The Big Year Movie Review

Holy cow!  Last night was AMAZING! Showplace Icon is now my favorite place to watch movies: they have Bacon Popcorn (with actual bacon), you can have a nice beverage, not just overpriced soda and the seats are REALLY comfortable.  And the price for the VIP ticket isn't much higher than a regular movie ticket.

Swarovski Optik is awesome.  They gave away a pair of binoculars, had enough prizes for anyone who showed up and picked up the Birds and Beers bar tab.  I know they've always given back to the birds and the birding community by helping out bird festivals but wow, how cool to have them so supportive of Birds and Beers!

But the movie.  The movie was a pleasant surprise.  I was hopeful when I saw that Roger Ebert gave The Big Year 3 out of 4 stars but really tried to keep an open mind about the movie.

I think Hollywood has set the bar so low when it comes to birds and birding portrayed on screen that anyone who watches birds girds themselves for the worst.  After last night's screening of The Big Year, everyone looked at each other in surprise and said things like, "Well, that wasn't bad!"

I just realized that the guy in this photo with Owen Wilson was also Delmar in O, Brother Where Art Thou.

Are there inaccurate birds and situations--totally.  But they weren't that egregious.  I think it made birding on Attu a little more glamorous that what it really is and I'm not sure they fully captured the extreme weather you will find yourself in and not see the bird.  But I think it did express the fun, the camaraderie...and even the lifer dance!

What I loved about the movie was that it's a snapshot of what it's like to be a hardcore birder.  They got the essence of it, what drives some of us to watch birds.  They don't make birders look like nerds, dweebs, the awkwardly socialized.  They portrayed us as people who are like anyone else, but who happen to be passionate about seeing birds...not unlike a sports fan.

It's not life changing, but there were a few situations I could relate to: choosing work or a really good bird fallout and balancing family and the chase of the birds.  If a non birder came up to me at a party and said, "Oh you watch birds, I saw that Big Year movie and you are like that," I wouldn't cover my head with my hands and say, "That is so not birding."

One lesson that I think birders will be left with in this movie: You can either be the greatest birder in the world or have sex on a regular basis.  Glad I'm not #1.

Also, the American Birding Association does have an actual annual publication on birders who do Big Years.  Another great reason to be a member!