2018 Calvin Awards: Best Scene
By David Mumpower
February 27, 2018
I’m not supposed to have favorites among the categories of The Calvins, but I still do. Best Scene aptly encapsulates who BOP’s writers are and what we believe. It compartmentalizes films into a series of segments, reducing them back to the storyboard from whence they came. And these special pieces of films are oftentimes what people remember the most when they reflect on cinema. They’re the tasty bites we find most satisfying. Here are BOP’s favorites for the past year.
Our staff’s choice for Best Scene of the year is from Wonder Woman. The kickass superheroine finally had her origin story told in a major motion picture. Much of it was set during World War I, when military groups would quarrel over parcels of land known as No Man’s Land. When Diana Prince faces one of these areas for the first time, we learn about her character.
The titular warrior princess puts on her bracers, grabs her shield and goes to work. Ms. Prince isn’t the kind of woman who will sit idly by while displaced residents suffer in the face of an occupying force. She charges across neutral territory, deflecting bullets and drawing fire to protect others. Then, with a mighty leap, she invades the current fortress of the invaders, giving them a fitting dose of their own medicine.
In these moments, Wonder Woman is truly wondrous. She’s virtuous at a time when everyone else is willing to look the other way. Prince’s selfless act saves scores of people, and she manages to wreck about 75 soldiers in the process. It’s more than just an action scene in a superhero movie. It’s a demonstration of bravery in an age of hopelessness. As America faces repeated issues in dealing with gun violence, this sort of resolve inspires. The scene is as timely as it is thrilling to watch, and it is the best of the year. PS: It’s pretty badass when she knocks off the top of a clock tower.
What do you say when your child has their heart broken for the first time? If you’re Mr. Perlman, the wise and well-educated father in Call Me by Your Name, you demonstrate kindness and understanding. You reveal secrets from your past, ones you’ve kept private even from your wife. You do whatever you can to make your son, Elio, know that you love and support him in all his relationships.
We’ve reached a tipping point in society in recent years. The outdated mores pushed down our throats by the ignorant are no longer in vogue. Today, we live in an age with greater tolerance and emotional support. No, we’re not quite there yet, but we’re improving every generation. Mr. Perlman is the perfect character to demonstrate the right way to address your child’s sexuality, which is to treat it like the non-issue it is. All that matters to him is that his boy stop hurting, which is the purest definition of prized parenting.
This scene is our second favorite of the year, and I’d be remiss if I failed to note that it received easily the most first place votes. Had it garnered better down ballot support, it would have become the winner in the category. Wonder Woman and Call Me by Your Name received almost exactly half of the first place votes in Best Scene. These are our staff’s co-favorites.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of the most debated films of the past year. Some people love it, while others deem it Prequel-esque in quality. Well, BOP’s staff has a clear consensus on our opinion of it, as two scenes earn placement on our list. Third place goes to the Hyperspace sequence, the one where a brave pilot uses the space-jump technology in an unusual way. This daring move allows her to destroy unsuspecting enemy vessels, and that’s about all I can say about it without spoiling anything.
Our fourth favorite scene of the year is from Baby Driver. It’s the “Neat Neat Neat” heist. Baby doesn’t like going anywhere without musical accompaniment, and The Damned are his chosen band for this particular robbery. Alas, things go awry when a bystander turns out to be a superhero in training, doing everything he can to prevent the bad guys from getting away. And that statement explains why this scene is so brilliant. Viewers watch it hoping that felons escape justice, thereby rooting against the valorous man trying to do the right thing. It’s an immersive chase scene with a subversive message that we love.
Do you remember that school dance when you met the parent(s) of your date beforehand? Your hands were sweating, and you felt one inch tall as they glared at you, openly daring you to make a move on their child. Well, a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has that kind of date in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter Parker simply wants to blow off some steam and engage in a bit of romance with his school crush. The problem is that he realizes during the conversation that her dad…isn’t good. It’s a tense reveal that plays off of all the established norms in cinematic teen romance. The whole thing is brilliant and our choice as fifth best scene of the year.
Sixth and seventh place go to a mind-fuck and a claustrophobic rumble. The mind-fuck is the Sunken Place reveal in Get Out, the moment when the owners of the home reveal their plan for their invited guest. Suffice to say that our hero doesn’t relish in his visit to the Sunken Place.
Seventh place goes to the stairway fight in Atomic Blonde, the one where our heroine fights bad guys so determined to kill her that one of them gets shot in the stomach then punched in the stomach in roughly the same place. Does this deter him in any way? Of course not! He’s a Berlin Wall German or Russian or something. Those guys are impervious to everything but savage beatings from Atomic Blondes.
Our final entries this year are a second scene from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, a tender one from Coco, and a violent one from Wind River. The Star Wars moment is the showdown in Snoke’s Throne Room wherein our heroes face off against shiny guards. The lovely Coco moment occurs when Miguel sings to Coco. And the Wind River selection is the bloody drill site showdown where, in the immortal words of Drowning Pool, the bodies hit the floor.
Several of our near-misses in the category are from comic book movies. Wonder Woman nearly had a second selection for one of its other battle scenes, Thor: Ragnarok’s bridge fight and Hulk/Thor showdown were popular, Logan’s forest fight thrilled us, and the face-off between John Wick and Cassian got a lot of love…and don’t try telling me John Wick isn’t a comic book franchise. We also loved the intro in Molly’s Game. Overall, we favored comic book movies and other franchise action sequences this year, though. Out of the top 15 vote getters, nine fell into this category, arguably ten if we evaluate Atomic Blonde that way.
2018 Calvin Awards
Best Overlooked Film
Best Supporting Actor
Best Supporting Actress
Best TV Show
Best Use of Music
|| No Man's Land
|| Father's advice to Elio
||Call Me By Your Name
||Star Wars: The Last Jedi
|| "Neat Neat Neat" Heist
|| Toomes' pre-dance speech to Peter
|| Now You're in the Sunken Place
|| Stairway fight
|| Snoke's Throne Room Fight
||Star Wars: The Last Jedi
|| Miguel sings to Coco
|| Drill site shootout