, Curly? Where's my son?
Gil Renard: [dying] A simple thank you would have been nice. [Gil dies]

The Fan - Movie Poster


 
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