Movie Review: The Big Year

I'll cut to the chase: I enjoyed this movie a lot, and I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to. I laughed a lot! Like a lot of other birders, I was apprehensive about how our hobby might be depicted. But birders - at least some of them - are actually quite normal (ha!) throughout the picture and do some very cool things in beautiful places. Win!

Now some random thoughts which include mild spoilers.

* Arthur and I were alone in our midnight screening. While I was disappointed there weren't others in the theater, it was kind of nice to be able to talk with each other during some parts of the movie. I hope next time I see it, the theater will be packed. And I can imagine seeing this at birding festivals with a room full of birders.

* There were more great moments than cringe-worthy moments. I loved seeing the Bald Eagle courtship ritual and wished there were more fantastic wild bird shots incorporated into the movie.

* The Attu scenes were fantastic!

* I would love to see "Bostick!" become a birder's curse and will get to work on sparking a trend among my peers. Dipped on a mega? BOSTICK!

* I thought Jack Black especially did a great job as an enthusiastic youngish birder. I loved how he shared the story of his favorite bird, the American Golden Plover, with his dad.

* I guess it helps make a movie successful to have a good versus bad dynamic, but having one of the birders in the movie be a rotten villain made me sad.

* The soundtrack is full of bird-themed songs. I really liked the use of the instrumental Blackbird during Stu's "awakening" after the birth of his first grandchild.

* Big congrats to blogger The Two-fisted Birdwatcher for getting a product placement in the movie! A blog-branded mug appears on Brad's nightstand towards the end of the movie. I tried unsuccessfully to get merch in the film and so did 10,000 Birds, apparently.

* I'll leave the bird-type nitpicking to others. But there was one error in the credits that jumped out at me. Towards the end, thanks is given to Lange Elliot - should be Lang.

* I mentioned this in my previous post, but birders can help elevate the movie at least in the archives of the internets by contributing trivia and posting reviews (even short ones) on popular movie websites like Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb.

I give The Big Year 5 Goldfinches out of 5.

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