(20th Cent. Fox, 1994)
Jan DeBont's debut film as director proved to be one the most ass-kicking adventure movies made to date. Dennis Hopper makes an excellent over-the-top mad bomber, Jeff Daniels is the perfect big brother voice of wisdom, Keanu Reeves nails the hero with a brain, and Sandra Bullock manages tough, funny, and vulnerable simultaneously. And the out-of-the-frying-pan, into-the-fire pace gives the audience three different stacked climaxes, so the hero can beat the bomb, kill the bad guy, and save the girl. That the movie's dialogue is smart and still believable largely owes to the efforts of then-script doctor Joss Wheedon to produce something that turned out far better than the usual summer blockbuster, while still giving us exactly that.