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ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

"The Big Year" (1 Viewer)

moose1991

Alces alces
I read the book, which I really liked.
I bought the dvd years ago after reading about it on here, I was very disappointed in the film.
Watched it only the once.
 

PYRTLE

Old Berkshire Boy
Uh, perhaps because this sub-forum demographically represents what the movie is about to some degree?

You can do better than that. The book, which I read when published, primarily dealt with the crazy, costly and lunacy of two main individuals dedicated and desperate attempts to outdo each other to claim the title. Very apt at the time with Lee Evans and others doing the same in the UK. Much subterfuge and claims of cheating both sides of the pond.
The binocular geeks, here on BF, ran a thread to se what makes and models we're portrayed in the film and it they were indeed the models used by the main characters during " The Big Year ".

I enjoyed the read, as I was a fairly keen twitcher around that time and it did replicate some of the shenanigans that were taking place ( and still do ) both sides of The Pond.

Bushnell, Bausch and Lomb and Leica from what I can recollect.....I donated the book to a charity shop, never saw the film, only Utoob clips.
 
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Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
...If folks didn't twig to it, perhaps they could give it another viewing now that they're older and wiser .....

Chosun 🙅‍♀️
No, in my case I'm committed to settling into the role of grumpy curmudgeon who isn't willing to give the movie a break, motivated to that hard line position in large measure by my sense of duty in trying to provide a counterbalance to the large number of birders or birdwatchers who are apparently so desperate to see birding in the mainstream that they are willing apologists for what I consider to be inexcusable errors. Seriously, consider my daughter's "favorite" error in the movie (that I previously mentioned), when (near the beginning of the movie) Jack Black's character is stuck at work looking at birds out the window, we are shown what he sees, we clearly see three species of gulls, but the movie shows him tallying only one! What??? This error shows complete disregard for the foundational concern of birding. It shows that the folks who made the movie were so dismissive of birders and birding that they didn't care to include a birder to review the final cut (or didn't care to make adjustments subsequent to such a review. Why couldn't Jack Black's character have been shown seeing only a Rock Pigeon, or European Starling, or House Sparrow just outside the window? Such an edit would have been a win-win--it would have made the point better to-nonbirders than does a confusing mixed-species mass of gulls, and the few birders in the theater would have immediately appreciated and been sympathetic to his predicament. I wish I could see three species of gulls from my office!). My daughter, who isn't a birder, remembers that scene because when we watched the movie together after it came out when she was 8 years old, she could see there were at least two species and was shocked when the counter rang up only one. Cognitive dissonance. Never mind the slightly more arcane error of the character in southern Arizona ending that same day with only something like 30 species--a number so low for the Patagonia State Park area as to be ridiculously inconceivable given the level of birding ineptitude it would reflect. Oh well.

To all you groveling apologists for what I judge to be lack of regard for birding and birders to the point of willful ignorance, please consider the following. If this were a movie that used cricket, or baseball, or polo, or rugby, or golf as a similar vehicle to motivate the plot, I doubt that comparable errors would be forgiven by those constituencies. Even movie critics who didn't care about those sports would be scratching their heads as to why the producers/director/etc would devote so much energy and money to making such a movie and yet not bother to do the research or hire (and listen to) the consultants needed to get those basic details right.

--AP
 
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Pileatus

"Experientia Docet”
United States
Cornell had a few comments on the movie...

and a critique...
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
I today's polite world, where outside the world of politics everyone is afraid to be truly critical (and even inside the political sphere, criticism may not qualify as truly critical since it is so often about partisan fictions and not hard hitting facts about the world, and thus is often easy to ignore for having zero information content), I'm afraid that the folks at Cornell are part of too mainstream an institution to risk alienating anyone and thus may not dare be harsh when perhaps they should. Cornell may also wish to model forgiveness for egregious errors pertaining to birding given their own major error in 2005.

--AP
 

BryanP

Little known member
Canada
To all you groveling apologists for what I judge to be lack of regard for birding and birders to the point of willful ignorance, please consider the following. If this were a movie that used cricket, or baseball, or polo, or rugby, or golf as a similar vehicle to motivate the plot, I doubt that comparable errors would be forgiven by those constituencies. Even movie critics that didn't care about those sports would be scratching their heads as to why the producers/director/etc would devote so much energy and money to making such a movie and yet not bother to do the research or hire (and listen to) the consultants needed to get those basic details right.

--AP
Wow, just wow! “grovelling apologists, Lack of regard, Willful ignorance”, Hyperbole much? Or perhaps just trying to offend? You’re actually not criticizing the movie anymore you’re criticizing others for not being as angry as you are about flaws in a movie.

I suspect the so called “apologists” you refer to have many, varied and valid reasons to cut the movie some slack with very little grovelling in the mix. They may even be indulging in the healthy habit of not taking themselves (or movies) too seriously.
I personally have other intense interests alongside birding and every movie ever done on any of those topics has been as bad as the birding movies. I’d be wasting a lot of energy getting worked up about even one. Its fun pointing out and debating the flaws but flaws there will be and that will never change.

.
Also its just a movie.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

Alexis Powell

Natural history enthusiast
United States
Well, I have to admit that I have an unusual expectation around movies. I didn't grow up with television or the internet, and I only saw a very few movies (ones that were considered superb) before college. In college, I saw quite a few, but all were curated as the best from the present to very old. It has left me with high expectations for what a movie should be. Actually, I have high (some would say unreasonable) expectations for most things, including binoculars! :) I've never used the line "it's just a ___" to excuse anything, as far as I know. I take everything, and nothing, seriously. In a senseless world without inherent purpose, as a sentient being with a will, I prefer to strive for excellence and intense engagement even if I fail often. I read a lot of reviews back when the movie came out. My comments about apologists were based on my memories of those, not so much the comments in this thread. And they were a bit tongue-in-cheek, if it wasn't clear, just like my own description of myself as a grumpy curmudgeon. Sorry. I wasn't intending to offend. I just enjoy blunt expression. Some would say dramatic expression. But not hyperbole.

