Sunday, July 7, 2013

Top 10 Films: Sandra Bullock

Sandra Bullock has been one of the most likeable and bankable actresses for over 20 years now. 2013 is yet another big year for her. The Heat has already been a big hit, making back its budget in a week while The Heat 2 sequel is already in the works. As I expected months ago, its on pace to be the highest grossing comedy film of 2013. That spot is currently held by Identity Thief, another film starring Bullock's Heat co-star Melissa McCarthy. Bullock & McCarthy clearly own 2013. Her next movieGravity, hits theaters on October 4, 2013. Its generating some early Oscar buzz, and will open the Venice Film Festival in August, the first 3D film to do so. Here are Bullock's top 10 films. Well, until Gravity premieres, which should enter any Top 10 list for her.

1. Speed (1994) - The film that launched her career into overdrive. Keanu Reeves became America's stoner action hero, while Bullock became "America's sweetheart", and a badass one at that. Speed blends everything we love about summer action movies. The movie never stops packing thrills and twists, and manages to get you to care about the characters at the same time, where some action/thriller movies can fail. For my money, Speed is one of the best "edge-of-your-seat" thrillers of all time. Bullock charms throughout the film, and her character delivers some laughs in an otherwise dire situation.

2. The Blind Side (2009) - A heartwarming sports movie is something we've seen often. What sets this one apart from the pack is Bullock, who expertly brings Leigh Anne Tuohy to life in a sassy and commanding way. She brings the laughs and draws you into the movie like no one else can as she struts around with quick wit and awesome comebacks. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in this role, and rightfully so.

3. While You Were Sleeping (1995) - This is one of three Bullock films that might be considered "chick flicks" under normal circumstances, yet everyone can enjoy them (the other two being Miss Congeniality & The Proposal). All guys should be thankful for these three movies which are not only tolerable, but interesting and funny. They make for a date night movie that keeps all parties happy. While You Were Sleeping is the best of the three, as Bullock takes that charm from Speed and turns it up a notch. Its because of this charm that the film doesn't suffer from being too sappy like many romantic comedies can.

4. The Heat (2013) - The Heat is a typical buddy cop film, yet Bullock & McCarthy have excellent chemistry that comes across well on screen, which sets the film apart. You can tell that they had a blast while filming it, and the supporting cast is excellent as well. We also get to see Bullock in an R-rated comedy for the first time, which is a nice bonus.

5. Crash (2005) - Sometimes movies with a large ensemble cast can be a mess (ahem, New Year's Eve). Crash manages to do a fine job with many different characters though. Bullock shows that she doesn't need to be funny or charming all the time. Her character is fairly cold and angry in the beginning of the movie, doing a fine job in one of her more dramatic roles to date.

6. Miss Congeniality (2000) - Before The Heat, Bullock starred as an FBI agent in this action-comedy that became one of the biggest hits of 2000/2001. A movie about a beauty pageant would normally draw yawns, but Miss Congeniality makes it work by both poking fun at the idea of a beauty pageant as well as humanizing the contestants. It packs a punch too. Just remember to SING.

7. Infamous (2007) - One of two films to be released around the same time about Truman Capote during his research and writing of the novel In Cold Blood. Even though Capote, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman, got most of the attention, Infamous is the slightly better film. That is mainly thanks to a deeper look into Capote's life. Infamous goes into his Manhattan society friendships which give it a little something extra. Bullock plays Harper Lee, and manages to shine well next to Toby Jones (who does a wonderful job as Truman Capote). Daniel Craig, Lee Pace, Sigourney Weaver, Jeff Daniels & Gwyneth Paltrow all appear as well.

8. The Proposal (2009) - Another romantic comedy that can be enjoyed by all, since much like While You Were Sleeping, it is not at all sappy. They lean more towards comedy than romance, and of course Bullock knows how to make a romantic comedy interesting. Betty White steals the show of course, as this movie launched yet another chapter in her long career. Much like The Heat, its a movie where the chemistry between the cast oozes off the screen. Just watch White & Bullock do their Native American dance to the tune of "Get Low" by Lil Jon and try not to laugh.

9. The Net (1995) - The Net was one of the first cyber thrillers to deal with cyber terror, identity theft and the Internet. Without Bullock the movie may have seemed more ridiculous, but she manages to make you care about the character. While high-tech at the time, its all pretty dated now, with its use of floppy discs and dial-up Internet. Yet it still manages to be an interesting look at the early days of the web.

10. A Time To Kill (1996) - Ten movies have been released that are based on John Grisham novels, and A Time To Kill is the best of the bunch. It can sometimes drag in parts, but ultimately is entertaining and a solid adaptation. Some of the scenes that never drag are the ones with Bullock.

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