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The Big Year

March 14, 2012

The Big Year is unpretentious, pleasant and breezy. You like the characters, enjoy the vistas and appreciate the smallness of it. This film is a bird watching trip with three people you like.

When I first saw the preview I had an inkling that I would enjoy the film. I ignored the %40 Rotten Tomatoes rating because I figured the critics wouldn’t appreciate it. I think critics were expecting a slapstick genre film in which Steve Martin yells and Jack Black does the “bee do dop” shtick. I’d wager the marketing was to blame for the super comedy expectations. The only things I remember from the preview were Owen Wilson’s silly hats and  Jack Black falling off a rock.

This movie is about three completely different people attempting the big year. The big year is 365 days of traveling to see as many birds as you can. To catalog a bird people do not  need photographic proof just their word. They don’t do it for the money. They do it because they love birds and want to be the best.

I love stories about underdogs looking to break records. I dig the documentary Donkey Kong: Fistfull of Quarters. Steve Webbie the docs main character is a man who was good at everything and great at nothing. However, one day he decided to pursue the Donkey Kong record. This brought out the reigning champ Billy Mitchell. What followed was a wonderful documentary about men who want to be the best at something and what they do to achieve it. The Big Year is not as dramatic as Kong but you get why each man does it. In fact, The Big Year made Brian Dennehy not overact which is worth a recomendation in my book.

The three characters vary greatly but are all relatable. Jack Black is a kind man who has never reached his goals. Steve Martin is a millionaire who has been too busy to travel. Owen Wilson is the reigning champion bird watcher who is on his third marriage. The Big Year will test their pocketbock, family life and sanity. Wandering the earth alone and looking for a rare owl can really make you question your life. However, these three men follow through and survive. Sure, there is some junk about a dad not understanding why his son looks at birds…but I’m pretty certain any father of a slacker would question his son’s flight of fancy.

I enjoyed this flick immensely. It flows like a stream that you want to sit next to. Enjoy this movie. Don’t expect too much. Go with the flow.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    March 16, 2012 5:51 am

    You have your epic moments, Hof, and this is most certainly one of them. I saw this movie, loved this movie, and feel that you, perhaps, have scribed the perfect combination of words to properly convey the tone of this movie along with proper instruction as to how to best enjoy it. My hat is off to you, sir!

    Excellent warning, as well, for those who fear the “skee-bop dee-do” comic inklings of Jack Black. I find him to be at his best when he is “normal guy” sincere and, here, he surely is just that.

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