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I'm sorry, but I've to say that people's taste in movies is getting
worse by the year. They seem to give high ratings to mindless movies
and fail to appreciate the good ones.
The Big Year is a beautiful drama-comedy picture, starring 4 of my favorite comedians - Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson and Jim Parsons.
It is a touching and heart warming story, which has it's comic points and showcases most valuable life lessons - family coming first, the price people pay for being the greatest in any field, choosing between priorities etc.
It's a wonderful effort and it deserves a watch, and the a minimum 8 star rating.
In the Big Year, bird-watching ("birding" for those serious about the
activity) takes a beautiful backdrop to the story of three men in
different stages of life that are all struggling with priorities and
what is important in life. Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson
all do a great job as lead actors and come across as real bird lovers.
The settings are incredible - taking viewers from Attu Island in the Aleutians to Brownsville, Texas, and everywhere in between. 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.
Steve Martin does a wonderful job as a man on the verge of retirement, who is struggling to let go of his career. His long-time dream to spend a year birding helps him understand what is important in life. Steve's character develops a father-like relationship with Jack Black's aimless computer programmer whose passion is birds. Steve's character provides fatherly guidance and support that helps Jack Black's character move forward with his life and relationships.
Owen Wilson is great as the obsessed world's greatest birder, who does everything that he can to stop his challengers - Steve Martin & Jack Black. The obsession and drive of Owen's character draws anger, jealousy, and respect from his competitors and other birders. Several supporting actors providing some funny moments with their hatred of Owen.
Overall, Big Year is a funny and heart-warming movie that will make you think about your own priorities and dreams...and maybe grab some binoculars and search out some birds.
I enjoyed this film. Jack Black can actually act. Who knew? And Steve Martin hasn't done anything this appealing since "Shopgirl." It's got some funny moments, and at least two laugh-out-loud moments, but mostly it's a movie with heart. And Black's character will tug at yours a little. Beautifully shot and sharply edited. Lovely scenery and wonderful music. I hope this is still in theaters at Thanksgiving, because it would be the perfect family outing (after devouring the Butterball species). The audience in my theater enjoyed it and some even applauded at the end. Eight is an honest vote, though I was tempted to give it a nine.
Having read the book by Mark Obmascik and being a birder, I looked
forward to 20th Century Fox's film when it was announced over a year
ago. I began to get concerned when I saw the trailer which didn't look
like book, didn't feature birds and wasn't all that funny. Those
unfamiliar with the book or the movie's plot line, a "big year" refers
to an informal competition in which birders try to see the most bird
species they can within North America (North of Mexico) in one year.
My concerns were put to rest within the first 5 minutes. I found "The Big Year" humorous and thoughtful. The writing avoided the caricatures often associated with birding. I was in shock to see only one bird poop reference and surprisingly no toilet humor (which I would have expected based on the cast). Direction by David Frankel (Marley and Me, Devil wears Prada) was well-paced.
The story centers upon 3 men each going through their own version of a mid-life crisis and hitting the road in search of finding themselves and birds. Owen Wilson plays the record holder for the "Big Year" who is in constant fear that someone is going to top his record. He must decide between his obsession and his wife. Steve Martin plays a successful but retiring businessman who decides to start doing all the things he put on hold over the years. Jack Black, the poorest and youngest of the three, sets out to make a mark and in turn, finds himself. All three actors showed they do have considerable range beyond their usual comedy shtick.
While this story could have generically fit any obsession, the beauty, magic and mystery of birds clearly rings through. Highly Recommended.
With the lead cast consisting of Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack
Black, you would think The Big Year will be just another slapstick
comedy with little to no story and cheap laughs. You would be wrong.
The Big Year is beautiful. Three men of different ages cross paths in their interest for birding; spotting as many birds as one can in one year.
But the film isn't really about "birding", it shows us life through three different views and the challenges life can bring and the choices that everyone has to make.
The Big Year is not a movie you will sit through laughing out loud, but you will be smiling for the better part of the 100 minutes.
One of the most underrated movies of 2011, The Big Year suffered from lack of promotion and a misleading poster and trailer.
Do yourself a favor, and watch this, you will not regret it!
I confess that I cannot represent the following as an entirely
objective, nor representative assessment of the quality of "The Big
Year". How often does one of the early scenes in a film almost
identically replicate an incident in the viewer's life? My introduction
to the peculiar world of birding was in the late 1990s at Patagonia
State Park in Southern Arizona. We had unsuspectingly selected a
camping location that was noted for hosting an enormous variety of
birds, and were awakened one morning by a small army of odd looking
characters hell-bent on confirming the first reported sighting of the
Nutting flycatcher in the United States in several decades. Out of
curiosity we joined the chase, and the rest is family history, eerily
duplicated by the makers of this film. What followed were many years of
exercise, pleasure and reward for one of life's most interesting
So... how could I not enjoy this fine effort at mixing the allure of this strange "sport" with a thoughtful exploration of human motivation and conflicted choices. I can understand why the faithful fans of Black, Martin and Wilson might be disappointed with this production. But I, for one, have grown infinitely weary of too many superficial, sophomoric attempts at humor through these three capable actors. I was encouraged to see the restraint and depth that they could bring to these characters which provided the necessary credibility for this otherwise improbable tale. The film maintains a near perfect balance of humor, drama, and suspense in a well paced, engaging and uplifting plot. The spectacular photography of an abundance of aesthetically appealing locations is an added bonus.
I count it a big plus when I can walk out of the movie with that "feel good" elation that comes from a pleasant and interesting evening's entertainment. My heart said give it an eight or nine, but my never-ending quest for realistic objectivity resulted in the understated seven. Unless you are of the set that requires demolition derbies and frat humor for your entertainment, go see it. You'll have a good time.
