Fan [1981]

Lurid thrillers don't get much more shameless than this movie, in which Robert De Niro plays a pathological baseball fan whose obsession is focused on a San Francisco Giants all-star outfielder (Wesley Snipes). While the newly signed baseball star is having trouble getting his favorite uniform number from a competitive teammate (Benicio Del Toro), De Niro is having career troubles at the knife company his father founded, and you can bet that his proximity to high-quality stainless-steel blades will be a factor in the suspenseful plot. Recycling parts of his maniacal roles in Taxi Driver, The King of Comedy, and Cape Fear, De Niro takes his idolatry to violent extremes, eliminating any obstacle to Snipes's stardom until the baseball hero is forced to confront his most terrifying devotee. Directed with brutal excess and souped-up style by Tony Scott (Top Gun, Crimson Tide), this manipulative nail-biter pulls all the right strings in predictable fashion, but it does have moments that are effectively intense. --Jeff Shannon

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