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Loving Sandra Bullock

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Mark Kermode | 10:02 UK time, Friday, 24 July 2009

She's funny, she's gorgeous, it's impossible to not love her and yet she makes rotten film after rotten film after rotten film. What is her secret? I think I know.

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  • Comment number 1.

    ... thanks you've done it again! Taken something i've been thinking for the last 10 years and you made a blog about it! Now everyone will think i got my opinion about sandra from you..


    but in all seriousness, i've loved sandra since Demolition Man. Speed was great and i really thought she had what it took. But then the romantic comedies kept coming and the end was in sight.

    with kind regards,


  • Comment number 2.

    I think because she was so great in Crash, which I thought was the best performance in that film, I thought she was truly brilliant. She is automatically forgiven for any bad films she does, and when a new film like the Proposal or Miss Congeniality 2 comes out I just remember the great work like Crash, Speed and her terrific performance in Infamous and I forgive her for all the terrible romantic comedies that she does, because unlike Adam Sandler she does dumb brain comedies but she has more than one great performance in her back catalog for her to be forgiven. So I think it has less to do with taking her clothes off and more to do with making bad choices, and possibly for money.

  • Comment number 3.

    So, so right. I love Sandra but I don't love her movies. HELP!

  • Comment number 4.

    I've thought for years someone needs to set up the CFDRSB the Campaign to Find Decent Roles for Sandra Bullock because she certainly doesn't seem to be able to do it herself.

  • Comment number 5.

    Stupid comment system ate my em dashes.

  • Comment number 6.

    I like The Net.

  • Comment number 7.

    I have a stock answer for any actor struggling to find good roles: Shakespeare! If they ever remake "Julius Caesar", I think Sandra would make a great Portia. I thought Lady Macbeth, but there are too many Macbeths out there already, so what about Queen Hermione in "The Winter's Tale"?

    Failing that, just get Sandra out of Hollywood to do something for Sundance, or at least an "outsider" director like Soderbergh, like Julia Roberts managed. That said, I still like the first Miss Congeniality; watched it a few months ago, and it's hardly dated.

  • Comment number 8.

    Nail on the head! Though I also think that having Sandra in a bad film still makes it watchable, in the fact that her performance is always really good. She does do goofy/silly/clumsy comedy well, hence probably getting all these roles.

    But, at the end of the day, no matter how bad these movies are, she's laughing all the way to the bank, and we all forgive her as she's a great actress who looks fab. Nice work if you can get it :-)

  • Comment number 9.

    Is it a curse to (appear to be) likeable & engaging?

    She's great in Demolition Man (itself a great film), fine in Speed, Miss Congeniality is fine for what it is (sequel's atrocious, mind). As for the rest . . . you can tell the whole plot by the poster, can't you? Ditto for most of her films.

    Crash apparently proved (I've not seen it, so I'm going on the critical opinion here) that she can do serious. So where should she go? The Soderbergh / Roberts comparison is a good one (though I think that Julia's never bettered Erin Brockovich). Maybe Sandra should hook up with Micheal Mann? He's an auteur that can get a serious performance out of her, and maybe she could lead him to less male oriented territory?

  • Comment number 10.

    so true mark, she's lovely but makes terrible films. Last film i saw her in was 'while you were sleeping'such an underated film, if it was made in Europe, it would be a masterpiece.

    By the way, 'Crash' is overated nonsense and a rip-off from 'magnolia'

  • Comment number 11.

    What about A Time to Kill?

    Not only a career high point for Sandra Bullock but also Mark's favorite Matthew McConaughey.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thing is, she's just got one of them faces that i presume put a lot of directors, producers off when maybe considering her for more meaty roles. A "TV face" Mark might call it i guess.

  • Comment number 13.

    She seems to be a very reserved media presence. To my limited knowledge, she hasn't released a pop single, fashion range or series of whingeing magazine interviews about love and men. It seems the only place to go see the girl we fell for in Speed (oh alright, and Demolition Man) is in her slew of terrible movies. She seems to be the poor man's Julianne Moore, only with awful taste in scripts. Being a poor man, I say yes please!

    Alternatively, on the subject of her kit-sheddage, that she has never gone full-frontal on screen maybe keeps her female fans feeling comfortable and her male fans titillated and teased. A little damning of the male gender, perhaps, but sometimes it's a fair cop.

    (I am aware of 'Fire on the Amazon' and refuse to count it)

  • Comment number 14.

    Maybe she's as good at choosing film scripts as she is at choosing a husband.

  • Comment number 15.

    To me, Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves and Matthew McConaughey have a very similar appeal to one another. They all have such easy-going personas on and off-screen, and although they are often cast into some super cliched or trite films, you get the feeling that they don't care that much about it. They pick up the paycheck and move on with what they want to do with their lives, while everybody else watches because they enjoy their on-screen presence doing their schtick.

    What I like about them is that they are without pretense, and that brings a remarkable honesty about it that I can't help but find charming. What they're doing is completely acceptable, in my book.

