The Big Year (2011) Poster

(2011)

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8/10
Highly Underrated
prashanta_guha23 January 2012
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.
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9/10
Don't expect a laugh out loud comedy...
peter26097327 July 2012
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.
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8/10
A nice surprise.
casademitch15 October 2011
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.
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7/10
A underrated but heartfelt little movie
Mr EGJ27 February 2012
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!
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Big Year has Big Laughs and Touching Moments
CaptMTS14 October 2011
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.
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9/10
Much better the trailer indicates
empken18 October 2011
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.
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9/10
The Big Year Soars Above Expectations
dollpenguin16 February 2012
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.
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7/10
They had me at Nutting flycatcher...
wrlj231 October 2011
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 avocations.

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.
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10/10
a high quality film
Lan201316 June 2013
What's that expression? ... "All that's necessary for evil to prevail, is for good men to do nothing"... or something like that.

Well I agree with prashanta_guha: "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."

But maybe it's just that it's mainly idiots writing these reviews, and not enough good men? So this film made me sign up and write; this is my first review.

I absolutely loved this film. It's charming, warm and funny.

There are reviews on here about it not being funny enough or no real love story etc, but therein lies its beauty.

There's no over-the-top Hollywood slapstick comedy, no over-the-top romantic storyline, it's a little birdie but not too birdie. And so you're left with a subtle, very real, quality film.

I would say that whoever made the trailer should be fired as it has no reflection on the film, creates no desire to see the film and no doubt was the cause of the complete flop in theatre ticket sales. The film is not about mid-life crises. It's a simple film about hobbies and how they can affect your life, as well as being what all films essentially are; a story to entertain you for an hour and a half.

On top of that, I was delighted and amused to learn that this film is not too far off a true story. Take a look on Wikipedia, a big year is real thing in the ornithology world, and there is a world record holder with 745!

So if you like this film, write a review and let's get the rating up closer to what it truly deserves.
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9/10
Excellent but not a comedy
Steve24 January 2012
Warning: 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.
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9/10
the big year reaches inside
rynoz20 January 2012
i was hesitant to watch the big year. i saw the critic reviews and saw that it flopped horribly at the box office. but i could not resist to watch it because i like jack black and love Owen Wilson.

i am more than happy i decided to watch the big year. i gave it a 9 out of 10. i thought it was well written and the cast did a nice job of drawing you into the story. i did not feel like i was watch jack black or Owen Wilson, i was watching brad and bostick.

i knew nothing about "birding". if you do then you would definitely love this movie. if you don't , don't worry you don't have to. i didn't and i still enjoyed it very much.

the movie was not too long or too short. there was not too much comedy or a lack of it either. the movie was the perfect length , had just the right amount of comedy and a perfect touch of drama.

this movie will make you chuckle a few times, make you sympathize with the characters and choke you up a couple times.

i highly recommend you watch it and enjoy it.
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6/10
right up my ally
Aldri731 July 2012
As a long time birdwatcher and Steve Martin fan, I watched "The BIg Year" with keen interest and an eye for the details. Having birded quite extensively in the US, I think I am qualified to give this a very thorough review!

To start things off, this is a story about three talented birders - one young hotshot (Owen Wilson), one budding hotshot (Jack Black), and one old guy (Steve Martin) - competing against one another to see who can list the most birds in North America in one calendar year. The action starts on Jan 1, and right off the bat, birds, or "ticks", start to go up on everyone's lists. A siting here, a siting there, and with a little scientific narration, we're off and running Thankfully, we also see a running tally of each birder's totals frequently as the movie progresses.

And then the various subplots and scenarios kick in as the race heats up. These subplots revolve around each birder and his normal life outside of his hobby with the idea being to show you what kind of sacrifices are involved in doing a big year. OK, nice idea, but only one of these really works for me, though - the one involving Jack and his dad, played by Brian Dennehy. Good work there - both believable and touching. But otherwise, the subplots were predictable and added little to the main story. I did enjoy, though, the one scene where expert birder Ken Bostick is making love to his wife while news reports of a "fallout" of migrants on the Texas coast is broadcast. That was probably the funniest moment in the entire film. Anyway, and then as the race heats up, more plot unfolds. Part of doing a big year is to not let others know you are doing one. Thats to lessen any chance of all out warfare among listers. Also, you can form alliances and team up with others along the way if your goal is to stop the top dog, the favorite expected to tally the most birds in the end.

