A Big Yes for "The Big Year" with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. Finally a movie that offers intelligent humor with realistic characters and conflict. Three men with the goal to see the most bird species in North America during a calendar year. While it may seem crazy to some, it was a real contest of perseverance, character and skill. Yes, the facts have been aided to enhance the dramatic structure and this drama isn't giant transforming robots or explosive terrorist plots, its what most of us really can relate to: transforming moments in our lives and the plot twists in our personal relationships.
Personally I'm tired of outlandish comedies aimed at teens that are based on ridiculous hyperbole. It is a pleasure to travel along with these characters on an adventure that you can take with any member of your family and not be worried about the language or situations on the screen. Hopefully this film will stay on screens long enough for family holiday movie going.
I was out birding with some people this morning and everyone was eager to see this movie, but they couldn't find places where it was playing. This is a quiet movie that has the potential to build an audience, but only if the marketing people understand that not every film brings in its biggest box office in the first weeks.
There is more to "The Big Year" than birding. Everyone has a dream that is important to them that might be seem absurd to someone else. Maybe I'm biased because I am a birder and the notion of doing a Big Year seems like a holy grail, but even if you look beyond the birding quest, the characters in this movie are seeking personal fulfillment. They are trying to find something within themselves. Maybe we would all be better off if we stopped reaching for the bright and shiny things that got our economy into the mess it is in and started looking at our own internal goals. There is no big villain and no crazy slapstick in this film, instead there is wit, creative imagery, beautiful locations and wonderful characters played by a cast of experience actors that know what it is really like to be flawed humans all trying to find the best of themselves.
Plus it motivated me to go birding this morning. 54 species at Malibu Lagoon State Park!