Five Best & Worst Sandra Bullock Films
As an actress on stage and on film, she has had a great deal of commercial hits ... and flops! Here is a list of the top five and the worst five Sandra Bullock movies in no particular order.
Most people remember this 1994 action film starring Bullock and heartthrob Keanu Reeves. It grossed $350 million worldwide and was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning two of them. Reeves is a SWAT team explosive expert named Jack Traven who has to save a bus of passengers from a crazy former bomb specialist named Howard Payne (Dennis Hopper). Payne rigged the bus to explode if it goes under 50 mph and will also set the bomb off himself if anyone tries to escape. Bullock played Annie Porter, who is a passenger on the bus and becomes the driver as they navigate around the city trying to keep the bus over 50 mph. Bullock represents the average audience member as a normal woman just taking the bus home, and then she displays a spine of steel once lives are at stake. She is a heroine to be proud of and a full match for the star power of Reeves.
Who would have thought that this comedy would take the box office by storm and earn Bullock a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical? Well, whatever the expectations were this movie was a charming if fluffy story about Gracie Hart, an FBI agent who is not what one would call Beauty Queen material. Yet she has to become just that in order to go undercover and protect the Miss United States contestants when a serial bomber threatens their lives. Bullock realistically portrays a woman with little interest in physical beauty who is forced to recognize her own visual potential when made over. She also learns to respect the women in these pageants as more than just pretty faces without any brains attached. Bullock proves herself to be a great comedienne and a lovely leading lady.
The critics were not huge fans of this 1995 drama starring Bullock, Jeremy Northam, and Dennis Miller, but the audiences disagreed and it did well in the theaters. Bullock plays Angela Bennett, a computer beta tester who works constantly and is more on the quiet, introverted side. When her friend Dale (Miller) sends her a disk with a virus, she finds herself the victim of a huge cyber-terrorism group and the target to be taken out by a man who first seduces her named Jack (Northam). They destroy her identity and list her as a convicted felon so she has to keep on the run. Bullock shone in this movie as a powerful and intelligent female action lead, not to mention one bad ass woman hacker!
A Time To Kill
Based off one of John Grisham's famous legal thrillers, "A Time To Kill" is set in Mississippi and focuses on racial relations, prejudices, and what justice means to different people. A little black girl is raped by two white men and her father Carl Lee Hailey (Samuel L. Jackson) believes that the court will not give justice to her because of her race. He murders both rapists and goes to trial with Jack Brigance (Matthew McConaughey) as his defense lawyer. Kevin Spacey, Donald Sutherland, and Chris Cooper star as well as Bullock. She plays Ellen Roark, a law student who helps McConaughey on the defense. Fiery, idealistic, and strong willed, Bullock shines as Roark who makes us love her even if she is the Other Woman. This tense and questionable story makes the audience think, and Bullock natural charisma makes it easy once again for viewers to connect with her.
Not the best known of her movies, "28 Days" is a drama about a columnist named Gwen Cummings who is an alcoholic and ruins her sister's wedding by getting into a drunk car accident. She is given the choice of going to jail or rehab. She chooses the latter but does not take it seriously. Due to the other suffering patients around her, played beautifully by Azura Skye, Viggo Mortensen, and Alan Tudyk among others, Gwen starts to open her eyes to her addiction and has to choose what she wants her life to be. Other notable stars are Dominic West, Elizabeth Perkins, and Steve Buscemi. This sometimes funny but generally heartbreaking film goes into depth about alcoholism and the rehab process, and Bullock does an absolutely stunning job as a woman the audience can walk beside on her road to recovery. She is sarcastic, difficult, angry, cruel, and absolutely lovable all at once.
Speed 2: Cruise Control
Sequels are generally a bad idea, and Bullock can now be certain of that due to this film and the one listed below. It was nominated for 8 Golden Raspberry Awards - the Awards that celebrate the worst movies and actors of the year. Bullock stars again as Annie Porter and she has a new beau, Alex Shaw (Jason Patric). Annie is not pleased that Alex is a police officer, since she's been there, done that with Keanu Reeves ... so has all of the audience! They go on a cruise and Willem Dafoe is a villain who intends to takeover the boat and hijack diamonds on board. It lacked any real tension or drama, and the 'romance' between the two main characters was wooden. Oh look, Speed 2 is on. Perfect time to take a nap. Sorry, Sandra.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous
The name itself should be a tip off that this was a misstep, although Bullock's intentions for doing the movie was better than one would think. She wanted it to be a buddy cop comedy, since the romantic element was taken out from the first movie, and she thought women should not always have to be in a love story. This is true ... if the story is funny, witty, and worth watching. This is not the case with the sequel to the hit "Miss Congeniality" (see above). Perhaps it is because Regina King lacked the right chemistry with Bullock, or that most of the excellent supporting cast were no where to be seen, but it simply was a flop. It still did manage to do well enough money wise, thanks to the popularity of the first one. The story is about Gracie Hart who is now the popular face of the FBI and her friend Cheryl, a.k.a. Miss United States, is kidnapped along with two others. She has to go save them with help from King and ... yeah, nothing more to say.
Two Weeks Notice
One would think this movie might be more than a less-than-average comedy with two charming stars, Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock, but it simply never really delivered. Sure, Grant is his usual smart mouthed self and Bullock is sweet and relatable, but it lacks in any real connection and is full of contrivances and plot devices. Romantic comedies are often criticized for just those things, but both of these actors have been in smarter and better written versions, so this was a true disappointment. Bullock is Lucy Kelson, an activist with a law degree who agrees to be the assistant of multi-millionaire George Wade (Grant.) He is apathetic and immature, she is serious and dreary, ha ha, what an odd couple, right? Riiiight? Parts of this movie that work are entirely due to the actors, but it really was just a paint-by-the-numbers kind of story.
The Lake House
"The Lake House" requires its viewers to simply suspend their disbelief when it comes to time travel, and it might have been possible if the timeline itself was not so full of paradoxes and confusion. Time travel has been done before and in a concise, clear way ... it felt like this film wanted to just use the time jump as something interesting and did not commit to it. So Bullock plays Kate Forster, a doctor moving out of Illinois, and she leaves a note to the next tenant to forward her mail. Keanu Reeves is Alex Wyler, an architect who gets the letter and sends a confused one back because no one has lived in the house before him. It turns out he is in 2004, but she is in 2006, two full years apart. They start to send letters and get to know one another and blah blah blah. There are a few reasons why this movie did not fully work, one of them being the lack of real depth involving this strange connection between them, but one of the major ones could be that the two actors are only in the same place for five or so minutes. It worked before in "Sleepless in Seattle," but this disjointed story just could not bring out the same amount of charm.
Two If By Sea
"Two If By Sea?" Haven't heard of it? Neither have a lot of people. This comedy and romance also has a little "Bonnie and Clyde" thrown in as Bullock and Denis Leary star as Roz and Frank, a long term couple who go to do that one last big job as thieves. They steal a valuable painting that not only the owners want back ... but the FBI too! It has a few good one-liners and amusing arguments between the two leads, but neither Leary or Bullock can sell their characters or any real chemistry between them. Leary as a romantic lead? That feels like an oxymoron. Their accents are grating, the performances are lacking, and it barely has a plot to remember. Stick this on the secret guilty pleasure list if it's on TV.
What do you think are Sandra's best and worst films? Make a comment!
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Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer
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