Bionic Showdown (1989)
Forbes recently named Sandra Bullock the highest paid actress of the last 12 months , after a bonzer year at the box office that was capped with an Oscar.
It hasn't always been so rosy for Sandy though, who started out in some rubbish telly and DTV movies. After five minutes screentime in Hangmen , Sandy appeared in TV movie Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman , which saw her gifted with super-charged robotic innards.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Far from it, though her perkiness cuts through the hokum.
Breakin' the Rules (1989)
After an appearance in one episode of short-lived sitcom Startiing from Scratch , Sandra had a stab at serious movie acting in well-intentioned, but little-seen, feature-length drama Breakin' the Rules (once known as Who Shot Patakango? )
The 50s-set civil rights flick saw Sandy in a lead role. She played Devlin, a private school student who scandalised her family by becoming romantically involved with a black high-school student.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? This movie didn't really get very far under any of its titles.
Working Girl (1990)
After a couple of smaller roles in the likes of The Preppie Murder and Religion, Inc , Sandra got the lead role in this TV spin-off of Working Girl .
As Tess McGill, the character that made Melanie Griffith famous in the movie, Bullock had the chance to show she could compete with Hollywood's finest. Unfortunately, the TV show was nowhere near as big a hit as the movie, and poor ratings meant that it didn't even stay on the air for the entirety of its 12 episode run.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? In spirit, at least.
Love Potion No. 9 (1992)
Sandra starred alongside Tate Donovan in this romantic comedy, and the pair ended up dating for a number of years in real-life.
The story is pretty simple: a pair of geeky scientists (Donovan and Bullock) get their hands on the titular love drug that makes the user irresistible to the opposite sex (it's tested on a couple of lusty chimps early on). Unsurprisingly, the pair end up falling for each other and have to find a way of purifying their love whilst being weaned off the drug.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Not a huge hit, but it showed she wasn't afraid to ugly up and goof around.
The Vanishing (1993)
This remake of the 1988 Dutch movie of the same name was Sandra's biggest budget film to date.
She played the girlfriend of Kiefer Sutherland's character, though she doesn't get a huge amount of screen time as she is abducted early on by Jeff Bridges, who is in slimy creep mode.
The film was derided for tacking on an ending that defied the chilly close of the original.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Sadly the copout ending was the only thing 'Hollywood' about this.
When the Party's Over (1993)
This frisky relationship drama aimed to be something like The Big Chill for the 90s, but didn't quite pull it off.
It tells the story of four housemates (three girls and a guy), and their intertwining lives and loves. Sandra gets romanced by Alexander (weirdo character actor Fisher Stevens).
Not a total failure, but lacking the profundity of some similar-themed efforts.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? This was Sandy trying on indie for size.
The Thing Called Love (1993)
Best remembered for one of the last screen performances of River Phoenix, this film didn't find a big audience.
The story follows aspiring country singer Miranda (Samantha Mathis) as she heads to Nashville to launch her career. She impulsively marries sulky James (Phoenix), and the union is fraught with angst and tribulations.
Not exactly Phoenix's finest hour.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Hardly, though she has fun playing talentless southern gal Linda.
Demolition Man (1993)
Sandra's most blockbustery role to date, playing San Angeles police lieutenant Lenina Huxley, who is charged with looking after recently defrosted cop from the past John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone), thawed to help track down Wesley Snipes' super-crim.
The wilfully silly film is pretty good fun, and knows it. How much you enjoy the opening scene (Sly infiltrating a hostage scene by bungeeing in, guns blazing) will act as a litmus test for your appreciation of the whole movie.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? There are certainly early signs of it here, in her naive but spunky cop.
Wrestling Ernest Hemingway (1993)
1993 was a big year for Sandra Bullock (it also saw the release filmed-but-shelved drama Fire on the Amazon , which is most famous for revealing a flash of side-boob).
Wrestling centred on two lonely wrinklies (Robert Duvall and Richard Harris), who bond over their mutual boredom in a quiet Florida town. Shirley MacLaine, Piper Laurie and Bullock are the ladies in their lives. Gentle stuff, but pleasantly watchable, particularly for the grumpy leads.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? This was pretty small-scale, and Sandra didn't have the biggest role.
