The Big Year

The Big Year is a 2011 American comedy adventure film directed by David Frankel and produced by Karen Rosenfelt, Stuart Cornfeld and Curtis Hanson.  The screenplay was written by Howard Franklin and is based on the book ‘The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature and Fowl Obsession’ by Mark Obmascik.

The Big Year | The Big Year Movie Poster | 2011 | Jack Black | Steve Martin | Owen Wilson | Rosamund Pike | Rashida Jones | Anjelica Huston | Jim Parsons | JoBeth Williams | Tim Blake Nelson | Dianne Wiest | Brian Dennehy | Joel McHale | Kevin Pollak | John Cleese | Anthony Anderson | Andrew Wilson | Corbin Bernsen | Steve Weber | |
The Big Year Movie Poster

Rated:  PG (movie contains language and some sensuality)
Run Time:  1h 40min
Release Date:  October 14, 2011 (USA)
Genre:  Adventure, Romance, Comedy
Director:  David Frankel
Studio:  20th Century Fox




The Big Year stars Jack Black, Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, Rosamund Pike, Anjelica Huston, Jim Parsons, JoBeth Williams, Tim Blake Nelson, Dianne Wiest, Brian Dennehy, Joel McHale, Kevin Pollak, John Cleese, Anthony Anderson, Andrew Wilson, Corbin Bernsen and Steven Weber.

The Big Year is the story of three men on a quest for a Big Year which is a competition among birders to see who can see and identify the greatest number of species of birds in North America in a calendar year.  Brad Harris (Jack Black) is a 36-year-old computer programmer based in Baltimore and can identify nearly any species solely by sound; Stu Preissler (Steve Martin) is the founder and CEO of a Manhattan based chemical conglomerate which he built from the ground up; and Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) is a roofing contractor and holds the current Big Year record of 732 birds.

Bostick is obsessively possessive of his record, but his third wife Jessica (Rosamund Pike) is concerned; this was supposed to be the year they focused on having a baby.  She also believes that Bostick’s birding obsession is what destroyed his previous marriages.  He is so competitive that the others use his name as a kind of expletive: “Bostick!”

Brad hates his job maintaining the operational software of a nuclear power plant in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.  He lives with his parents after a failed marriage, an aborted career at Dell and dropping out of grad school.  Brad hopes that doing a Big Year will give him a sense of purpose and possibly even make his father proud of him.

Stu is  ready to retire to Colorado with his wife Edith (JoBeth Williams) who is an architect.  Fear of an empty schedule led him to come back from a previous retirement, but now he wants to leave his company in the hands of his two lieutenants, Barry Loomis (Joel McHale) and Jim Gittelson (Kevin Pollak).  A Big Year has been his lifelong dream and he’s pursuing it with the full support of his wife.

Most of the competitors lay low so as to not alert others that they are attempting a Big Year as they compete with each other and many other birders to achieve the world record of sighting the highest number of birds.  Brad and Stu become friends and help each other in the competition, and Brad is attracted to a fellow birder, Elle (Rashida Jones).  Meanwhile the highly competitive Bostick resorts to dirty tricks to boost his own count while undermining the competition.

Movie Quotes

“There is going to be a major fallout in a few hours!” – Brad Harris
“Nuclear fallout?” – Bill Clemont
“Bird fallout.” – Brad Harris 
“Of all courtship rituals in the animal kingdom, the most spectacular by far is that of the bald eagle. The male and female climb to dizzying heights and then… join in free fall, plummeting toward earth, locked in each others embrace, separating only at the very last moment.” – Brad Harris
“God, I miss Edith.” – Stu Preissler
“Yeah, I kind of miss Jess.” – Kenny Bostick

“A year to do all the things we never could.” – Kenny Bostick

“He got more birds, but we got more everything.” – Brad Harris

Official Movie Trailer

Movie Stars

Jack Black as Brad Harris

Steve Martin as Stu Preissler

Owen Wilson as Kenny Bostick

Rosamund Pike as Jessica

Rashida Jones as Ellie

Anjelica Huston as Annie Auklet

Jim Parsons as Crane

JoBeth Williams as Edith Preissler

Tim Blake Nelson as Fuchs

Dianne Wiest as Brenda Harris

Brian Dennehy as Raymond Harris

Joel McHale as Barry Loomis

Kevin Pollak as Jim Gittelson

John Cleese as Narrator

Anthony Anderson as Bill Clemont

Andrew Wilson as Mike Shinn

Corbin Bernsen as Gil Gordon

Steven Weber as Rick McIntire