Lite’s Review Room: Weekend Movies – ‘The Big Year’ & ‘Footloose’

The weekend is approaching ever faster as the days get shorter heading into the middle of October.  We’re not complaining at all as the weekend comes so do the new movies.  Lite’s Review Room this week has 3 movies, two you’ve heard of before, in ‘Footloose’ and ‘The Thing’, and one you’ve probably never knew was based on an actual event, ‘The Big Year’.

Our Queen of the Silver Screen, Julie Fisk, headed out earlier this week to take in the new Steve Martin, Jack Black, Owen Wilson movie.

The Big Year:

The Big Year stars Jack Black, Steve Martin & Owen Wilson as professional bird-watchers, competing in a year-long bird watching competition. The Big Year refers to a real life competition, where bird watchers try to spot, or at least HEAR as many birds as possible in one year. It also refers to the best-selling book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature & Fowl” by Mike Obmascik, which chronicles the adventures of some real-life birders, as they’re called. Don’t laugh, this is a real thing and that’s essentially what saves this movie.

[photogallerylink id=58650 align=left]Jack Black & Steve Martin, who so often play goofball caricatures, are actually playing real men. It’s a welcome change. Even though the birding idea seems ripe for a Christopher Guest Mockumentary, the birders themselves and the North American Big Year competition are never ridiculed or laughed at.

In fact The Big Year is a fun movie, but it isn’t outright funny, which is refreshing. The characters are funny in the way that real people are funny. They don’t have crisp dialogues crafted by teams of comedy writers, which lends authenticity to the film. Bird fans will notice an absence of actual BIRDS, though the nature footage they do use is stunning, especially a segment about the mating rituals of bald eagles.

I didn’t love this movie, but it surprised me enough to keep me interested all the way through, and that’s why I’m giving The Big Year a B. Because it’s not as much about watching birds as it is about the journeys we take to find happiness, when everything we need is usually right in your own backyard. You just need the right binoculars.


Hollywood has started running out of scripts.  We’re sure of it.  They’ve gone from remaking bad movies that didn’t work out the first time or people have totally forgotten about (3:10 to Yuma, Assault on Precinct 13, Dawn of the Dead) and now they are starting to remake movies that were hits years ago (Footloose, Halloween, The Karate Kid).

[photogallerylink id=58669 align=right]Footloose stars Julianne Hough, Kenny Wormald, & Dennis Quaid in the exact same story as we saw Kevin Bacon Lori Singer and John Lithgow play in 1984.  Of course this one is modernized, there is a lot more break dancing and the clothes have gotten a little smaller.  In essence it’s the same movie 27 years later.  We’re not sure if this movie will really grab today’s youth as the original did us, but that is what the studio is hoping.

If you haven’t seen ‘Footloose’ before we say watch them both.  If you’re like us and cherish the first one than maybe we’ll catch this one on FX in six months.

We will say, they remake of the song by the same name from Blake Shelton is quite good.

The Thing:

Not as much a re-make as the original as this one is supposed to be a “prequel”.  It is modern,but the story looks at the time before the original took place.  [photogallerylink id=58628 align=left]If that makes sense.  It does stand alone without having to see the original so that has it going for it.  The gore is somewhat minimal but the terror is where it gets you.  Holding you to the edge of your seat as the alien being that can take the form of it’s victims terrorizes a research group in Antarctica.

Also in theaters: (Last Week’s Gross)





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