Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Big Year Comes Out October 14, 2011

My husband is an Assistant Director and worked a couple of days on The Big Year. The scenes shot in the desert in glamorous, Elko, Nevada! Starring Steve Martin, Owen Wilson, and Jack Black, The Big Year is a comedy based on the book by Mark Obmascik, a journalist with the Denver Post. It was adapted for the screen by  Howard Franklin who doesn't seem to have done much writing for the screen anyway in the past ten or so years which is a little worrying. But not to worry, the film was directed by David Frankel who knows his way around comedy. Besides earning an Emmy nomination for his work on Entourage, Frankel directed a fair number of Sex and the City episodes, The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me, along with Band of Brothers, which,. let's face it, wasn't funny at all!
Here's a little background on the book's story from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist. We'll have to see what the film has done with its source material. As I write this at 8pm on October 13th, presumably folks in  New York have already seen this in the increasingly popular 12:01am showings at the theatres.  If you've seen The Big Year, we'd love to read your comments!

From Publishers Weekly

In one of the wackiest competitions around, every year hundreds of obsessed bird watchers participate in a contest known as the North American Big Year. Hoping to be the one to spot the most species during the course of the year, each birder spends 365 days racing around the continental U.S. and Canada compiling lists of birds, all for the glory of being recognized by the American Birding Association as the Big Year birding champion of North America. In this entertaining book, Obmascik, a journalist with the Denver Post, tells the stories of the three top contenders in the 1998 American Big Year: a wisecracking industrial roofing contractor from New Jersey who aims to break his previous record and win for a second time; a suave corporate chief executive from Colorado; and a 225-pound nuclear power plant software engineer from Maryland. Obmascik bases his story on post-competition interviews but writes so well that it sounds as if he had been there every step of the way. In a freewheeling style that moves around as fast as his subjects, the author follows each of the three birding fanatics as they travel thousands of miles in search of such hard-to-find species as the crested myna, the pink-footed goose and the fork-tailed flycatcher, spending thousands of dollars and braving rain, sleet, snowstorms, swamps, deserts, mosquitoes and garbage dumps in their attempts to outdo each other. By not revealing the outcome until the end of the book, Obmascik keeps the reader guessing in this fun account of a whirlwind pursuit of birding fame.
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From Booklist

There is a well-known competition among birders called the Big Year, in which one abandons one's regular life for one whole year in order to see more species of birds in a geographic area than one's competitors. Environmental journalist Obmascik follows the 1998 Big Year's three main competitors--a New Jersey roofing contractor, a corporate executive, and a software engineer--as they crisscross the country in search of birds. Whether looking for flamingos in the Everglades, great grey owls in the frozen bogs near Duluth, or Asian rarities on the Aleutian island of Attu, these obsessed birders not only faced seasickness, insects, altitude sickness, and going into debt, they also faced each other. Their drive to win propelled all three past the rarified count of 700 species seen, and the winner saw an extraordinary 745 species--a number that will probably never be equaled. With a blend of humor and awe, Obmascik takes the reader into the heart of competitive birding, and in the process turns everyone into birders. Nancy Bent
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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