But overall, a big year is not all that unlike it was portrayed in the film making allowances for Hollywood invention, etc. Things can get a bit crazy. The level of competition is such that ordinary people will sometimes do extraordinarily expensive, unethical, or just plain stupid things to see a bird. I liked that the film delved into this a bit, as each actor seemed fairly believable as a competitive birder, with enough scheming and conniving behavior thrown in to give you a feel for what a big year can really be like.

And now on to the movie from a scientific point of view: I'd rate the scientific accuracy of the birding lore here fairly highly at times. In particular, the culture on Attu, Alaska was a lot like I have read (I have never been). But at other times, inexplicably, science gave way to whatever seemed to suit someones idea of a good plot twist best. For example, THe great spotted woodpecker siting in Oregon was pure fantasy - Woodpeckers do not migrate much and this is an Asian species. Other birds like the pink footed Goose and Grey Owl were located in habitat unsuitable for them in real life. And then there was the trek to High Island in Texas, which really amused me because of how they hyped it up - I mean as the scene unfolds, tens of thousands of birds are shown filling the air like you only see on the duck and geese refuges. Very funny....:)

But here's what I kept wanting to see more of though - first off - more moving, beautifully photographed scenery (a la "Winged Migration", perhaps). Kudo's to the Bald Eagle mating scene which almost brought me to tears. But also - more science. A big year is more than about going to Texas and Attu in the spring. What about the Fall migration? The winter migrants? A big year strategy will take in all 12 months, and with each season, new birds become possible as the landscape changes. One could have been given a better sense for how the different seasons affect the distribution of birds and thus the fortunes of someone attempting to do a big year.

But in the end here, its all about the competition mixed with a little comedy. And as the days wind down and the winter months approach, big years often end up with some really crazy, last minute cross country treks to see late breaking hot birds. But here? - both the competition and the comedy sort of fizzle out in the end. The conclusion is pretty anti-climactic unlike a lot of real life big years I've read about. We cheer the ultimate winner, but even the losers wind up winning something in a small way - a feel good ending which at least keeps you from walking away disappointed that your favorite comedic actor did not get the top prize.

In conclusion, "the big year" is a fast paced adventure which does a fairly decent job of portraying the birdwatching culture and particularly those that are into competitive listing. Birding is also fallow ground for comedy though, but sadly, despite the appearance of Steve Martin, the film is only given a light comedic touch there. Steve's performance is very understated. Thankfully though, there is enough scientific meat, nice scenery and decent performances from the others to pull it off. Owen Wilson as Ken Bostick is perfect as the arrogant hot shot, while Jack Black does a nice job as the conniving but big hearted wannabe. So, but overall, maybe ditch or reduce two out of the three subplots, build to a bigger climax, and add more scenery shots and I'd have given this a much better review.
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1/10
Boooooooring and long.
Nick Zbu3 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The worst thing a movie can be is uninteresting and long. And this movie has that in spades. There isn't really any plot or reason to care. You want to be beaten over the head with how the characters you don't care about are 'suffering?' Welcome to it. You'll get that impression over and over and over again. And over.

The movie is over two hours long, and could have been forty-five minutes long without losing absolutely anything. Narrated by Black's character because the studio suddenly had doubts about people caring, it keeps going on and on about bird sightings. Couldn't someone cheat? Yes. Does this change anything about the movie? No, you still won't care. This is watching paint dry. I wish I were joking.

The only reason this was labeled 'dramedy' or 'drama/comedy' is because it wasn't as funny to anybody besides those getting paid to make it. Avoid like the plague. Don't even bother with a rental. A good movie will make you care about the characters, or relate to them, or at least draw you along with the story. There is absolutely no story here. You. Will. Be. Bored.
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'THE BIG YEAR' has medium laughs.
Hellmant17 October 2011
'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.

