17 January 2012

Review: The Big Year (Movie)

For serious North American birders, having the opportunity to take a "big year" is a lifelong dream. The idea is for competitors to spend from January 1 to December 31 crisscrossing the continent to see how many different bird species they can spot or hear during that time.

In Twentieth Century Fox's The Big Year, Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is the current reigning champion determined to hold on to his record. Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) is retiring from big business and treating himself to a year of birdwatching, and Brad Harris (Jack Black) is a computer programmer who is scrapping together both vacation time and money to check off as many birds as he can. The Big Year follows the three men as they pursue their goal of being the best birder in the world.

The movie stars three great comedic actors, and viewers are in for treat. One of the pleasant surprises about the film, however, is its depth. Not only is the scenery beautiful and birding aspects of The Big Year fascinating but the message to not give up on your dreams is universal. Kenny, Stu, and Brad learn, each in their own way, that success has many meanings. Follow your passion, and you cannot help but grow and learn something about your true self and what's most important in your life. A bonus is the fun bird-filled soundtrack.

The film is directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) and includes a cast of many recognizable faces, including Angelica Huston, Brian Dennehy, Rashida Jones, and Kevin Pollak. The Blu-ray and DVD will be available on January 31.

Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the following information and photos about some famous birders.

Famous Birders

Brad, Kenny and Stu are not the only people fascinated by ornithology. They are joined by a well-known bunch of famous faces including Daryl Hannah, Paul McCartney & Prince Philip. Here, we’ll take a fun look at the array of celebrities who have a passion for feathered friends much like our leading men.

The Duke of Edinburgh is an accomplished bird photographer, writer, and wildlife advocate. Due to his extended time spent on the royal yacht, Prince Philip began photographing rare seabirds. In 1962, he published Birds from Britannia, a collection of pictures of some of the world’s rarest birds. Additionally, Prince Philip later became president of the World Wildlife Fund.

Daryl Hannah isn’t just an actress--she’s also an environmentalist and a birdwatcher! It is unknown whether Hannah is an avid or casual birdwatcher, but she has stated in interviews that she enjoys bird watching. Regardless of her level of activity in the bird watching arena, Hannah is a fierce advocate of the environment and of various species, birds included.

As a teenager, Paul McCartney was a big fan of the BBC nature show Look--he even wrote to its host (wildlife artist Peter Scott) asking for “the drawings of them ducks, if you’re not doing anything with them.” Since his youth, McCartney has been a passionate advocate for birds and other wildlife, including the endangered skylark, which he used to watch in Liverpool as a child.

Former president of the United States of America Jimmy Carter is an avid birder! Jimmy and his wife, Rosalyn, have birded throughout the world. Rumors in the birding community speculate that their combined life list is around 1,500 species! In interviews Jimmy has spoken about checking out bird ringing stations in Israel and searching for African Hoopoes in Zimbabwe.
You don't have to be compiling your life bird list to enjoy The Big Year. It's a well-acted film that will make you want to spend time on your own hobbies, enjoy life, and--of course--keep your bird feeders full.

Givaway alert: Stop by next week for a chance to win a copy of the The Big Year. Thanks to Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for a review copy of the film.


bermudaonion 1/17/12, 7:12 AM  

I'm a fan of Black, Martin, and Wilson and think this movie sounds like a lot of fun! I'm wondering how I missed it!

Beth Hoffman 1/17/12, 7:48 AM  

This is a must see movie for me. I'm a birder and I like each one of the actors! Thanks for sharing the trailer.

Happy Tuesday, Candace!

Daryl 1/17/12, 10:08 AM  

Sounds like a fun flick ..

Unknown 1/17/12, 10:12 AM  

This movie sounds so fun, great cast! I'll be looking for a time for hubby and I to see it. Thanks for the review.

Carrie K. 1/17/12, 10:15 AM  

I reviewed this today, too - and I also enjoyed it. Actually, the whole family did! :)

Zibilee 1/17/12, 10:29 AM  

This does sound like a lot of fun, and though I don't know much about birding, I do love all the actors that star in this movie, and would love to see it. Onto the Netflix queue it goes! Thanks for the cool and comprehensive review today!

Molly 1/17/12, 10:47 AM  

I absolutely adore Owen Wilson - and the fact that there is some added depth to the movie with a great theme, makes it all the better. While I rarely go the movies, I think this one is worth the price of admission...and then some.

spiky 1/17/12, 12:33 PM  

oh black jack, he's great.

a visit form philippines. :)

Kailana 1/17/12, 1:17 PM  

This movie sounds like it would be a lot of fun. Great post!

Jenners 1/17/12, 2:06 PM  

I saw a preview for this movie and I thought "I just have to see that." The title doesn't speak to me though … I never remember that it is the name of this movie -- if that makes any sense.

Anonymous,  1/17/12, 5:24 PM  

I remember seeing the trailer for this at the movies a while ago, and then I never saw/heard anything about it again. Thanks for the reminder and letting us know it's worth seeing!

Sandy Nawrot 1/17/12, 6:13 PM  

I just made the comment over at Carrie's...where was I when this movie came out? I would think that it would have caught my attention with all those stars. I am also shocked that they were able to keep this a PG rating. Sounds like a great family movie for rental at some point.

Brenda 1/17/12, 7:25 PM  

I do not think I even saw a trailer for this movie. One to watch with the hubs. Thanks for the review!

Admin 1/17/12, 11:06 PM  

It's always good to hear about something that promises to be a bit different, although I'm not a huge fan of Black, or perhaps it more the movies he's been in. I loved him in High Fidelity but Gulliver's Travels held little merit.

dog eared copy 1/18/12, 9:15 AM  

I love Steve Martin and this looks like a really fun film! I'm sorry I missed it when it showed in theaters; but who am I kidding? I haven't seen a movie on the big screen rated over "G" in... I don't know how long!

Margot 1/18/12, 11:25 AM  

I don't know how I missed this movie. It looks terrific. My husband and I are lifelong birders. We're not competitive about it. It's taken us to some amazingly beautiful places and the joy of seeing one of God's beautiful creatures.

carol 1/18/12, 3:00 PM  

I had wanted to see this when it was in theaters but missed it and then just kind of forgot. Thanks for reminding me about it. It sounds fun.

Julie P. 1/21/12, 9:35 AM  

Never even heard of this one! Looks cute.

Robin M 1/21/12, 2:09 PM  

Love all three actors!

Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook 1/22/12, 8:53 AM  

Sounds like a fun movie! So I wonder if McCartney ever did get the drawing of them ducks :)

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 1/25/12, 9:29 AM  

I missed this when it was in the theater and have been waiting for the DVD to come out. I like the actors in it and I'm an avid birder, as you probably know, so I'm sure I'll it enjoy it.

Unknown 1/25/12, 10:33 AM  

I totally missed this movie when it was out. The three main actors always make me laugh and I think it'll be a real treat to see them together. I also thinkthe topic of bird-watching with those 3 guys is a great platform for some huge laughs. I glad you enjoyed the movie and found it to have some depth as well. I'm excited that there's a new worthwhile comedy for me to watch!

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