It was movie night for me finally on Monday night. I'm so behind on any form of watching films that the ones I rented were just $1 apiece for five nights from Family Video. Then there's the stuff I try to find from the library, cheap at the Goodwill or a mere quarter at the ongoing Friends of the Library book sale.
So back to Monday's selection. A couple of years ago, the movie "The Big Year" hit the screen, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson. You'd think that with these three, the movie would do well, wouldn't you? It was a box office failure.
The star power of the trio couldn't save it. It had a budget of more than $40 million, but it just garnered $7.4 million in ticket sales around the world. Heck, it even had appearances from Anjelica Houston, Brian Dennehy, Tim Blake Nelson, Dianne Wiest, JoBeth Williams, Kevin Pollack and Joel McHale. But that didn't stop me.
I don't know what caused the movie to bomb. It wasn't necessarily just a comedy, just kind of a feel-good movie about competitive birdwatching. Wilson portrays gung-ho Kenny Bostick, who is a roofing contractor by trade and the record-holder for seeing 732 species in his "big year." Black plays Brad Harris, a divorced computer programmer who is basically broke. Martin is Stu Preissler, the founder and CEO of a company in Manhattan. He's tried to retire twice, but he just wants to go for the "big year" record.
Despite grumblings from his father, portrayed by Dehenny, Black's character decides to continue with his plan of going for "the big year." His mother, played by Wiest, encourages him to follow his dream. Brad's marriage had broken up because of the bird obsession, so had Bostick's first marriage. Wilson's character is married again, and he and his wife are trying for a baby.
So Bostick announces right away that he's on his "big year" quest, not wanting anyone to capture his record. Brad's using his savings to embark on his adventure, and Stu keeps getting pestered by his work colleagues to come back to the company. Brad and Stu meet while on the way to British Columbia. Bostick uses tactics to throw off Stu, well, basically makes him seasick. That's when Brad and Stu become friends.
The movie takes you all over the place, from the Gulf Coast to Attu Island, near Alaska. I was wondering how Brad managed to keep getting time off from work in search of whatever rare species of bird.
There's of course a little conflict between Brad and Stu and Bostick, but their friendship continues throughout the rest of the movie. The movie is based on a book "The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession" by Mark Obmascik. Granted I can't picture people running all over the country looking for such birds as the Pink-footed goose or a rustic bunting, but it was an enjoyable flick.