Watch our review show 'MOVIE TALK' at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aj550csrEQk
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6/10
A comedy without great laughs, but lots of birds instead...
Paul Magne Haakonsen18 March 2012
Initially I had expected this to be somewhat more of a laughing-comedy, given the three headlining names on the poster; Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. However, "The Big Year" was much better than just that. Instead of being just another comedy, this movie was more meaningful and profound.

"The Big Year" is a warm story about friendship and fulfilling your dreams and chasing after what you want. Though it may come at a cost, and just what are you willing to sacrifice to obtain your dreams? There weren't really any major laughs throughout the movie, but still the story manages to maintain your interest and you want to sit around to see what happens next. The movie manages to get you submerged into the race between the competitors in the birding competition, and when they do manage to catch a glimpse of that rare bird, you feel like you are right there with them.

"The Big Year" is actually holds one of Jack Black's best performances, proving that he is more than just your average standard comedian actor. And the on-screen chemistry between Martin, Wilson and Black is really working quite well.

"The Big Year" is a movie full of beautiful shots of nature, scenery, and of course, birds. I think you will appreciate this movie a tad more if you are into birding yourself. I am not into that, but I still found the movie to be rather good, because of the warm and compelling story that it told.

However, I doubt that this is the type of movie that you will watch a second time around, unless you are into birding, because there actually is very little leverage in the storyline to support a second watching. But still, if you haven't seen the movie yet, sit down and watch it, because it is actually a rather beautiful movie.
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4/10
It might mean more if you were a birder but if you have nothing better to do.
J. Allen19 January 2012
We saw this movie last night and even though we found it to be somewhat entertaining but I don't think it quite hit the mark. Some of the locations and scenery were beautiful and interesting and I never knew that birders went so far out of the way and spent so much money to follow their hobby. When you assemble a cast headlined by three well known Hollywood actors you expect to be well entertained. Owen Wilson performed a decent role as the protagonist jerk which fits him very well. It was nothing new or adventurous for him and that showed through. Jack Black showed a new side here as he might actually have potential to act in something other than that of a total buffoon. Steve Martin's performance was also just run of the mill and we didn't see much effort in the development of his character. Though there are several big stars associated with this picture it seems as they were mainly going through the motions and just reading off the script.

In summary: Good movie for a Wednesday night at home. Wouldn't waste my money going to the theater to see it.
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7/10
Surprisingly good
TheLittleSongbird1 March 2015
Surprisingly because, although the cast is a very talented one, the bird-watching subject is interesting and comedy dramas are enjoyable when done right, the trailer wasn't particularly very promising and there were the worries of whether anything interesting would be made regarding bird-watching, whether the cast would be well-used and the dangers of the comedy forgetting to be funny or the drama to be too sentimental or both.

The Big Year is not a perfect film, with the odd predictable part, some pedestrian pacing and for personal tastes some of the historical montage narration was a little irritating and not always necessary despite it being well-delivered by John Cleese. However it is much better than the trailer suggests, in all honesty trailers rarely do their films justice with the trailer being misleading or bad and the film actually being good(the case with The Big Year). The bird-watching subject is dealt with thoughtfully and mostly engagingly if imperfectly, as well as handled with a gentle tone and uplifting at the end. And the script and story do just fine in the comedy and drama. Sure the comedy is not laugh-out-funny which will disappoint people, but it's gentle, droll humour instead of the crude, broad humour that it could easily have been, and the approach worked and would have suited the film and story much better in the first place. The drama hits the right note too, there's always a danger in comedy dramas or dramas for the dramatic parts to be over-sentimental, but in my opinion The Big Year did not fall into that trap with it being very poignant and hopeful.

