Review of The Big Year on DVD (#Giveaway)

We are excited to review and giveaway the new film The Big Year, rated PG, and set to release tomorrow (Tuesday, January 31st).  First, please see this fun feature from our friends at The Big Year:

Bird loving duo Brad and Stu become instant, yet unlikely, friends on their quest to top the spot in The Big Year annual event. Here, we'll list the top films in which a couple of opposites become unlikely friends including Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear in As Good as it Gets and “Chunk" and "Sloth" from The Goonies.

Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson portray three men from very different walks of life, facing a mid-life crisis, a work-life crisis and a no-life crisis. In the biggest competition of their lives, they undertake an unforgettable trek through North America, engaging in hilarious and bizarre adventures and forming friendships that will last a lifetime!

The Goonies

In the classic film The Goonies, Chunk and Sloth are literally forced together in a sort of mutual punishment by the demented Fratellis. Initially enemies, Chunk and Sloth quickly become friends over a mutual love of the candy bar Baby Ruth. The horribly deformed Sloth and the funny child Chunk are certainly a strange pair, but they band together to save The Goonies and become unlikely heroes.

Toy Story

In Toy Story, the film that revolutionized both CG animation and children’s films, old cowboy Woody is at odds with the shiny, new space range Buzz Lightyear. Because of Buzz’s delusions that he is an actual space ranger (and not a toy), and the fact that their owner is giving him preference over Woody, Woody plots against Buzz. Following a series of mishaps, Buzz and Woody are forced to work together to escape and return to their owner and, along the way, they become lifelong friends.

As Good As It Gets

In the Academy Award winning film As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson stars as Melvin Udall, a germophobic, obsessive-compulsive writer who virtually everyone detests. After Melvin’s neighbor, Simon Bishop, is brutally beaten and hospitalized, Melvin reluctantly agrees to care for Simon’s dog Verdell. Melvin forms an attachment to Verdell and, after a somewhat awkward road trip together, Melvin and Simon become good friends.


Up is the story of Carl Fredricksen, an old man who has lost his wife and is being forced into a retirement home due to urban development. In order to avoid being sent to a home, Carl attaches thousands of balloons to his house and escapes… only to realize that Russell, a young Wilderness Explorer has accidentally stowed away! On their way to Paradise Falls, Carl and Russell form an unusual bond, have an unforgettable adventure and become good friends.

The Shawshank Redemption

In the highly lauded film The Shawshank Redemption, Tim Robbins plays Andy, a banker convicted of killing his wife and her lover under circumstantial evidence. While in prison, Andy befriends Red (Morgan Freeman), who helps him receive contraband items. Over 20 years or so spent in prison, the men form a steadfast bond. After both men flee from the prison (Andy escapes and Red is paroled), they are able to escape to Mexico where they are reunited and start a new life together.

And now for our review!  The Big Year was a surprisingly fun film that I watched first with my husband and then with all my kids.  It is rated PG, mostly for language.  There were a few words I wouldn't have liked to have repeated in my home, but the overall merits of the film made up for it somewhat.  The storyline was compelling, and the characters likable.  I also appreciated that the film surrounded the lives of birders -- my family happens to watch birds, as well.  In addition to the beautiful scenery, redeeming character developments, and fun of the three main actors (Jack Black, Steve Martin, and Owen Wilson), we really enjoyed the humor and touching moments that appeared throughout the film.

I would recommend this film for older children (8 and up) with a watchful parent on hand to help with the language issues.  The messages that family is most important, however, shines through time and again -- making it easy to overlook a few rough edges from the characters.  (Be sure to watch the closing credits all the way through to see a stunning slide show of hundreds of birds!)

You can find the DVD starting tomorrow (Jan. 31) at retailers like!

Wanna Win?  We have one copy of The Big Year on DVD to give away.  To be entered to win, just tell us what your favorite bird is!  You have until February 11th to get your entries in! You may enter every day and we will pick one winner at random from all eligible entries. (Please answer the question for the first entry. Each entry after that can be "enter me.") Open to U.S. residents 18+.

Don't forget to enter our other blog giveaways while you're here!

*Screener was received to review.  Opinions are my own.