2015 Calvin Awards: Best Scene

By David Mumpower

February 10, 2015

He can feel it coming in the air tonight.

In this space last year, I mentioned the tight race that occurred in 2013 wherein a single ballot differentiated 10th place (and a selection) from 21st place. 2014 witnessed similar behavior with the gap between 10th and 20th place once again minuscule. Over the last 12 months, the choices were much clearer in the eyes of our voters. We as a group gravitated toward 19 scenes, 10 of which were clear favorites. On the whole, this year’s nominations were the easiest choices we’ve had in years.

While there was a consensus in group think about the top choices, the battle for number one was much more contentious than last year, when Gravity’s opening scene almost doubled the already legendary Let It Go sequence from Frozen. The battle for first place this year was hotly contested until the final few votes, when Whiplash pulled ahead of its two chief competitors. Ergo, the Final Drum Solo from Whiplash is BOP’s choice as Best Scene of the year.

“I know it was you.” The driving story of Whiplash involves a driven music teacher named Terrence Fletcher who sees something in the talented but inexperienced Andrew Neiman. The two of them engage in a tumultuous relationship wherein Fletcher attempts to motivate Neiman to be his best. Suffice to say that Fletcher is an unapologetic task master whose behavior eventually alienates the dispirited teen.


By the end of the film, their association is adversarial, yet they agree to perform together in a live show outside the school sanctioned environment. Without spoiling what transpires, the tempestuous nature of their dynamic is on full display for strangers as their battle of wills reaches endgame. There are two amazing moments during this final performance that embody the underlying story of the entire film, each of which is plausible as well as emotionally resonant. Whiplash features one of the best denouements of the 2000s, somehow crafting a satisfactory resolution to a seemingly impossible schism. While the choice was not easy, our staff eventually reached a consensus that the Final Drum Solo is the Best Scene of the year.

“Prison break? That's illegal, you know?” The leader from early in the voting process until the final week is forced to settle for second place. The demonstration of Quicksilver’s mutant ability set to the music of Time in a Bottle is our choice for penultimate scene of the year. Introduced as a disaffected teen recruited by Wolverine and Magneto, Quicksilver seems like little more than a brash teen right up until gunfire breaks out at a Trask facility. Quicksilver leaps into action, eventually altering the course of bullets that would otherwise strafe Charles Xavier.

Of course, time moves more slowly for the speedy teen, so he also engages in a few extracurricular activities. Before the bullet can find its mark, Quicksilver has time to sample some coffee, steal a dude’s hat and force a security guard to punch himself in the jaw. He is a rebellious teen in love with his own abilities, after all. While Disney has cornered the market on Marvel characters done right, X-Men’s implementation of Quicksilver is all but certain to supersede anything Joss Whedon does with the character in the upcoming The Avengers: Age of Ultron. And if you know anything about this site, praising something as better than Whedon is basically the highest compliment we can give.

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