It's very beautifully filmed too with strikingly picturesque locations, it is nicely directed and the music from Theodore Shapiro does a good job matching the film's gentle tone. The characters are sympathetically drawn and played, there's a danger always in comedy drama to have a character that's annoying or window-dressing and none of those are present in The Big Year. The acting is strong and no time is wasted on making full use of what makes the actors talented. Steve Martin's comic timing is as smooth as silk, Jack Black while broad at times is thankfully more subtle than usual and Owen Wilson while not quite as memorable is amiably likable. Luckily they are treated equally by the writers instead of one outweighing the others They are well-supported by an as ever elegant Anjelica Huston, an as always stellar Dianne Wiest and a radiant and sympathetic Rosamund Pike. To me The Big Year was not lacking in chemistry or tension.

Overall, The Big Year is not perfect but it's a surprisingly good and well done film, that is far better than it was advertised to be. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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7/10
This is not a comedy, but it doesn't mean its not a good movie.
imdbowley23 January 2015
This is not a comedy, but it doesn't mean its not a good movie. Its quite a shame that this is classified as a comedy when its clearly not, its not even about the birds.This is a film about relationships, and how those relationships are affected during this time of the big year, Its a very light hearted film with a dramatic undertone.

Its teaches us about life, and that it's a journey, not a competition. It shows the sacrifices people can make to achieve their dreams & the journey of these three men that find more than just birds on this adventure.

Some beautiful landscapes throughout this movie and beautiful birds... this is worth a watch but take it as it is. and not a laugh out loud comedy 7/10.
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Tries Too Hard to be "Normal"; Should Have Been Quirkier
I'm a birdwatcher and a movie lover and I really didn't want to see "The Big Year." The part of my brain that is rewarded by watching movies is very different from the part of my brain that is rewarding by birdwatching. In movies I'm focused on personalities, dialogue, and the swift progression of a plot from A to B to C to its climax and conclusion. While birdwatching, I don't want to activate that part of my brain. I want to forget other people, and not think verbally, but rather in terms of shapes, colors, and movement. I want to lose any sense of sequential time by focusing on the timeless beauty of a bird in flight.

"The Big Year" didn't succeed for me as a movie or as a treatment of birdwatching. I think the filmmakers tried too hard to make the film normal and mainstream, and attractive to normal, mainstream audiences. Owen Wilson and Steve Martin play two typical movie character types – the kind of men you meet in movies but never in real life – with typical movie character bland, blond, airbrushed, personality-free wives. That was a mistake.

Birdwatching, especially competitive birdwatching, isn't normal and it isn't mainstream. The movie should have upped the quirk quotient and really tried to get close to what it is to be a birdwatcher. A quirkier film, truer to its subject matter, would have been a niche film, but it would have worked better.

I didn't believe Steve Martin or Owen Wilson, two actors I normally like a lot, as birdwatchers. If I ran into these two out in the field, I would not believe that they were birdwatchers at all. I did find Jack Black believable as a birdwatcher. Birdwatchers are obsessive. When birdwatching, we are totally focused on birds. In that, we are like military commanders, or drug addicts, or those obsessively in love. Martin and Wilson never communicated that focus or that command. Black was able to work some of a real birdwatcher's mastery, vulnerability, hope, fascination and dedication into his part.
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1/10
Worst. Movie. Ever.
bruschiontap19 January 2012
Where do I begin......

This movie has Steve Martin (one of the comedy greats in my mind), Owen Wilson, and Jack Black. Where could this movie possibly go wrong? Answer: EVERYWHERE.

The movie starts off on New Years and ends on New Years, it covers the span of an entire year. Coincidentally it felt like an entire year had passed by while watching this movie, it was so slow and unfunny I couldn't believe I just watched the entire thing. I waited on the edge of my seat the entire movie for something, ANYTHING to make me laugh. The few times I laughed on the inside was when Jack Black's phone rang with "Everybodys heard about the bird, ba-ba-ba-bird-bird-bird bird is the word". I can't even begin to think of who this movie was targeted at. Gun to my head I would have to guess: Old retired "birders" or newborns that don't understand comedy and just want eye-candy (it was a scenic movie that was THE ONLY PLUS).

