When I fall in love, I fall in love hard. And for years. When it comes to pop culture, I am the least fickle person you're likely to meet. If I start a movie, I finish it. I rarely quit TV shows before their series finale and remain loyal to celebrities once they've worked their way into my heart. How else could you explain my continued rooting for a Rene Russo comeback?
Two women have long lived atop my celebrity crush pedestal: Michelle Pfeiffer and Sandra Bullock.
Our love affair has spanned decades. Magazine tears wallpapered my childhood bedroom. I have seen every movie both have made (including the only one that featured them both, The Prince of Egypt, which was sadly animated) and the AIM screen name I've used since middle school contains both of their initials.
Following Pfeiffer's acceptance of the Cinema Icon Award at April's CinemaCon ceremony, I listed the five films I consider her "most essential." On this, Sandra's 48th birthday, I decided to do the same!
1. Speed -
One of the 90's biggest and best action movies also provided Sandy (yes, we're close like that) with a platform to showcase her comedic chops while also previewing the drama mama lying within. One of the most exciting big screen debuts to date.
2. While You Were Sleeping -
Bullock is at her best while straddling genres, and like Speed, this rom-com-dram allowed several facets of Bullock's talent to shine through. As Jack won Lucy over, Sandra wooed an entire nation.
3. The Net -
An underrated thriller that failed to measure up to the lofty expectations set by Bullock's last two at-bats. But I continue to come back to this paranoid techno-thriller nearly two decades later to marvel at the early hardware used by Sandra's computer hacker heroine and to watch her draw tension from that on-screen spinning hourglass.
4. Miss Congeniality -
In the film, her character coos, "You think I'm gorgeous, you want to kiss me, you want to hug me, you want to love me, you want to hug me, you want to smooch me." And America replied, "Yes. Yes we do."
5. 28 Days -
I've always appreciated Sandra's fearlessness when it came to playing unlikeable women (Crash being her prickly pinnacle). But unlike the unredeemable woman featured in 2004's Oscar-winning Best Picture, this 2000 offering gave Bullock the chance to explore and explain the psychological factors that fuel addiction. Easily her most underrated performance, to date.