This was the moment things started happening for Bullock. Jan de Bont's Die Hard -on-a-bus made an action hero out of Keanu Reeves and a leading lady out of Bullock.
Sandy's Annie Potter is one of the defining characters of her career, as she got the chance to be sweet and jittery and ballsy and funny and adorable and alluring.
Despite the slight stall in the third act, Speed should still sit comfortably near the top of any self-respecting 'Best Actioners of the 90s' list.
Hollywood Sweetheart? Oh yes…
While You Were Sleeping (1995)
After Speed , Sandra appeared in mob comedy Who Do I Gotta Kill? before taking her first steps to romcom domination.
This Comatose in Chicago (if you will) is totally predictable, but Bullock makes it work, once again nailing the role of delightfully idiosyncratic (not to mention beautiful) oddball. She gets in over her head when she is mistaken for her comatose crush's fiancee. Throw in a charming Bill Pullman and some cosy snowy scenes and you've got yourself a crowdpleaser.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? This is the stuff they love her for.
The Net (2005)
Sandra was in peril again for The Net , but the years haven't been kind to this one.
There's plenty of tension to be wrought from the paranoia-inducing premise: computer nerd Angela Bennett (Bullock), downloads something she shouldn't and ends up as the target of a huge conspiracy. An over-dependence on coincidence adds to the generally unconvincing tone of this thriller, which still managed to rake in a decent amount of box office dollars despite a critical spanking.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She needed something better than this as a vehicle.
Stolen Hearts (1996)
Released under the name Two If by Sea in the US, this romcom saw Sandra pair up with comedian-turned-leading man Denis Leary (he also had a hand in the screenplay).
Frank (Leary) is a small-time thief, who is looking to put an end to his criminal ways with the elusive 'one last job', when he unknowingly steals an extremely valuable painting. There's not a great deal that's particularly new here, though the sparky chemistry between Bullock and Leary keeps the film watchable.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She had the charm but lacked the audience here.
A Time to Kill (1996)
Joel Schumacher's second Grisham adaptation (following The Client ), has echoes of To Kill a Mockingbird , as Matthew McConaughey's up-and-coming lawyer takes on a case to defend a man (Samuel L. Jackson) who killed his daughter's rapists.
Bullock's role, as feisty law student Ellen, feels like a supporting character, despite her high billing, and she gets slightly lost among the overly-expansive cast. Still, she has a nice rapport with McConaughey, and she's convincingly wide-eyed as the naive optimist.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? This was another decent-sized hit for her.
In Love and War (1996)
Sandra starred alongside Chris O'Donnell in this period romance, which looked at a key relationship in the life of the young Ernest Hemingway.
Smarmy O'Donnell only manages to capture Hemingway's youthfulness, and does nothing to hint at the complexity or intensity of the man. Bullock is merely ok in a role that asks little of her.
Shame that director Dickie Attenborough couldn't conjure up some of the magic that he brought to his previous biographical projects.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? A bit of a misstep for Sandy.
Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997)
Following In Love and War with Speed 2 sent Bullock's career into the doldrums for the next few years.
Revisiting the character wasn't an unwelcome idea, but the cruise ship setting (which can't go very fast and doesn't face many obstacles out on the open water) abolished the simple thrills of Part One. Throw in the fact that Annie's a lot whinier this time, and Jason Patric is no Keanu. and you have a total summer stinker.
America's Sweetheart? This really dented her credibility.
Hope Floats (1998)
This serves as little more than an excuse to pun on 'floating' after the sinking Speed 2 . A lively opening sees Birdee (Bullock) appear on a chat show to unexpectedly find out that her best friend and husband have been doing the nasty.
Birdee moves back to her home town to take stock of her life and reminisce about how popular she once was. The plot's a little too mopey (and predictable), and Harry Connick Jr makes for an insipid (but thankfully sidelined) romantic interest.
America's Sweetheart? All ingredients are present, but there's no spark.