  • Comment number 16.

    Kermode Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo :) I feel the same way about Sandra Bullock. I even liked the Lake House despite Keanununu's lamentably laminate performance. I'd be interested to see if women feel the same way because I always put it down to the fact I fancied her...

  • Comment number 17.

    anyone with a bigger hit/miss ratio than sandra?

    Is it because there is an appalling dearth of interesting female roles other than rom-com ditzy, cuddly, sexy but not sexual? It strikes me that she dosent want to do anything different or maybe dosent feel confident enough to play other than type?

    maybe it's just that she makes a bad film so much better that everyone from the studio execs to us the lowly film-going public like her so much although, i admit, for rather different reasons!

  • Comment number 18.

    There you go, Dr K, no need to be ashamed about being a Sandra B. fan; there are many of us about. She has the ability to make a bad film look good. She is great at comedy, a good sense of timing and is prepared to look stupid. Take Miss Congeniality as an example. This is not exactly a great comedy film but Sandra B is terrific in this film and works so well alongside Michael Caine. Finger's crossed that one day she will get her "Driving Miss Daisy".

  • Comment number 19.

    I think the fact that no-one has slated her on this posting thus far speaks volumes . . . maybe she just suffers from 'script-blindness'.

    Regarding a worse film hit rate, could I suggest Paris Hilton? Not as many, perhaps, but ALL turkeys, and crucially, lacking the self awareness to recognise it.

    Also, crucially, it appears she loves Top Gear & wants to be on it!

  • Comment number 20.

    Sandra, that is, not (thank the heavens!)Hilton

  • Comment number 21.

    Know what you mean Mark, Sandra is bit of a guilty pleasure. I quite liked *cough* Miss Congeniality.
    I'll get me coat.

  • Comment number 22.

    I agree with you completely. A few months back I came across Ms. Bullock on TV in the film 28 Days, where she plays a screwed up starlet overcoming her drug addiction and relationship issues. The film was just the usual mishmash of every AA drama you've ever seen, only more so--the characters around her are all obvious types, she comes to realize her boyfriend is a self-involved jerk and falls for the down-to-earth-recovering-alcoholic-ex-jock-supermodel Vigo Mortgensen--and yet Bullock somehow managed to give a real performance, didn't short change the audience. She was funny, dramatic, sharp, radiant; at times I almost thought there was something real at stake. She has not only what they used to call "star presence", a fundamental ability to connect with the camera in a vivid way, but she also has genuine acting ability, though not enough to make believe 28 Days was anything other than a piece of feel-good chick-dreck. And it really does drive you crazy, because you want to know why she's stuffing all this sizzle, talent and charisma into such dessicated material. Surely, there's more to it than her just wanting to show off that she's still sexy. Maybe she's got a bunch of poor sick relatives in the family with, on top of that, several houses she's paying for that need repair (wasn't that always Michael Caine's excuse?) That sort of thing could make any girl desperate to cash a paycheck.

    By the way, I saw The Hangover, and I'm with you, it was dreadful film. No matter what differences we have, you're dependable dislike of this terrible unfunny spate of guy-comedies will always bring us together; as well as your contempt for the dreadful Clive Owen picture Closer.

  • Comment number 23.

    I agree

    but in her defence, Bullock is now mid 40s, and many actresses of a similar age (Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sharon Stone most notably) have gone on record to say that the movie offers really decline when a woman hits her forties. In all honesty, she may be continually doing mediocre romantic comedies/dramas, because that's the bulk of what's being offered to her.

    Forties is a difficult time for an actress in Hollywood. The studios consider you too old for the 'sexy babe' roles (think Megan Fox, Jessica Alba, Angelina Jolie), but too young for the 'senior lady with gravitas' roles (think Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Judy Dench). So you've really just got to tread water and take what you can get.

  • Comment number 24.

    "I had a gun pointed in my face... and it was my fault because I knew it was gonna happen!"

    Tell me about it.

    My favourite Sandra Bullock performance that I'll have to wait another 10 years for her to match.

  • Comment number 25.


    This is off topic but you NEED to read this:

  • Comment number 26.

    She makes films that a cirtain type of audience wants to see. The don't want anything safisticated or good. The just want something brain dead and fun and Sandra is the queen of braindead, fun films for girls.

  • Comment number 27.

    Forces of Nature was a fun little movie (despite Affleck) and I remember enjoying that odd film she did with Denis Leary-'Two if by Sea' I think I saw it as before the name got changed. She has charm, which is sadly lacking in todays stars/teenagers and that goes a long way.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh, and Practical Magic. Good lord, my wife chooses what we watch a lot.

  • Comment number 29.

    (as I suspect with most people who work for a living) it takes time to get around to most of the films most of us would like to watch, so to simply add my late review in to the mix....

    Gomorrah: an essay in the pointlessness of a violoent society. From the greedy (?)ex-thug who considers his payment to be less than paltry to the kid ultimately aquiescing to betray his neighbour to be able to fit in.
    Thoughout, the charactarision of the Pacino wannabe was chilling and ultimately doomed.

