PGCMAs: Biggest Surprise and Most Underrated Film (2015)

Posted: February 21, 2016 by Daniel Simpson (PG Cooper) in PGCMAs

Written by Daniel “PG Cooper” Simpson

PGCMA 2015

*The above image represents 2014’s PGCMA Best Director and Best Picture winner; Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman.

Biggest Surprise

The Gift: The Gift’s trailer looked like a really standard Hollywood thriller and having just seen Cache for a film class, this also looked like a rip-off. As it turns out, the resulting film was a lot smarter and well-made than I expected.

Kingsman: I suppose I should have had faith in this given Matthew Vaughn has generally put out solid stuff, but man did the trailers look stupid. Turns out, this is actually a pretty fun film and while I don’t love it as much as a lot of people seem to, I definitely enjoyed myself.

The Night Before: Like the previous nominees, The Night Before suffered from a very lame trailer. On top of that, I was just disappointed Jonathan Levine was again working on studio comedies. I still think Levine could be doing something better, but this turned out to be a much funnier film than I thought it would be.

Spy: I didn’t even need a trailer; the thought of a Melissa McCarthy spy parody did not interest in me in the slightest. But the film got surprisingly decent reviews and I decided to check it out at home. It’s no comedy classic (and it still isn’t really for me), but Spy was more engaging and well-made than I expected. A decent watch on a rainy afternoon, which is way better than I thought it would be.

Unfriended: I laughed my ass off the first time I saw the trailer for Unfriended. A skype themed horror film? How fucking lame do you get? It was a little embarrassing when many months later I actually watched the film and found it to be pretty good.

And the winner is…





All of these films surprised me, but none of which shocked me to the degree Unfriended did. I cannot overstate how terrible I was expecting this to be, and the fact that the film turned out to not only not be terrible, but actually be pretty good still stuns me. This is actually a clever little horror film which handles its unique gimmick pretty well and uses it for a deliberate effect.

Most Under-Rated Film

Chappie: Chappie is not a good film. It’s a widely uneven mess which makes some severe missteps and never gels its ideas cohesively. And yet, I do feel like this film took some interesting choices that deserve some respect.

Crimson Peak: Crimson Peak’s script definitely has some holes, but god damn was it exciting to see immaculate sets and high production value in a modern horror film. In the era of found footage, that’s a welcome change of pace. The film looks great and is made with a degree of professionalism the genre doesn’t see much these days.

The Night Before: In terms of mainstream comedies, this year the discussion has centered almost entirely on Spy and Trainwreck. That’s a shame because I found this film to be far funnier than either. Granted, there isn’t much new to be found here, but as far as delivering lots of laughs, The Night Before delivers.

Spectre: Crucial to the lack of enthusiasm for factors is the fact that the film followed the monumental success of Skyfall. First off, while Skyfall is the better film, it isn’t some monumental work towering above the other Bond films. Besides, for whatever flaws Spectre has, the film maintains a fun adventurous tone and does a great job mixing the darkness of modern Bond with classic series tropes.

Tomorrowland: Like Chappie, this is another very flawed science-fiction film that isn’t really all that good, but has some interesting ideas. In short, we need more blockbusters that are original IPs and not sequels/remakes/reboots. Even though it doesn’t really work, I’d argue something like Tomorrowland is a lot more admirable than something like Jurassic World.

And the winner is…



Crimson Peak


This wasn’t exactly the greatest year for this category, as the criticisms that were levied at all of these films are valid. At the end of the day, I sort of just looked at which of these films enjoyed the most and the answer is clearly Crimson Peak. The film definitely has some serious problems, but also had a really strong atmosphere, strong performances, and some really great production value. It’s a film I really enjoyed watching in spite of itself and the mass indifference is a bit baffling to me. If Guillermo del Toro films like Pacific Rim can have die-hard fans in spite of severe writing problems, I don’t see why this was ignored.

  1. Damien Riley says:

    I didn’t like the Gift. I actually didn’t finish it on purpose. Are the well made, non cliche parts toward the end? I like your other points you make here. Nice post.

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