Practical Magic (1998)
After directing and starring in odd short Making Sandwiches , Sandra teamed up with Nicole Kidman to play a pair of spellbinding sisters in what sounds like an extremely easy sell.
It's all just a helluva lot more boring than it should have been, with with the only real spice coming from a flirty Kidman, and Stockard Channing and Dianne Wiest's crazy aunties. So why focus on Sandra's dull character and her relationship with drippy investigator Aidan Quinn?
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Sandra didn't get a great deal of love for this one.
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
Sandra's only vocal appearance in an animated film was in this Ten Commandments story from DreamWorks, playing the sister of Moses.
Feeling slightly anachronistic, Prince featured handdrawn animation (with subtle CG work) at a time when CGI-animation was taking off. Retelling Moses life story also made it feel dated, though it still stands as an admirable achievement. The only fly in the ointment is the appalling string of songs, that break out far too frequently.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Despite the controversial subject matter, this was a pretty sizeable hit.
Forces of Nature (2009)
Here Sandy teamed with Ben Affleck, who was hot off the back of Good Will Hunting and Armageddon (before he had a career slump of his own), for a cross-country romcom.
Affleck is the groom-to-be whose plane troubles force him to make alternative travel arrangements to his wedding with fellow passenger Bullock in tow. The harsh weather that they encounter is well handled from an FX point of view, but Bullock interprets 'free spirit' as borderline obnoxious, and the film suffers from a lack of urgency.
Hollywood's Sweetheart ? None of that in evidence here.
Gun Shy (2000)
Another blot on Sandra Bullock's filmography, Gun Shy is a tonally-unsure mafia comedy with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure.
Charlie (Liam Neeson) is an undercover cop who goes into group therapy to help manage his stress. Fulvio (Oliver Platt) is the ineffectual mafia man under investigation. Sandra (who also produced) turns up as a nurse who develops an unconvincing relationship with Charlie, and her character was widely criticised as being the weak link in an otherwise average film.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? No-one loved her in this.
28 Days (2000)
To begin with, it seems like Bullock is moving away from the adorable gal next door, to try on a selfish, snarky, bitchier type for size. Gwen is an alcoholic who ends up being sentenced to spend four weeks in rehab after a car accident.
But, as soon as Gwen enters the facility, we are bombarded with a hopelessly cliched pic-n-mix of troubled residents, and there are poorly handled attempts at bringing comedy into the situation. Managed to grab an interesting support cast, though (Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West and Steve Buscemi all appear).
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Hardly.
Miss Congeniality (2000)
Hardly mind-blowing stuff, but Miss Congeniality gave Bullock the hit she so desperately needed after a string of duds.
The role of Gracie Hart, the uncouth, tomboyish FBI agent who has to glam up to go undercover at a beauty pageant, was pretty much perfect for her. She gets to be tough, and pratfalls to her heart's content, while finding time to prove that she is, y'know, gorgeous underneath it all. Very by the numbers, but still crowdpleasing light entertainment.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She proves she can add sparkle to the most average material.
Murder by Numbers (2002)
This workmanlike thriller's title is all too easy to mock.
Sandra's in law enforcement mode again, though this time she's hunting down a pair of sadistic teen killers. She never entirely gets into the role of the dogged obsessive, and she's saddled with listless partner Ben Chaplin. The only real intrigue comes from the sociopathic school kids themselves (played by super-talented young'uns Ryan Gosling and Michael Pitt), and their extremely interesting relationship.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She doesn't come close to usurping Clarice Starling here.
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood (2002)
This women-only affair is chick-flickage at its most sugary.
Bullock is Siddalee, a successful playwright whose relationship with her mother is in tatters. Three of her mother's friends (the sisterhood of the title) descend upon Siddalee to teach her the truth about her mother's harsh life. This flick targets hankies without prejudice, but there's very little to enjoy here, save for some spirited performances.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She still must have been doing something right as the film was a modest hit.
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
As cliched and predictable as romcoms come, this one is still pretty watchable because of the presence of Bullock and Hugh Grant (who had recently shelved his toff act to be pretty damned charming in Bridget Jones's Diary and About a Boy ).
