2015 Calvin Awards: Best Overlooked Film

By David Mumpower

February 11, 2015

Super Bowl '72: The Train Game.

BOP likes to think of itself as your friend, loyal reader. Because of this, we take time out from our busy schedule of yelling at one another over incorrect pop culture opinions to suggest a batch of smaller films to you. We cull hundreds of movies that earn less than $25 million domestically, and then we identify the best 10 of the bunch. Our staff pays particular opinion to the best of the best, which is how exceptional films such as Once, Punch-Drunk Love, Super Troopers, Bandslam, Whale Rider, In the Loop, Shaun of the Dead, Primer, Fruitvale Station and Pan’s Labyrinth have all been gifted to you by us. You’re welcome, BOP World!

The vote for 2015 proved novel, as a heretofore unmentioned bylaw of BOP voting – yes, we have rules for The Calvins – triggered. Further details will be explained on Friday. For now, what matters is that we have a first in the category of Best Overlooked Film. A movie that was a day and date video on demand release has been selected by our staff as the Best Overlooked Film of the year.

Snowpiercer narrowly missed being one of our Top Film Industry Stories of the year, finishing 11th in a vote that recognizes the top ten. At that point, many of our writers appreciated the strength of its candidacy in this category. The South Korean production starring Captain America embraces the global nature of storytelling in the social media era. International influences abound. In this instance, the ideas of the videogame Bioshock and the Hugh Howey book franchise, Silo, are integrated into a tale of train dwellers who happen to be the last remnants of humanity.


The story is a standard tale of class struggle given a sublime spin thanks to the claustrophobic setting of a dystopian train. One’s status in society is dictated by how close they reside to the front cars where mankind’s overseer, Wilford, nurtures the dying flame of human existence. Chris Evans’ character, Curtis, lives at the back of the train, but he is upwardly (forwardly?) mobile. The idea of a societal revolution occurring within the confines of a single train is a masterstroke of creativity.

Snowpiercer never once shirks away from the horrors of the mortal coil, even when the viewer wishes that it did. Frankly, it is difficult to look at Chris Evans in the same light after Snowpiercer, and that alone makes his decision to take this role all the more impressive. Our staff is under no illusions that Snowpiercer is a perfect movie; however, it is the sort of daring project that Hollywood has actively avoided in recent years. As much as any of our selections in recent memory, this movie embodies the idea of Best Overlooked Film.

If you have followed The Calvins over the years, you should understand that the duo of Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo represents a kind of dream project for our staff. Add in the presence of John Carney, the director of Once, and the film is elevated to a once a generation type of production. To our utter delight, Begin Again did not break our hearts and in fact surpassed our lofty expectations for the project. Telling the story of a downtrodden music executive and a struggling, recently dumped musician, Begin Again once again encapsulates the impact that a pair of artists with unfortunate life experiences can have upon one another. Already lauded in the Best Scene category, this film proves to be a strong cross-category performer during the 2015 awards. Its second place status in Best Overlooked Film is the best Begin Again does in any race, though.

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