I’m the one in our household who fills the bird feeders most of the time and it’s a labor of love. Flickers, Mourning Doves, Cardinals, Bluejays, they all flock and put on a great show, so I’m a sucker for a good birding movie. I must say I wasn’t expecting much from “The Big Year” based on the promotional spots. The film is based on the book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession which was written by Mark Obmascik, a book that focuses more on obsession than comedic hijinks, but the movie is a lovely blend of gentle comedy with three masters of the genre. Jack Black is Brad Harris, a lug stuck in a computer nerd job, who dreams of using his ear for rare bird calls to win “The Big Year” competition, the race to see how many bird species one can spot in 365 days. Owen Wilson plays Kenny Bostick, the obsessive current record holder who will do anything including risking his marriage to his beautiful wife (Rosamund Pike). Steve Martin is Stu Preissler a high power CEO looking for a more peaceful pastime, birding, but finds the competition for “The Big Year” glory is just as cutthroat as Wall Street. Director David Frankel takes us all over the globe with skill and gives the star birds the screen time they deserve. All in all, it’s a delightful film. How can you not root for Jack Black in his attempt to win the attention of fellow birder, Rashida Jones (Parks and Recreation). The stars aren’t going for the broad slapstick here and that’s to their credit. By the way, check out my wife’s picture of a Cooper’s Hawk in our Birdbath.
My GPA: 3.4