Monday, February 9, 2015

For the Birds

Holy snow, batman! 

Sorry it’s been a while. I’ve been a busy bee and all this freakin’ snow is not helping. As you know, I recently moved from Baltimore back to Boston and the journey to make my new life here is in full swing. There has been lots of interviews and apartment hunting, but I'm snowed-in again allowing to give you all some loving attention. 

January’s theme was Resolve, and I’ve got one more GREAT movie for you that I couldn’t leave out of that category. And, of course, February is all about the love. But you won’t find too many chick flicks or rom-coms here. Well. Maybe a few. But I think February is a great time to think about love and all the many different ways it manifests in your life. That’s what I’ll be hoping to achieve with my picks, at least.

But first, we wrap up January.

The Big Year was released in 2011 and directed by David Frankel, also known for The Devil Wears Prada and Marley & Me. This is one of those times where I think Rotten Tomatoes gets it all wrong. They rate this movie at 40% because it isn't “wacky” enough and too predictable. I never get tired of watching The Big Year because it is chock full of laughs. How could it not when the three main characters are some of the funniest men in the business? Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson (I talked about him in my Midnight in Paris post…) create quite the dynamic trio. Calling their characters avid birdwatchers would be putting it very mildly. The Big Year competition is like the super bowl of National Audubon lovers. The goal is to see as many species of birds around the country as possible. The person who sees the most is crowned king. Owen Wilson plays the reigning champion, Kenny Bostick who lives for the thrill, and the attention (his clothes are almost as obnoxious as his attitude). Brad Harris, played by Jack Black is a young man in the race for the first time, and he is in search for more than just birds. As Brad starts his journey he meets Stu, an older guy played by the ever-classic Steve Martin (oh, he’s still got it!), who is in the game for the love of the experience but who also wouldn’t mind bringing home the title himself. They each have unique motivations driving hem through the year-long saga and their experience changes their lives in ways nobody expected. It’s a heartwarming story about chasing your dreams with a hint of caution about what can happen when the prize becomes more important than the journey to get it.

I really enjoyed that this film is based on the nonfiction book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession which was written by Mark Obmascik. So this year-long expedition is a real thing! I had no idea! I couldn't help but be attracted to the idea of seeing the country in such a unique way. I had never heard of Attu Island until I saw this movie. It is the westernmost and largest island in the Near Islands group of the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, and the westernmost point of land relative to Alaska, the United States, and North America. The island is currently uninhabited by humans, but as you’ll see, that only attracts some of the most unique birds to be seen in the United States. Do I think I’m going to turn into an avid birder? Nope. Do I think my passion to travel as much as is rekindled a bit when I watch this movie? Absolutely.

The plot line is simple and clean without a lot of surprises or plot twists-- but that isn't really what you out of a movie like this. If you are looking for complex themes, tragedy, or big explosions look elsewhere. Between Martin’s sarcasm, Black’s boyish charm, Wilson’s snark, and the supporting cast around them you’ll have no problem becoming completely involved and enthralled in the story. 

Thanks for reading.

Happy Viewing!