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The Big Year (2011)

The Big Year movie poster

For reasons I can’t quite explain I recently felt the urge to rewatch a film I’d previously only seen once before but remember really enjoying.

After a not-so-quick search through the many streaming services I now feel I have to subscribe to I eventually found it on Disney+ and decided to give it another watch.

The Big Year (2011)

I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever met anyone else (aside from Mrs Screen Room) who’s seen this movie. Considering how well known the three main stars are it seems to have fallen under the radar for a lot of people.

If you’re one them, this is a heartwarming comedy directed by David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada), starring Owen Wilson (Wedding Crashers), Jack Black (School of Rock) and Steve Martin (Father of the Bride).

It has supporting roles from Rosamund Pike (Jack Reacher), Kevin Pollak (A Few Good Men), Dianne Wiest (The Lost Boys) and the late Brian Dennehey (Cocoon) among others.

It’s based on a true story and is adapted from the 2004 book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession” by Mark Obmasci.

This is what it’s about:

“Two bird enthusiasts try to defeat the cocky, cutthroat world record holder in a year-long bird-spotting competition.”

It was so great watching this film again! I remember enjoying it the first time round but it had been so long since I last watched it (about 12 years) that I found a whole new appreciation for it.

The story, as dull as it might seem is actually quite the opposite. In a similar way that the Rocky films are about a lot more than just boxing, this one is about far more than bird watching (or “birding” as it’s actually called).

It’s about friendship, family, doing what makes you happy, obsession, and the sacrifices people make in the pursuit of chasing their dreams. It’s also about realising what’s truly important in life - not to mention living life.

The three main stars in this movie are brilliant. Each character is totally different and we get to see toned down performances from three comedy actors that we’re used to seeing dialled quite a bit higher. Their chemistry and the dynamic between their different personalities and comedy styles makes this such an enjoyable movie to watch.

To say it’s a laugh-out-loud comedy would be lying but it is funny. It’s also really heartwarming and inspiring. I think it’s a shame that it doesn’t get more praise because as much as it isn’t anywhere near the biggest film any of the main stars have made, in my opinion it’s better than some of them.

If you like films like We Bought a Zoo (2011), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (2013) and Yes Man (2008) I highly recommend checking this one out. It might not be the best film you’ll watch this year but I guarantee you’ll feel slightly enriched for watching it. It might even get you into birding…

Already seen it? Let me know in the comments.


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