The Big Year (2011) – 7 out of 10
Every January 1, a quirky crowd storms out across North America for a spectacularly competitive event called a Big Year—a grand, expensive, and occasionally vicious 365-day marathon of birdwatching. For three men in particular, 1998 would become a grueling battle for a new North American birding record. Bouncing from coast to coast on frenetic pilgrimages for once-in-a-lifetime rarities, they brave broiling deserts, bug-infested swamps, and some of the lumpiest motel mattresses known to man. This unprecedented year of beat-the-clock adventures ultimately leads one man to a record so gigantic that it is unlikely ever to be bested. Here, prizewinning journalist Mark Obmascik creates a dazzling, fun narrative of the 275,000-mile odyssey of these three obsessives as they fight to win the greatest— or maybe worst—birding contest of all time.
Can you even imagine travelling to Alaska just to be able to take a picture of a rare bird? It’s basically what all the participants in this competition are willing to do to win. What do they win? Nothing except the bragging rights to being the best birder in the world.
The movie was based on the nonfiction book The Big Year written by journalist Mark Obmascik. The film was released on October 14, 2011, in the United States and was a box-office bomb, grossing only $7.4 million against its $41 million budget. Nevertheless, I consider this movie to be a great one and I watched it several times. It’s a light movie about friendship and what’s truly important in life. I quite enjoyed it and I recommend it.
What I like About The Movie
It’s a simple and light movie without heavy scenes. You can just play it and it will make you laugh and enter in a world where people do things not for the money but because they simply want to follow their passion. As you follow the main characters, you can easily see that their lives would be much easier if they stayed home taking care of their loved ones but they wanted to do a Big Year and they did it. The only reward they might receive is the accomplishment of having done what they always wanted. It’s as simple as that and there is a certain romanticism to it. That’s why I really like this movie. Also, there isn’t any kind of violence, rape, brutality or suspense other than who’s going to win. It’s a good movie that will leave you with a couple of laughs and good feelings and it’s all it was meant to be.
If you are looking for full-blown comedy such as the ones by Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, turn around, it’s not the movie for you. The three of them played their roles really well in this movie but it wasn’t meant to be a barrel of laughter so you are warned.
The Cast of The Big Year
Steve Martin as Stu Preissler
Jack Black as Brad Harris
Owen Wilson as Kenny Bostick
Brian Dennehy as Raymond
Anjelica Huston as Annie Auklet
Rashida Jones as Ellie
What Other Critics Say
Critics Consensus from RottentTomatoes: Though made with care and affection for its characters, The Big Year plods along, rarely reaching any comedic heights.
Trailer of the Big Year
More information about The Big Year
Directed by: David Frankel
Written by: Howard Franklin
Rating: PG (for language and some sensuality)
Based on: The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession
Music by: Theodore Shapiro
Edited by: Mark Livolsi
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Release date: October 14, 2011
Running time: 100 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $41 million
Box office: $7.4 million