6.2/10
38,900
139 user 105 critic

The Big Year (2011)

PG | | Comedy | 14 October 2011 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer

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ON DISC
Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.

Director:

David Frankel

Writers:

Howard Franklin (screenplay), Mark Obmascik (book)
1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cleese ... Narrator (voice)
Jack Black ... Brad Harris
Zahf Paroo ... Prasad
Stacey Scowley ... Vicki
Michael Karl Richards ... Vicki's Fiancée
Owen Wilson ... Kenny Bostick
Rosamund Pike ... Jessica
Steve Martin ... Stu Preissler
Kevin Pollak ... Jim Gittelson
Joel McHale ... Barry Loomis
JoBeth Williams ... Edith
Paul Campbell ... Tony
Cindy Busby ... Susie
Greg Kean Greg Kean ... Computer Birder
Eva Bourne ... Birder's Daughter (as Eva Allan)
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Storyline

In birding, a Big Year is seeing or hearing as many different species of birds as possible in a calendar year. Three men pursue the Birder of the Year title: Kenny Bostick, who's seen a record 732 in a past big year, Stu Preissler, newly retired, and Brad Harris, who narrates the story. Life gets in the way: Bostick's wife wants a baby, Stu's firm needs him for sensitive negotiations, and Brad, divorced and underemployed at 36, has an encouraging mom and a disapproving dad. They criss-cross the continent (including a trip to Alaska's westernmost island), follow migration patterns, and head for storms that force birds to ground. Who will win, at what cost, and with what rewards? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for language and some sensuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 October 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran año See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$41,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,251,884, 16 October 2011, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,204,138, 18 December 2011
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's cast includes two Oscar winners: Dianne Wiest and Anjelica Huston, and two Oscar nominees: Rosamund Pike and JoBeth Williams. See more »

Goofs

The Pink-footed Goose, a North Atlantic species which occasionally vagrates from its European breeding range to the Northeastern coastal states, has never been seen in Texas or Colorado as shown in the film. See more »

Quotes

[from trailer]
Brad Harris: There is going to be major fallout in a few hours.
Bill Clemont: Nuclear fallout?
Brad Harris: Bird fallout.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits, photos of every bird found by the winner are shown. See more »

Alternate Versions

UK BluRay sports an Extended Cut of the film, adding a good six minutes of minor background information on the three main characters and special birds. It also replaces Jack Black's narration of the story with a new narration by John Cleese who also receives a credit in the opening title sequence. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.14 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Aude Lang Syne
Traditional tune, lyrics by Robert Burns (uncredited)
Arranged by Guy Lombardo
Performed by Guy Lombardo and The Royal Canadians (as His Royal Canadians)
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Much better the trailer indicates
18 October 2011 | by empkenSee all my reviews

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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