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!



The Grand Prize at the Big Year midnight screening this Friday

Okay, gang, this just got real. Because we have in our hot little hands the grand prize for Friday's midnight screening of The Big Year. A pair of 10x30 Swarovski CL Companion binoculars. Retail value? One Grand. And we're giving it away to one lucky winner. So what do you need to do to win?

Just come to the midnight screening of The Big Year at the Showplace ICON theater in St. Louis Park, MN on Friday (that's the Friday, midnight screening, so stay up late on Thursday). You can buy your ticket online here using Fandango. Since we're in the VIP, you'll be able to enjoy food and cocktails while you watch Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black compete to see the most birds in one year. Sharon will be there around 10:30pm on Thursday to socalize in the bar and give away some other prizes.

Big Year Screening & Swarovski Optik

Okay folks, it's almost time for the Big Year and Birds and Beers!  Call the showplace icon and get tickets ahead of time to ensure a seat.  The number is 1-800-326-3264 and you want the Midnight VIP screening of The Big Year.

Showplace Icon is going to offer a special midnight screen Friday morning at MIDNIGHT (so you’ll need to plan to stay up late Thursday, October 13!).  There are even going to be prizes—Swarovski Optik is coming and everyone who comes to VIP event is entered into a drawing to win their prize.  Rumor has it that it's the new CL 10x30s.

I'll have some other prizes too and I’ll be there at about 10:30pm to have a drink and socialize–there’s a bar in the Icon below the theater and then carry on the fun above.

Don't tell me this is too late of an evening for you to do--really nice binoculars are on the line.  Also, I'm doing bird surveys all week (we're talking 10 - 11 hour days) and I have to go to a meeting on Friday.  This is why we have things like shade-grown coffee and Red Bull.

Birds & Beers Big Year Edition!! Midnight Showing

Breaking NEWS: We have a special Birds and Beers next week!!

The next Birds and Beers is a special screening of The Big Year Movie opening! Showplace Icon is going to offer a special midnight screen Friday morning at MIDNIGHT (so you'll need to plan to stay up late Thursday, October 13! 

Tickets will go on sale Monday, October 10 and we may even have a few surprises to give away at the screening.  I'll be there at about 10:30pm to have a drink and socialize--there's a bar in the Icon below the theater and then carry on the fun above.

Birds and Beers is an informal gathering of birders of all abilities–if you’re interested in birds, you’re invited. You can meet other birders–maybe find a carpool buddy, ask about where to find target birds, share cool research projects you might be working on, ask a bird feeding question, share life lists, share some digiscoping tips, promote your blog–the sky is the limit. It’s low key and it’s fun.

To get updates on when the next Birds and Beers will be, become a fan of Birds and Beers on Facebook and when a new event it planned, you’ll get a notification.  Or check back here.

Have You Ever Pulled A Dick Move When Bird Watching?

[youtube][/youtube] A lot of the clips for the movie The Big Year focus on the main characters faking each other out or just pulling some real dick moves out in the field--purposely making someone sick.  Has anyone ever done that?  Faked out not seeing a bird so someone else wouldn't see it?

I ask because generally I find birders are a pretty friendly lot--even during a competition like The World Series of Birding. Do people do this?  I suppose this would get into the area of ethics, you wouldn't want to flush a bird away to keep someone from seeing it, but you could give really bad direction (or make someone barfy on a pelagic birding trip).

You can keep it anonymous in the comments, I'll check the spam filter.

More Big Year Pictures!

Some pictures of The Big Year Movie has popped up at IMDB.  Who hasn't hoisted their buddy on their shoulders to get a particular bird on their list?

I love this shot--Owen Wilson at High Island! Awesome!  I'm really curious to see if attendance increases in some of the areas featured in the movie.  Wouldn't that be awesome to have a whole crew of people enjoying them...and donating to them?  You can find more photos here.  I wonder if we should start keeping a list of Owen Wilson's various hats in the movie?

Here's another clip:





Birdchick Podcast #61: Amazing Burrowing Owl, Lesser Prairie-Chickens & Big Year

This is where I'll be next week. From the American Birding Association Blog: Crazy female burrowing owl does 2 broods--1100 miles apart!

Oklahoma should really look at the lesser prairie-chicken as an economic opportunity, not an economic bust.  There's a lesser prairie-chicken festival--Leks, Treks and More!

It's hawk migration time--find a Hawk Count near you!

Big Year news--lots of discussion about below:

Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.06.02 PM
Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.06.02 PM

A Swainson's hawk in the snow?

Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.05.16 PM
Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.05.16 PM

 WildBird magazine makes an appearance in the movie!

Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.09.18 PM
Screen shot 2011-09-07 at 4.09.18 PM

Jim Parsons is supposed to play a bird blogger.  Who is he?  Have you ever seen a bird blogger in a beret?

Also Greg Miller (played by Jack Black in the film) has his own blog...and his own line of shirts:

Screen shot 2011-09-08 at 8.53.44 PM
Screen shot 2011-09-08 at 8.53.44 PM

Birdchick Podcast #60 The Big Year Trailer, Bird Thumbs and Kickstarters

  Big Year news, we have a Trailer:


The Big Year
The Big Year

And Audubon Magazine has an article with all 3 stars.  Steve Martin assures us they are respectful to birders...

Crows tested with snakes and teddy bears.

If you are remotely interested in whether or not birds have fingers or thumbs, you'll love this article.

Manx Shearwater crisis in Pembrokeshire.

Frigatebirds make headlines on CNN.

Birdchick Podcast 02-27-11

[Note from NBB: Fixed the echo on this one as well. Big thanks to Olga Nunes for her help.] The latest Birdchick Podcast is up!  In this, Non Birding Bill and I discuss teenage songbird song, eBird, the BirdsEye App, the Big Year Movie and Cornell's upcoming Young Birder Event (which I get whiney about).

Here are links to topics we discussed:


BirdsEye App

Teenage Bird Song

Young Birder Event At Cornell

You can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.

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