This i a highly underrated movie, about human interaction. I can't
believe that people don't get it.
I've always admired people who where passionate about things in life. Be it model trains, woodworking, stamps or traveling. This movie serves as inspiration to get out and do something and is a celebration of the people who do.
I've seen this movie 3 times, and each time it leaves me with a sense of community with the characters, and i wan't to spend more time with then.
Ignore the critics, and just enjoy.
The Big Year's low IMDb rating and box-office take had me worried that
this film would be a "lame-duck." Turns out, this movie is really good.
I am not a "birder" and know very little about birds other than what I find on a typical restaurant menu. The beginning of The Big Year made me think I would learn a little bit more about birds, but was pleasantly surprised to learn that the film is not about birds at all; it is about people, how we relate to one another, and the things that drive us to do the things we do.
The characters were more three-dimensional than those of any other movie I have seen in a long time. I think a lot of people are thrown off because we often don't know who to "root for" in this film. The characters seem like real people, albeit participating in a sport most of us do not understand and have never even thought about trying. I hesitate to even call birding a sport because there are no spectators, trophies or prizes involved.
Jack Black gives his finest performance ever imo, playing an average working-class guy named Brad who has a crazy obsession with birds. His dream of spending an entire "Big Year" spotting and photographing as many birds as possible seems odd to us (and Brad's family), but we soon learn that he is not alone with this obsession. All throughout the film, Brad offers glimpses of how birds and humans are more alike than different. Jack Black nails the dialog which manages to be insightful while avoiding any semblance of pretentiousness.
Owen Wilson plays a married contractor named Kenny who takes more pride in his world record "Big Year" than anything else in the world including his trying-to-conceive wife. He gives a believable, nuanced performance as someone who will go to any length to protect his record, yet he is far from an average scumbag villain. He reminds me more of a prescription drug addict that I might feel sorry for. Kenny is so blinded by his addiction to "birding" that he cannot see the proverbial forest for the trees.
Steve Martin gives a beautifully balanced performance as an aging business owner who has always dreamed of trying for the Big Year birding record. Martin is known mostly as an on screen "wild and crazy guy" but in The Big Year, he remains subdued as he has in previous films such as Grand Canyon and Parenthood. If you liked him in those movies, you will like him in The Big Year as well.
The Big Year was not meant to be a gut-busting comedy, but there are several humorous moments. This movie also manages to be quite touching, thought-provoking, sometimes uplifting, occasionally heart-rending, and beautiful throughout. A lot like life except with better direction, better actors, great dialog, and fantastic cinematography.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a much better movie than many reviews and the rating here would
suggest. I believe the main reason for the low average score is that
some people expected a typical Jack Black and/or Steve Martin comedy.
In fact, I'd go so far as to say the movie is in the wrong category
here on IMDb, it should be classified as Drama. So it's not the silly
laugh-fest you might be expecting.
What this is, however, is a quiet but very atmospheric movie about friendship, life and priorities. Without getting too deep it asks questions about what's important and what isn't, about where to draw the line between love and obsession, and about choosing a life that makes you happy over one that is expected of you. It's a feel-good movie with some funny moments and a lot of warm-hearted ones.
If you are looking for yet another brain-dead Hollywood slapstick comedy then this isn't it, but it is an excellent movie about three people who share a common interest but little else. It will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart.
'THE BIG YEAR': Three Stars (Out of Five)
Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson star in this bird watching comedy based on the book 'The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession' by Mark Obmascik. The three play birders (recreational bird watchers) each trying to outdo each other in a 'big year' (a competition in which birders compete to see who can spot the most different species of birds in a single year in a given area, in this case the U.S.). The film was directed by David Frankel (who's also directed such hit comedy films as 'THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA' and 'MARLEY & ME') and written by Howard Franklin. It's not as much of a laugh riot as you might expect coming from the combination of the three big time comedy stars and it's surprisingly clean and lightweight (coming from the three big time comedy stars) but it is much better than the reviews and box office might lead you to believe.
The story is narrated by Brad Harris (Black) as he tells how he followed his dreams, despite lacking much money, and competed in a 'big year' to surprising results, in large part due to the other skilled birders he met along the way: Kenny Bostick (Wilson) and Stu Preissler (Martin). Bostick was the defending champion and known for dishing out a lot of sneaky tricks for throwing off his competitors. Stu was a seasoned vet who becomes a good friend to Brad. The film follows their heated competition as the three desperately try to outdo each other while wrestling with the costs of doing so (mostly family problems at home) as well.
It is interesting to see Black in a pretty clean nice guy role that's not vulgar or buffoonish much at all. He's kind of the central character of the film and it's biggest protagonist. Martin kind of plays the same type of role he usually does, in these family friendly PG rated comedies, while Wilson plays slightly against type by being the film's main antagonist (he still comes off as the same type of wild card he usually does just a little more self centered and rascally than normal). The movie has some touching human drama and strong character development as well. It's not quite as funny as you might hope (like I said), with the three lead actors attached, but it is humorous still (for the most part). The movie is pretty aptly made for it's type and there's really not anything to complain about. I wouldn't say it's a must see comedy but it's not disappointing really in anyway either. The reviews have been harsh and the dim box office results might also lead you to believe the movie doesn't have anything to it but it's surprisingly decent given that information. I think the marketing ultimately cursed it financially and critics will always be overly critical and somewhat absurd in the way they review movies. It's a good film, one I don't think most would regret seeing.
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