2017 Calvin Awards: Best Overlooked Film

By David Mumpower

February 22, 2017

Roving '80s teenage gangs can occasionally be encountered in the wild...

Best Overlooked Film is one of the best categories that The Calvins offers each year. Our belief is that too many great movies fly under the radar as mediocre blockbusters soak up too many Cineplex playdates each weekend. We at BOP want to celebrate the small scale triumphs, so we’ve set up this category for the express purpose of highlighting the hidden gems you might have missed. Our criteria for the category are simple. We set a specific date (this year, it was February 2nd), and if a film hasn’t earned $25 million in domestic revenue by then, it’s eligible in the category.

Every year, a handful of great films earn two or three million too much, which is heartbreaking, but we’ve stood by the $25 million ceiling for more than a decade now. It’s unlikely to change. For that matter, a couple of the most diehard indie fans here constantly clamor that we drop the ceiling to $10 million, assuring that only the true indie films garner a nod. We’ve resisted that change thus far, but it’s probably closer to reality than raising the box office roof, so to speak. Now that you know the rules, here’s our list of the Best Overlooked Films of the year.

What do you if you’re a teen boy trying to win the attention of a teen girl? Before you answer, remember that it’s the 1980s. That tidbit should influence your answer. Yes, you now realize that you should form a band and film your own music video. That way, your wannabe model lady love will become world-famous, thereby assuring that she’ll only have eyes for you from now on. Okay, a couple of logic flaws exist in this line of thinking, but again, you’re a hormonal teen boy. If winning a woman’s heart were easy, high school dances wouldn’t be such sad affairs.


All of the above is a roundabout way of saying that BOP’s choice for Best Overlooked Film this year is Sing Street, the latest musically focused masterpiece from John Carney of Once/Begin Again fame. With Sing Street, he went back to his roots a bit as an Irish teenager during the 1980s. The output is a tender, awkward, and oddly bittersweet love story about two kids from sad upbringings who bond over a shared desire for celebrity…and belonging. Unlike Once and Begin Again, each of which ultimately ran away from a love story, Sing Street has only one distinct purpose from the start. A boy tries to win the heart of a girl. Along the way, he also wins the heart of BOP’s staff, which is why Sing Street earned easily the most first places and overall points in the category.

Best Overlooked Film was largely a two-film race this year. Sing Street and the film it edged for first place finished well ahead of the competition. The second place offering is also the only other entry with multiple first place selections, and that honor belongs to Moonlight, the Golden Globe winner for Best Drama. Our voters felt an emotional connection to Chiron, the son of a drug addict who finds himself taken under the wing of his mother’s dealer in an unusual turn of events. The dealer, Juan, becomes the father figure Chiron needs, yet he still finds himself walking a dark path in life. He’s broke, spiritually empty, and uncomfortable around other children.

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