    Recommended to anyone who still doubts the God K.


  • Comment number 30.

    Petegiggles called Sandra the "poor man's Julianne Moore".

    I think Julianne is one of the finest actresses in Hollywood, for dramatic roles. Her rom-coms are pretty dire, however. "Trust the man", "Laws of attraction", even "Evolution" (which is supposed to be a comedy, I believe) are all pretty dire.

    Maybe the problem is not Sandra or Julianne, just that there is no-one in Hollywood capable of writing a modern romantic comedy.

  • Comment number 31.

    Leaving personalities out of the equation, how is it that you can love Sandra Bullock on the one hand and hate Kate Hudson on the other? Both are below-par actresses who have one or two good things under their belts but have since settled for mediocre bilge-ridden rom-coms as a way of paying the bills.

  • Comment number 32.

    The feeling you have when you go see a Sandra Bullock film is the same feeling I have when I go see a Robert DeNiro or Al Pacino film.

  • Comment number 33.

    I even enjoyed your use of Richard Gere's one emotion in taking your sunglasses off.

  • Comment number 34.

    Here in the States we only have to wait a few weeks until the next Sandra Bullock release, "All About Steve"

    And this time.....

    wait for it!'s another rom-com.

    Haven't ascertained yet whether it contains nudity.

    Any more of that and perhaps we should call her Sandra Buttock

  • Comment number 35.

    Now i'm only 17 and have a mere 51 subscribers on my YouTube channel but I have to say, I watched The Proposal tonight and I enjoyed it, I haven't seen many of the rom-coms the good doctor referred to but I doubt they are relevant to my generation. This movie was a popcorn stuffer - easily watched, unoffensive fare to make the audience laugh and feel good about themselves. Sure it wasn't the greatest movie ever made but it did the job. There was nothing in it that I found inherently terrible and I think both Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds are very good in comedy roles. The movie I found it most similar to was Meet the Parents but if the formula's good you can't really blame the movie-makers for exploting it. All that being said I don't mind Sandra Bullock continuing with making these films if she can also choose to make some more serious, challenging films.

    I was also wondering about what the Good Doctor thinks with regards to objectivism vs subjectivism in judging a film. I personally feel we need both. Oh, and can I have your job when you're done with it? (Just kidding, not really)

  • Comment number 36.

    (About mrmontagne) Like what he said, with an aside: Kernmode + piece of fluff film = an OTT cynical denouncement. It really wasn't a bad film like you said, so I hate to say this, but Kermode is attached too rigidly to the 'high' arts, like any good middle-age englishman with a doctorate. Which means he's kind of a snob. An engaging one, sure. Just sayin'.

  • Comment number 37.

    I think the problem is that our expectations of what films should be were increased by the range of quality Hollywood films which came out of the 90s and early in this decade, films such as While You Where Sleeping or indeed Speed which at the time seemed like enjoyable fluff which time shows were really interesting genre busting experiments. What has happened since is that these kinds of films have returned to simply trotting out the old tropes of the kind people were happy with in old Hollywood but we think that they should be better because we've seen they can be better.

    It doesn't make us snobs -- if it was that Sandra Bullock wouldn't even be under consideration we'd be wondering about why Jean-Luc Godard's films are being distributed properly these days. It's just that we've seen that it is possible to make a Hollywood romantic comedy or action film with a useful original premise, strong characterisation and something to say about the world and that sort of thing isn't being released right now and that is something worth complaining about.

    What about poor Meg Ryan, who hasn't been in a good film since Kate & Leopold and that was because of Hugh Jackman. The last great proper Meg Ryan film might have been Addicted to Love and that was in *1997*. Damn.

  • Comment number 38.

    Sandra Bullock has the charm and humility that noraml everyday people can relate to. Fair enough she looks good with no clothes on but thats not enough to maintain a career as long as she has had. There is something she has got that is just in-built to her and can't be taught; a carisma and likeability that other actresses fail to have. There have been many actresses that look good with no clothes on however the public don't warm to them and their career peters out. Sarah Michelle Gellar for instance, think the last film she was in was Scooby doo.

    To be honest I saw The Proposal and didn't think it was that bad. Obviously an actress like Sandra Bullock should be doing better movies with more substance, but it did exactly what it set out to do in my opinion.

    Sandra Bullock will always be Sandra Bullock and thats the best thing going for her because her name attracts vast audiences to the big screen or to rent out her older films. Hopfully she will start making better and more serious films that challenge her more and show what a good actress she can be, however if she continues to make light hearted movies that are cliched and pradictable then the audiences will still go and pay to see it, because its Sandra Bullock.

  • Comment number 39.

    I certainly don't love her, but it seems impossible not to hate her.

    Her fans might not have too long to wait Blind Side is anything like the book. A character to sink her teeth into and show some of that acting power that she's been teasing you all with.

    (Before she goes back to making easy-money trash comedies).

    Fingers crossed


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