Posted in Film

The Sandra Bullock Files #3: Who Shot Patakango? (1989)

The Sandra Bullock Files is a series that looks at the films of Oscar-winning actress Sandra Bullock, all the way from her debut from 1987, to her two major 2018 releases, Ocean’s Eight and Bird Box.

Sandra isn’t really known for period dramas, aside from the panned In Love and War and the underrated Infamous. She has always had more success playing modern characters in a modern world.

Early in her career, however, she appeared in another period film, one that is easily among her lesser known works. The movie has no external reviews to be found on the Internet Movie Database, and, aside from Allison Janney, who appears in a cameo role, nobody affiliated with the film besides Sandra has gone on to do any notable work. This film is a curio, one only worth checking out for the absolute Sandra die-hards.

1989 was a busy year for Sandra. Casting directors were clearly starting to pick up on her wit, charm, and vulnerability, giving her opportunities in smaller films that might lead to something more substantial. The awkwardly titled Who Shot Patakango? (also known as Who Shot Pat? in many video releases) is one of those films she did in the hopes that it could lead to better projects.

The movie is pedestrian in every way, shot pretty flat and acted with banality. Unlike Bionic Showdown, Sandra isn’t in a lot of this movie, appearing only for about twenty minutes of the running time. The first time we see her she is out in the cold at night, standing with friends. She looks adorable in her period wardrobe, and she is one of the few actors in the film who brings a trace of life to the proceedings.

The film, set in Brooklyn, New York, follows a group of young teenagers in the late 1950s, with the main character Bic falling in love with Devlin (played by Sandra). He’s poor, and she comes from a rich family, but Romeo & Juliet this isn’t. Imagine West Side Story re-envisioned by college students flexing their filmmaking chops by making a period film for their senior thesis.

There are a few cute moments. Devlin stops a knife-fight, only to have her beau get cut in the process. Of course she has to take him back to her place to clean him up, and of course he has to take his shirt off, revealing a stunning six-pack that awkwardly doesn’t make any impression on her. Later on there is foreplay on a bed between Bic and Devlin that may or may not lead to love-making; it is never clear if the two actually consummate the act.

Who Shot Pat? is interesting only for those who want to see Sandra in an early period role. She’s not given much to do here, but, in retrospect, her career had only just begun.

Best Scene: Sandra messing around with her boyfriend on the bed.

Best Line: “Why… why… why… WHY!”

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