The Big Year [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] (Bilingual)
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Never get between a birder and a Pink-footed Goose. As we learn from The Big Year, the intensity of birders (the term birdwatcher is dismissed here as insufficiently committed) is not to be taken lightly, and their quest of rare species creates the gentle comedy of this film, which is based on a real phenomenon. In the world of birders, there's a goal set each calendar year, and based on the honor system: who can spot the most varieties of our feathered friends? All-time champ Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is a legendary name in the birding game, and this year he's trying to beat his own record--but retired CEO Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) and slovenly upstart Brad Harris (Jack Black) are determined to topple the colorful and ruthless Bostick from his, er, perch. The movie's at its best when charting the movements of these obsessed enthusiasts in the wild, as they scramble from Alaska to Arizona to New Jersey in pursuit of their goal; it's less successful at trying to create human interest in the home lives of these guys. And despite the comedic talents of the main threesome, nobody really stands out; each plays to his usual persona without adding a new wrinkle. Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada) has a weirdly overqualified supporting cast on his hands, but except for Rosamund Pike as Bostick's neglected wife and Rashida Jones as a geeky birder, most of these folks flit by with little to do: Brian Dennehy and Dianne Wiest as Brad's parents, Anjelica Huston as a salty sea captain, Tim Blake Nelson as an awestruck birder. It's easy enough to enjoy this film for its offbeat subject and mild-mannered tone, even if there isn't anything terribly distinctive about it. --Robert Horton
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Top Customer Reviews
Bostick (Owen Wilson) is in serious competition. The movie is correct in that birders are on an honor system, although there are doubters which is why birders quickly become decent amateur photographers. Just about every year is a "Big Year" for birders as they always keep track of what birds they have seen as well as when and where. Most don't have the time or resources to cross the country several times a year, so they compete within their state.
The film shows some aspects of birders such as how life interferes with birding. Or how a birder would rather be in Brownsville, Texas at a dump site than in Paris, France. I have discovered that Birders are also acutely aware of things such as global warming as southern birds move north into new areas. They also know the points of illegal crossings as they visit the southern border at odd hours.
The movie has 3 diverse quirky characters competing nation wide to be the best birder. Jack Black and Steve Martin are likeable characters while Owen Wilson is the "bad guy." I had several laugh out loud moments during this feature. Birding is best done as a couples hobby.
Good comedy. Good script.