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Big Year

The Big Year

3.5 2
Director: David Frankel,

Cast: David Frankel, Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson


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Three fanatical bird-watchers (Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Jack Black) spend an entire year competing to spot the highest number of species as El Nino sends an extraordinary variety of rare breeds flying up into the U.S., but they quickly discover that there are more important things


Three fanatical bird-watchers (Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Jack Black) spend an entire year competing to spot the highest number of species as El Nino sends an extraordinary variety of rare breeds flying up into the U.S., but they quickly discover that there are more important things than coming out on top of the competition. Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley and Me) teams with screenwriter Howard Franklin to adapt author Mark Obmascik's 1998 book of the same name.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
The Big Year is such a gentle, warmly genial comedy that it almost feels like a relic from a more-innocent, less-cynical era. It's a rare beast among movies that vie for audience attention by attempting to be the loudest, brashest, and raunchiest at the box office: a likable, PG-rated comedy that deals with some grown-up issues in a way that kids can easily digest, and subverts familiar plot elements enough to avoid becoming too predictable for adult viewers. Even so, it's hard to determine exactly who the filmmakers had in mind as their target audience while making The Big Year, but perhaps that's part of the reason why it's so difficult to simply dismiss it as inconsequential. It could be that we've just gotten a bit too quick and too comfortable with categorizing films in order to sell them to the desired audience. It's almost as if The Big Year was produced to remind us that there are still some films that a family can enjoy together, even if they weren't produced to appeal to any specific demographic. As El Nino sends an extraordinary variety of rare birds flying up into the U.S., devoted bird-watchers Stu Preissler (Steve Martin), Brad Harris (Jack Black), and Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) each devote an entire year of their lives to spotting the most species, in an attempt to surpass the world record of 732 (currently held by Bostick). A successful businessman preparing for his second retirement, Stu is encouraged to pursue his passion by his supportive wife Edith (JoBeth Williams). Meanwhile, Brad's gruff father Raymond (Brian Dennehy) continually belittles his son's obsessive bird-watching as his kindly mother Brenda (Dianne Wiest) quietly bankrolls her son's big adventure, and Kenny's wife Jessica (Rosamund Pike) struggles with her suspicion that her husband cares more about watching the skies than becoming a father. And while Stu, Brad, and Kenny all deny that they're competing for the world record -- for fear of motivating the others -- as their bird watch progresses, all three gradually discover that sometimes winning doesn't necessarily mean coming in first place. Adapted from Mark Obmascik's 1998 nonfiction book by screenwriter Howard Franklin (Quick Change, The Man Who Knew Too Little), The Big Year straddles the line between comedy and drama in a manner that, while not altogether unsuccessful, somewhat shortchanges both in its quest to find a poignant middle ground. Though the competition is indeed stiff between the three devoted bird-watchers, the lack of a clearly defined antagonist robs the storyline of any real dramatic weight until the final act. That said, there's still plenty of fun to be had watching Wilson, decked out in hideous dayglow paisley, continually try to distract his two chief rivals from surpassing his record. Black, meanwhile, is endearingly awkward as he attempts to break the ice with another, equally obsessive bird-watcher (Rashida Jones), and Martin's earnest performance as an aging businessman beginning to reassess his priorities is the heart of The Big Year. Though there are plenty of rare breeds and majestic sights to behold in The Big Year, it's obvious as the side relationships begin to overshadow the central conflict that the film is about bigger issues than who gets the highest score. Likewise, Franklin's talent for pulling the rug out from under viewers just as we think we've got things worked out gives the movie a refreshing sense of unpredictability. But sadly, The Big Year's wide-reaching appeal may also be its Achilles' heel. While director David Frankel works diligently to give the film a dynamic visual style and a satisfying sense of energy, the restrained humor and dialed-back drama make the movie more pleasant than genuinely compelling. Still, if you happen to find yourself stuck in the house during a stormy afternoon, the gorgeous vistas and affable comedy of The Big Year may be the perfect recipe to lift your spirits.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Never-before-seen extended version of the film - with outrageous additional footage not shown in theatres

