Lite’s Review Room: Weekend Movies – ‘The Big Year’ & ‘Footloose’

The weekend is approaching ever faster as the days get shorter heading into the middle of October.  We’re not complaining at all as the weekend comes so do the new movies.  Lite’s Review Room this week has 3 movies, two you’ve heard of before, in ‘Footloose’ and ‘The Thing’, and one you’ve probably never knew was based on an actual event, ‘The Big Year’.

Our Queen of the Silver Screen, Julie Fisk, headed out earlier this week to take in the new Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson movie.

The Big Year:

The Big Year stars Jack Black, Steve Martin & Owen Wilson as professional bird-watchers, competing in a year-long bird watching competition. The Big Year refers to a real life competition, where bird watchers try to spot, or at least HEAR as many birds as possible in one year. It also refers to the best-selling book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature & Fowl” by Mike Obmascik, which chronicles the adventures of some real-life birders, as they’re called. Don’t laugh, this is a real thing and that’s essentially what saves this movie.

[photogallerylink id=58650 align=left]Jack Black & Steve Martin, who so often play goofball caricatures, are actually playing real men. It’s a welcome change. Even though the birding idea seems ripe for a Christopher Guest Mockumentary, the birders themselves and the North American Big Year competition are never ridiculed or laughed at.

In fact The Big Year is a fun movie, but it isn’t outright funny, which is refreshing. The characters are funny in the way that real people are funny. They don’t have crisp dialogues crafted by teams of comedy writers, which lends authenticity to the film. Bird fans will notice an absence of actual BIRDS, though the nature footage they do use is stunning, especially a segment about the mating rituals of bald eagles.

I didn’t love this movie, but it surprised me enough to keep me interested all the way through, and that’s why I’m giving The Big Year a B. Because it’s not as much about watching birds as it is about the journeys we take to find happiness, when everything we need is usually right in your own backyard. You just need the right binoculars.


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