Hello, Hollyweird!! I’m Peg Allen Thortz, amateur ornithologist. To the unaware, an ornithologist is someone who studies birds. My post-retirement calling has been to study, categorize and advocate for all avian life in Morris County, New Jersey. I’m an honorary Audubon Ambassador and have been named “The Town’s Most Vocal Bird Lover, By Far” by the Madison Eagle in 3 below the fold articles. So you can imagine my disappointment this when I went to see Mockingjay Part 2 and, despite the title, there were almost no birds in the entire film!!

Acadian Flycatch

Hey Hollywood – why not include a beautiful Acadian Flycatcher or 10 in your next Fast and Fury movie? Image via The Audubon Society.

Earlier this month, while I was watching Neil Cavuto’s excellent program on Fox Business, I saw advertisements for Mockingjay. I thought “Finally, a film the bird community can truly enjoy.” Imagine my surprise when, after 2 hours I’d seen 3 birds? Maybe 4? And all the birds in Mockingjay are relegated to mere props. As always Hollywood dangled the promise of birds in front of eager viewers only to deliver violence, sex and, worst of all, people. I don’t like people.

belted kingfisher

He might look surly but a Belted Kingfisher doesn’t speed down your block or talk back to you at Shop-Rite. Image via The Audubon Society.

I suppose the film itself is fine. That blond actress from Silver Linings Playbook is charming enough. And there are two handsome boys who play brothers, I think. The little guy is very good, the taller boy is only so-so. But I couldn’t help but think “What if all these people were birds. What if, instead of watching the endless, meaningless dance of life projected on screen we could simply watch an eternal loop of graceful geese taking flight?”

I am so tired of paying $13.75 to see a film that seems to be about birds only to discover that it’s about disgusting humans. The last film I truly enjoyed was March of the Penguins – Peg got what Peg paid for. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for Hollywood to name movies in a way that lets me know what I’m about to see. Drive did it and people seemed to love that film. I personally threw up 3 times but at least there was a significant amount of driving involved.


barn owl

If Tootsie Pop commercials can feature a Barn Owl, why not a major motion picture?! Image via The Audubon Society.

When I called my kids to complain about Mockingjay they said, “Ma, you have to look up these movies before you go and see them. This is Birdman all over again.”

They are referencing the great Birdman debacle of 2014 when I thought Birdman would be about a quiet man with an interest in birds. Again, birds were very, very tangential to the plot of the film. “I would have liked it if there had been birds instead of people” I told my oldest, Kyle. “Mom,” he said, “I’m worried about you. Ever since you retired it seems like you’ve really retreated into this bird obsession. Sometimes I feel like you care more about the birds than you do about us. Your grandkids miss you. Please leave the birds and come back to us.”

In conclusion, I give Mockingjay two wings firmly down in pre-flight position. Watch at your own risk!

Jackie is a writer/actor whose work has appeared on SyFy.com, Fusion and Funny or Die. She performs every Saturday with GOAT at the UCB Theater in NY. Follow her on Twitter @ohhijackie or in real life if you’re a peeper ‘n’ a creeper.

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