How on earth does this movie have a 5.5 on IMDb? Either there is a strong following of "birders" or the creators of this flick hired a ton of people to up-vote this steaming pile of..... bird crap.

Pros: Big Names Scenic shots

Cons: Not Funny Waste Of My Time I Want My Life Back Seriously I can't Believe I Watched This Horrible Script Horrible Story Bad Acting From Big Names Who Thought This Movie Would Be A Good Idea HOW DID THEY GET THESE ACTORS?! HOW MUCH DID THEY GET PAID?!
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4/10
Okay movie..
nsandahl9 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I think this movie was all over the place, one minute they were in Washington the next all the way in Maine, These people are "birders" and it seams like all these birders are unhappy and struggle to see every bird they can, brad one of the main birders said he maxed out 6 credit cards including his moms with a $6,000 limit. i think being a birder is a rich mans thing. They went up in a helicopter through a canyon to see a rare kind of bird, also they were in the middle of nowhere on an island in Alaska with no store or anything. This movie is overall alright and i would recommend it to any birder or anyone who loves birds.
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Not a comedy
roxannesells16 October 2011
There are only 2 real positives that I can say about this movie. The scenery is beautiful. It is a good clean movie, in terms of no sex, hardly any foul language, and no violence. However, this movie was billed as a comedy. I think there are only a couple of scenes that even warranted a chuckle - forget laughing. There was nothing to laugh about. It is absolutely, not a comedy, so don't go see it if that's what you're looking for! While the main actors are all good actors in their own right - this was a waste of their talent. I would have gotten up and left after the first 30 minutes or so, but knowing that Steve Martin is so incredibly funny, I kept hoping.....I ended up feeling like a dodo bird for staying!
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9/10
Nearly passed this movie over - very glad I didn't!
edwardcking200125 November 2012
We were looking through the on demand movies when we saw this and laughed at the very idea of a movie about bird-watching. In fact we watched it primarily to see just how bad it was...

This is one of those movies that is not only way outside the usual subject matter, but has that rare and fantastic ability to take what many consider to be a "boring" topic and make it interesting.

Outstanding writing, performing and camera work result in a gift-wrapped surprise that actually - I can't believe I'm saying this about bird-watching - had us on the edge of our seats.

I have to mention that I hated most of Steve Martins earlier stuff, but he definitely seems to be one of those actors who is getting better and better with age and I'm almost sorry that he spent so much of his acting career playing the fool, because he really shines in more serious performances.

Sometimes, it's great to be wrong.
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9/10
Entertaining family comedy
MattyGibbs24 November 2012
I was slightly surprised to come across this film. A film about birdwatching starring 3 high profile comedic actors strikes me as a bit of a risk for a Hollywood film. So it proved as the film didn't do well at the cinema. However failing at the box office never means a film is automatically bad so I gave it a go.

Not being a big fan of any of the 3 main actors I wasn't expecting much however to my surprise I found all the actors to be engaging and believable. The story flowed quite nicely and whilst this isn't a laugh out loud film there are plenty of comedic moments along with a good dose of drama. What I liked most is that the film didn't pander to the lowest common denominator like so many Hollywood films.

I really enjoyed this film and for anyone with a passing interest in nature this is well worth a watch.
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7/10
Surprising
Bouke v Laarhoven25 July 2012
The Big Year came as a pleasant surprise for me. The flick isn't a conventional comedy. In fact I didn't even laugh out loud once. The movie is a drama packed two hour journey from reality.

Jack Black normally portrays a big lovable child-adult which can become quite annoying after a few of his flicks. In The Big Year however his character develops, has excellent sequences, motives and overall drama. I think this flick is the best Jack Black since King Kong and The Pick of Destiny.

Owen Wilson in his movies mostly a devil may care emo-boy, but in this flick he shows us he actually can act and portrays struggling, developing characters.

Overall the movie isn't groundbreaking and misses 'sparkless' but is definitely worth your while. Also the theme's and setting is amazingly original. 6,8/10
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