On another note, my favorite binocular movie (given their prominence in it and my poor stomach for war and crime movies) is Moonrise Kingdom.

--AP
 
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CMB

Well-known member
Seeing Kowa binoculars in the movie reminded me that Kowa made binoculars, which I had forgotten. I was looking for a new pair so looked up the specs, read reviews, etc.

I find the movie funny. Yes, there are lots of inaccuracies in the movie, but I think that's what helps make it funny. Most of the people I know have no interest in birding, and I think the movie captures the non-birding person's reactions pretty well. "Hey, we just had a county first record of a "blah blah blah" yesterday afteroon!" "...um, that's nice? Good for you?"

For decades my spouse had no interest in birding. Then one day while sitting on the back porch they saw a Western Tanager. Then something else colorful. Then they came to me and said, "I want to try birding." I knew that to make this successful they absolutely needed binoculars that would work with their eyeglass prescription. It took time to research and try different pairs, to understand what they were and were not seeing, etc. Getting the binoculars right was crucial. They initially baulked at the price, but after trying different brands, models, and price points, they understood the difference of what worked for them and what did not.

Now they love birding and can't wait to go out - even if we are seeing the same things. They love the walks, the sightings, the research, etc. They used to not understand why I enjoyed it. Now they say, "I get it."

Both of us have read the book, and we own the movie. We both find the movie very funny because we can see both sides of our experiences in how the movie portrays the non-technical aspects of the story.
 
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BryanP

Little known member
Canada
Well, I have to admit that I have an unusual expectation around movies. I didn't grow up with television or the internet, and I only saw a very few movies (ones that were considered superb) before college. In college, I saw quite a few, but all were curated as the best from the present to very old. It has left me with high expectations for what a movie should be. Actually, I have high (some would say unreasonable) expectations for most things, including binoculars! :) I've never used the line "it's just a ___" to excuse anything, as far as I know. I take everything, and nothing, seriously. In a senseless world without inherent purpose, as a sentient being with a will, I prefer to strive for excellence and intense engagement even if I fail often. I read a lot of reviews back when the movie came out. My comments about apologists were based on my memories of those, not so much the comments in this thread. And they were a bit tongue-in-cheek, if it wasn't clear, just like my own description of myself as a grumpy curmudgeon. Sorry. I wasn't intending to offend. I just enjoy blunt expression. Some would say dramatic expression. But not hyperbole.

On another note, my favorite binocular movie (given their prominence in it and my poor stomach for war and crime movies) is Moonrise Kingdom.

--AP
Hi Alexis
For the record I wasn’t offended by your statements. Blunt expression is good (as my German friends are fond of telling me)
I’m also all over having high expectations. Art, books, writing and movies are all fair game for those expectations. Just don’t get me started on science fiction writing, just don’t because it won’t end well. 😉

Taking a topic or interest very seriously is also very cool and I get the intensity. When I cross that fuzzy line and am suddenly taking myself more seriously than the subject (or others) my audience’s eyes always glaze over and they suddenly remember their drinks need refreshing and they wander off.
I still agree with your general assessment of the movie itself. For better or worse I just manage my expectations differently due to having been in the business long enough to not take it too personally.
It did teach me a little trick for coming to grips with any movie’s flaws, just pretend its a cartoon and suddenly its not so bad! If its already a cartoon and still bad then all bets are off.
I of course make these cartoon comments with apologies to some of the brilliant slice of life anime that Hollywood in their dreams can only hope someday to aspire to.
You had me rushing to look at clips of Moonrise Kingdom for binoculars (were you able to id any?) and lo and behold there they are. When I watched the movie originally I was so focused on Wes Anderson’s story telling and magic that I never noticed the binoculars. Time to give it another go.




To sum up, I own the Big Year and do like the movie. I’m guessing I’ve watched it at least 5 times and am always happy when in that fallout scene in Texas Cleese announces our little Ruby-throated Female is alive after its harrowing migration. Nice moment and its lead up, decent CG work on the hummer and the background music underlines the moment nicely.
Cheers,
Bryan
 

Chosun Juan

Given to Fly
Australia - Aboriginal
No, in my case I'm committed to settling into the role of grumpy curmudgeon ....

Whoa ! You realise you create your own reality right ? 🤔 Be careful what you wish for - you will get it .......

Perhaps back away from the scope and try something with an extra-wide Fov ..... 😄

What if it's not about birding at all ?
What if it's just about universal themes ?
What if the big year is just a quirky ride to get ya there ?

For me as a 'non-competitive birder' (whatever that is) - I took it as an interesting eye opener into a world that I have no interest in. The fact that it was pleasant, amusing, insightful, and heart-warming, was a bonus (in a world filled with movies offering a violent stroboscopic assault on the senses and more explosions than a warzone !)

I think the teaser poster with a bird peering down through the objectives of Steve Martin's bins says it all ! 😄

big-year-2.jpg

922192882e3b20e980d254d7597e0a0d.jpg

This behind the scenes interview is about as exciting as watching paint dry - but Owen Wilson let's slip something that in my view if it translates to the audience, is an important accomplishment of the movie ....
"One of the nice things on this movie that we were able to take away was probably just an appreciation for the friendship and also sort of maybe an awareness of nature that um, maybe you didn't have before"


I also quite like this well played scene between Jack Black and Brian Dennehy ... a touching dawning for a "grumpy curmudgeon" 😉



Apparently there's an Extended version of the movie which is the one to watch ??


Chosun 🙅‍♀️
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia

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