After nearly a year off, I'm back and ready to post on the blog occasionally. Driftless Area is now password-protected, too.
A few weeks ago, we finally saw the movie The Big Year on DVD. It's probably the most prominent movie ever made about birding. It's certainly the most expensive, reportedly costing $40 million to make.
The Big Year features an all-star cast: Owen Wilson, Steve Martin and Jack Black. In seeing the trailers, I feared that the movie would strive to make fun of birders--an easy target to be sure. With a few small exceptions, that was not the case at all. In fact, the movie took care to portray birding accurately and kindly. That may have been why the movie was a big failure at the box office, grossing less than $10 million in the United States.
Casting Wilson as a cocky, world-renowned birder was pure brilliance. Martin and Black were both subdued and likable as they chased Wilson around the country trying to keep up with his North American big year. The bit players were good, too, including Rashida Jones as Black's love interest and Brian Dennehy as Black's curmudgeonly father.
I remember some birders being dismayed when The Big Year came out. But it really does mostly get it right, any quibbles are nitpicks at best (would a whistling-duck really hang out at the top of a mountain?). I highly recommend The Big Year!