7 September 2011
We’ve been waiting months for the first teasers of this film to come out and here it is now, finally. “It may be the last stand of honor in the world” says comedian Jack Black. But why birding?
A US Forest Service census (PDF) of non-institutionalised people found that as many as 84 million Americans go birdwatching. This led editors of the popular US birding website 10,000 birds to suggest the number would have been much higher if the institutionalised folks had also been surveyed ; )
Could there be a more guaranteed audience? Only time will tell. David Frankel, Director, interviewed for Birds and Blooms says “We believe we portray birders both accurately and respectfully. The film portrays competitive birders with great warmth and enthusiasm for their ambition, and great fascination with their obsession”.
One thing’s for certain, the birding community will ‘flock’ to see this. I, like many others, are nerderly (if there is such a word) excited.
Directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Entourage, Sex & the City) and producers by, amongst others, Ben Stiller, “the Big Year” is based on Mark Obmascik’s book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession. The film stars Owen Wilson, Steve Martin, Jack Black, Jim Parsons, Rashida Jones, Anjelica Huston, Dianne Wiest, JoBeth Williams, Brian Dennehy, Rosamund Pike and Tim Blake Nelson. and was co-written by Howard Franklin (The Name of the Rose)
Release date in the US is October 14 2011. Australians can expect to see it some time in January.
THE NEW AMERICAN – “The Big Year”: a Positive, Engaging Family Film
The The Big Year has a strong moral about the importance of nurturing family relationships and of properly prioritizing different areas of one’s life in order not to (for instance) let hobbies become obsessions. There are moments in the film when the men marvel at the wonders of the universe in such a way as to imply the existence of a higher power, though God Himself is rarely mentioned. The movie may be particularly appealing to men, as it highlights different stages of their lives, and the varieties of crises to which they can relate. … read more
IMDB – “A Nice Surprise” 8/10
I enjoyed this film… Beautifully shot and sharply edited. Lovely scenery and wonderful music. The audience in my theater enjoyed it and some even applauded at the end. …read more
The race to find birds results in many humorous moments between the three competitors as they scour North America in search of rare bird sightings and compete to be the world’s best birder. …read more
Well, they managed to do what might be considered impossible… make an interesting film about bird watching. …read more
We saw a screening of this movie earlier this week and I must say, it was funnier than we thought it would be. For those of you who liked the movie, “STRANGE WILDERNESS” (where Steve Zahn and his film crew go on a hunt while competing to be the first ones to film big foot), than you’ll love this movie. …read more
IMDB – “Made me appreciate the beauty of the birds” 7/10
Now this film was marketed as a comedy, but there where hardly any laughs. Come on you have three funny comedic actors, and not one of them has any funny lines to say, what a waste. But it does have good scenery, and beautiful birds to be seen. Brian Dennehy was good as Blacks father. So was the other supporting cast. But the other than that, this movie did not feel like a comedy …read more
I would give it a solid “B-” as a birder whether I was grading on a curve or not. If you are a birder go see this movie because it is the last time for a very long time that a major studio will make a movie about birding. If you are not a birder there is no reason to see this movie at all. …read more
The film’s characters are well-drawn and acted, and Jack Black’s Harris, in particular, is warm, attractive and real. Inexplicably, the flick ends with Bostick uncovering 755 birds, decade more than the real-life record, but that’s immaterial. … read more
“The Big Year” is a movie that boasts a truly ridiculous concept. It’s about three grown men who participate in an informal bird-watching competition across North America to spot as many species of birds as they can. The sad part is that its a concept that’s actually based on a real-life competition. Regrettably, “The Big Year” is not a mockumentary. As a matter of fact, it’s not even a straight comedy. It’s an overlong, laugh-deprived and meandering bore that squanders the talents of Martin, Wilson and Black with a script that’s as passive and exciting as bird-watching itself. … read more
So what was the overall impression? We were all in agreement—it gets two thumbs up! The movie is pretty upfront with their intentions from the very first screen … read more
It’s true that the movie could have been funnier. In place of nonstop gags we get a gentle tour through three lives in which the scenery is made up of dozens of birds and the unusual people who gather around them. It sprinkles its jokes amid a general air of amusement at this unfamiliar world, 10 seconds of Steve Martin reprising his “Wild and Crazy Guy” dance, and exactly three pratfalls. Nonbirders are the butt of many jokes for once.
it was with pleasure, surprise, and great admiration for the director and stars that I came away from the movie satisfied, intrigued, amused, and even touched by what I’d seen. … read more
The movie got to me. I really enjoyed it and it made perfect sense to me as a movie goer. In this story the context is not relevant, unless you are a birder it probably won’t resonate with you, so the focus shifts to the characters, their relationships, convictions and aspirations, and it does that in an expert fashion. … read more
The Big Year is a sweet, adorable tale about three men from very different backgrounds competing to be the best birder in America. It’s a movie you can take the whole family to see. So if you’re in the mood for a fix from some of your favorite comedic actors – but don’t need to fall on the floor laughing – you’ll find a really sweet movie about love, life and a little bit of the great outdoors. … read more