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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!



11 comments to The Big Year Movie Review

  • Ren

    I definitely plan to see it. I wanted to go to B&B but a sinus infection has been kicking my arse for the last week.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

  • Kim

    Can’t wait to see it! If I could have driven up from Omaha I would have, but I have to work to support the birding habit.

  • The phrase “the lifer dance” brought a big smile to my face. I’ve totally done that dance. Hoping I’ll have time to see the movie this weekend!

  • Sharon,

    I was a blast, wasn’t it? So much fun, even without the bacon popcorn.

    So much to talk about and think about. I’m betting we’ll be doing just that for years to come.

    Thanks for all you’ve done to lead and build the birding community. And make it even more weird and fun.

    And thanks for your support of the ABA.

    Let’s go birding sometime, OK?

  • Matt Gamble


    We here at the ICON were happy to be your hosts and I’m glad to hear that you not only enjoyed the Lobby Lounge, but the film as well. We’d be happy to see Birds and Beers back here whenever you choose.


  • So Swarovski buys this nice tour bus and tricks it out swell. Then you guys tour the country – heck – the world – bringing this funny Birds and Beers opportunity to us remotes.

  • Just saw the flick and was pleasantly surprised too! It had a nice balance of birding, comedy, relationships, and great scenery.

  • Loved your post, and review and your take on the movie. For me, the movie ‘Best in Show’ … even though I show cats there was enough ‘reality’ in the movie to make me laugh and not feel too ‘misunderstood’

  • Hey Birdchick,
    Neat Post, There are many who say that the movie is never as good as the book, sadly, as this The Da Vinci Code movie review will show, they are probably right. The movie had all the makings to become an enormous success. Tom Hanks as the leading man, an Oscar winning director, and based on an incredibly popular best selling book. The creators of this film must have taken that for granted as they forgot to make this a good movie.

  • I’m so glad the movie was good! Hopefully it will bring in a big audience (not just of birders) and finally get birding into the spotlight! It would be so great for people to become more interested in birding and bird-related things, such as my Birder Murder mysteries!

  • lectric lady

    So what was the bloody hell was that woodpecker after the wreck scene???