The Big Year. It's a movie. With lots of birds in it.
It got super bad reviews from critics. I don't know anyone who saw it. I only knew about it from a snippet in my bird mag. I heard no buzz on the street about it actually being good, but you know what... it was.
The Big Year is based on a true story (which was first a book by the same title) and stars Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson in the lead roles, but it really had an all star cast. There wasn't one character where I wasn't saying or thinking "hey that's the guy from..." or "wasn't she in...". The movie follows the happenings in each of the leading mens' lives while they attempt a Big Year.
A big year in the birder's world is when an individual takes a year to travel the United States accumulating as many different bird species sightings as possible. Its all done on the honor system, there is no prize (maybe endorsements), and the only real gain is the experience of the journey and realizing your passion. That is what character's are trying to figuring out.
Beside the fact that there are no explosions or special effects and that it is totally clean (PG) I am not sure why it didn't get better reviews. It could be that we, as movie goers, are so over stimulated and used to overproduced, high priced, 3-D fantastical shlop that we don't recognize when a film is just simply good. It's not deep. It's not heavy. It's just simply good.
I should warn you though. I may be slightly biased. I am a birder. Nothing compared to the peeps in the movie. I mean, my life list is probably around 120, whereas in the movie it is over 700 IN ONE YEAR! That is amazing! I am content to see what flies into my neck of the woods and if I happen to see something special on a trip then that's cool too. I don't have the drive nor the money to travel for a year at a break neck pace to rack up a bird tally, but it sounds like fun.
The movie has a lot to do with the birds and the strive to find them so if you could give a rip about your feathered friends then you may want to skip the film. That being said, George said he enjoyed it and he only looks at birds when I yell to him from the window, "GEORGE COME LOOK AT THIS THERE ARE LIKE FORTY NORTHERN FLICKERS IN THE DRIVEWAY!" To which he replies, "uh huh neat."
If you have seen it... did you like it?
If you haven't seen it... give it a try.