Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
Someone has made a straight-to-DVD movie about the search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. An independent film, a mockumentary billed as a “super-comedy,” it’s entitled “Woodpecker.” Netflix told me there was a long wait. The film arrived two days after I ordered it. I suspect that other would-be viewers watched five minutes of it, then jammed the DVD into the mailing sleeve and raced to the post office. The film isn’t funny. It’s pathetic. It lives on every mossy cliché you’ve ever heard about birders. The two main characters (in every nuance of the word) reminded me of Silent Bob and Jay, except they’re in a canoe, not a convenience store, and they're not stoned (well, maybe). I did laugh when the hero hid in a hollow tree and couldn’t get out. Unfortunately, he did.
The rumor about a birding movie entitled "The Big Year" is true. Casting is underway. The book, about three men who devoted a year of their lives to seeking a North American Big Year record, was lousy, over-written and under-researched. We'll have to see if Hollywood does any better with the movie. Below is comment from Cinema Blend writer Doug Norrie (http://www.cinemablend.com/new/Frankel-Will-Start-Filiming).
"A movie about birds that doesn’t have the winged assassins killing everything in some quaint small town? You got it. According to Production Weekly , the film version of The Big Year is set to start in May, with David Frankel (Marley and Me ) at the helm. The Big Year, by Mark Obmascik, is the story of bird watching. But not just any bird watching; fanatical guys who will stop at nothing to catch a glimpse of some of the rarest birds in North America. Yes, it’s a comedy.
"Some big names are linked with the story of three men who brave any element to see the most birds in the shortest amount of time. Dustin Hoffman, Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and producer Ben Stiller are all going to strap on the binoculars, fill up the fanny packs, and take us ornithological tour-de-force (have those words ever been muttered before?) in the quest to, wait for it, look at a ton of birds. Who would have thought this much star power would get attached to something so seemingly boring? The mundane theme may produce the most laughs."
Another source says Dustin Hoffman is out and Steve Martin is in. Norrie has it wrong about most birds in shortest time, unless the movie has changed the rules. The intent of a Big Year is to see as many bird species, both rare and common, as possible in one year. Since birding movies are very few and very far between (like never?), it's gotta be fun one way or another. First, though, someone should take Norrie birding, say to the island of Attu at the end of Alaska's Aleutian Islands, one of the places the three heroes went. Attu is hardly mundane, and it ain't boring.
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