Lucy (Bullock) is a lawyer employed by billionaire property magnate George (Grant), and she quickly tires of nannying him and tenders her resignation. Before long, the pair start to develop feelings for each other in a totally unsurprising series of events.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? They sure do love to see her in a straight-down-the-line romcom.
With hindsight, it's hard to see how Paul Haggis' look at race relations through a microcosm of LA society was considered a controversial Oscar winner. It's ambitious, handles a touchy subject with dexterity, and backs it all up with a number of fine performances.
Bullock earned strong notices for her role as rich-bitch Jean Cabot, who wears her prejudices on her sleeve. Matt Dillon and Terrence Howard are among the other standouts in the cast.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She proves there's more to her than romcom froth by handling this tougher subject.
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous (2005)
Sandra returned to familiar territory in this not strictly necessary sequel. Despite Bullock's natural comic flair, MC2 is unforgivably low on laughs, even resorting to dodgy disguise gags.
Gracie Hart is glamming up again in a hunt for a kidnapped beauty queen, and pageant organiser Stan Fields (William Shatner). She is partnered with another no-nonsense female fed (Regina King), though their pairing doesn't exactly set the screen alight.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She's pushing her luck with this dross.
The Lake House (2006)
Sandra re-teamed with Speed co-star Keanu Reeves for this time-bending romance.
Kate (Bullock), is a doctor living in 2006, and she has just vacated the eponymous residence. Alex (Reeves) is an architect who lives there in 2004 and the pair start to exchange head-hurty correspondence.
It's all very silly, but at the same time there's something distractingly enjoyable about the whole affair. The plot may be a bit complicated for a date movie though.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Her and Ke do make a pretty pair.
In one of the great cinematic deja vu s of recent years, this Truman Capote biopic was overshadowed by Capote (for which Philip Seymour Hoffman won the Oscar).
While Capote may have had the edge, Infamous deserves a second look. For starters, Bullock gives Catherine Keener a run for her money as Mockingbird author Harper Lee, and Daniel Craig is icily charismatic as cold-blooded killer Perry Smith. What it really lacks though is Hoffman, and the subtlety of his performance.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She may have been more richly rewarded if she'd have appeared in Capote .
More time-twisting antics for Sandra here, though, if possible, this one makes even less sense.
Linda (Bullock) is a housewife whose husband dies in a car crash. She then seemingly experiences different days, some before the accident, some after, in a way that is devoid of thrills, tension, scares or basic storytelling nous.
If Bullock ever sign up to another time-jumping flick, be sure to steer well clear.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Despite a critical mauling, Premonition still posted half-decent returns.
The Proposal (2009)
2009 was Sandra Bullock's Annus mirabilis , and it started with this romcom smash.
It didn't particularly matter that the plot was as predictable as, well, a Sandra Bullock romcom. Pushy editor Margaret (Bullock), has to fake an engagement with Ryan Reynold's beleaguered assistant, and that involves convincing his folks in Alaska.
Reynolds and Bullock proved to be a potent combination, as the box office kerchinged to the tune of over $300m.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? Her stranglehold was tightening.
All About Steve (2009)
This excruciatingly bad comedy couldn't dampen Bullock's ascent to the top in 2009.
She plays an awkward crossword puzzle compiler who starts stalking Bradley Cooper's Steve after a blind date.
We know Bullock can do kooky in her sleep, but this veered into out-and-out creepiness, as she created one most unlikeable protagonists to ever appear in a 'comedy'.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? It's amazing that this didn't ruin 2009 for her.
The Blind Side (2009)
The icing on the cake for Bullock's year, as she got her hands on a little gold man for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, the feisty, not-to-mention rich, Southern lovely who takes on homeless kid Michael Oher.
Turns out the big lump is actually a pretty good football player beneath his taciturn exterior, and with Leigh Anne's help he ends up being one of the most sought after young stars in the NFL. A tad sentimental and one-sided for some tastes, that didn't stop it hauling in over £300m in stubs.
Hollywood's Sweetheart? She's pretty much unstoppable right about now.