Sandra Bullock in 'The Blind Side'The holiday season usually issues forth an avalanche of award-contending dramas, feel-good family films, and oddball counter programming. Last weekend was no exception, with the debuting Old Dogs, Ninja Assassin, and The Road jostling for attention with New Moon and The Blind Side. Of all those movies, the one that jumps out at me is The Blind Side, which actually increased its audience in its second week of release.

That's a pretty rare feat, especially for a wide release, and speaks to the broad appeal of the film. "Yes, Virginia, Sandra Bullock is the biggest female star in the world... again," in the words of David Poland at The Hot Blog, and there's no doubt that Bullock's celebrity, even more than her compelling, measured performance, is a big draw. Yet with big stars like Will Farrell and Jim Carrey failing to bring in the expected box office this year, Bullock is not the whole story. Nor is it only a matter of the movie being "generically acceptable [for families] to watch together over the holiday weekend," as our own Eugene Novikov suggested, although, to be fair, it's likely that 'the Sandie Bullock football movie' would be an easier sell to more families to watch together than 'the bare-chested boy vampire romance' or 'the violent ninja flick.'

No, I think it's clear that positive word of mouth has spread. What have people told their friends? Maybe that the first, widely-seen and frequently-mocked (by me) trailer was not representative of the movie as a whole, which comes by its emotions honestly.