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Steve Martin Stu Preissler
Jack Black Brad Harris
Owen Wilson Kenny Bostick
Brian Dennehy Raymond
Anjelica Huston Annie Auklet
Rashida Jones Ellie
Rosamund Pike Jessica
Dianne Wiest Brenda
JoBeth Williams Edith
Anthony Anderson Bill Clemont
Joel McHale Barry Loomis
Tim Blake Nelson Fuchs
Jim Parsons Crane
Kevin Pollak Jim Gittleson
John Cleese Historical Montage Narrator
Zahf Paroo Prasad
Paul Campbell Tony
Cindy Busby Susie
Greg Kean Computer Birder
Eva Allan Birder's Daughter
Bill Dow Dr. Paul Elkin
June Squibb Old Lady
Craig Bockhorn Lawyer
Joey Aresco Frank Falucci
Ryan Caltagirone Frank Jr.
Corbin Bernsen Gil Gordon
Barry "Shabaka" Henley Dr. Neil Kramer
Al Roker New York Weatherman
Christopher Mann Security Guard
Jan Bos Local Newsman (High Island)
Kate Gajdosik Local Newswoman (High Island)
William Samples British Tourist
Nate Torrence Ted Simpkin
Scott Patey Birder (High Island)
Marci T. House Troop Leader
Steven Weber Rick McIntire
Michael Bean Waiter
Christopher Redman Scott
Devon Weigel Karen
Andrew Wilson Mike Shin
Gabrielle Rose Mary Swit
Calum Worthy Colin Debs
Doreem Ramus CB Announcer
Terence Kelly Pete Shackelford
Steve Darling Anchorage Weatherman
Jon Frankel Anchorage Anchorman
David Lewis Lanky Birder
Kath Dugray Motel Manager
Jesse Moss Darren
Morgan Brayton Ferry Ticket Seller
Sheelah Megill Nurse
Veena Sood Nurse Katie
Deejay Jackson Parking Attendant
Calvin Lee Chinese Waiter
Tshering Garie Chinese Waitress

Technical Credits
David Frankel Director
Jim Brebner Asst. Director
Joseph Campayno Makeup
Stuart Cornfeld Producer
Michael Diner Art Director
Carol Fenelon Executive Producer
Howard Franklin Screenwriter
Curtis Hanson Producer
Jeff Harlacker Associate Producer
Martina Javorova Art Director
Jeremy Kramer Executive Producer
Mark Livolsi Editor
Julia Michels Musical Direction/Supervision
Monique Prudhomme Costumes/Costume Designer
Karen Rosenfelt Producer
Theodore Shapiro Score Composer
Lawrence Sher Cinematographer
Margery Simkin Casting
Ben Stiller Executive Producer
Brent Thomas Production Designer
Brad Van Arragon Co-producer
Patty York Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Big Year
1. Chapter 1 [:02]
2. Chapter 2 [2:10]
3. Chapter 3 [1:00]
4. Chapter 4 [:27]
5. Chapter 5 [2:21]
6. Chapter 6 [1:27]
7. Chapter 7 [:07]
8. Chapter 8 [3:04]
9. Chapter 9 [2:27]
10. Chapter 10 [:33]
11. Chapter 11 [:02]
12. Chapter 12 [2:14]
13. Chapter 13 [2:19]
14. Chapter 14 [1:37]
15. Chapter 15 [1:08]
16. Chapter 16 [:37]
17. Chapter 17 [:20]
18. Chapter 18 [1:22]
19. Chapter 19 [:40]
20. Chapter 20 [2:23]
21. Chapter 21 [1:09]
22. Chapter 22 [1:52]
23. Chapter 23 [:20]
24. Chapter 24 [1:19]
25. Chapter 25 [:58]
26. Chapter 26 [:05]
27. Chapter 27 [:53]
28. Chapter 28 [2:29]
29. Chapter 29 [:07]
30. Chapter 30 [2:16]
31. Chapter 31 [:14]
32. Chapter 32 [1:15]


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The Big Year 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bridget3420 More than 1 year ago
The hubby and I watched The Big Year last night. With a cast that includes Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson, who can resist? It was a decent movie and definitely worth seeing at least once. The acting was great and the plot was well thought out. It wasn't quite as funny as I was hoping for but there were some moments that I couldn't help but chuckle. Disclosure: I received this movie for free for review purposes. All opinions are 100% my own.