Six Degrees of G’s 2008 Movie Mania!

Mood: Nerdy

After telling some friends and colleagues about the number of movies I wish to see this year, someone came up with a suggestion that I should play a game and somehow link the movies all together – something along the lines of the Six Degrees of Separation theory.

Background for the uninitiated: Six Degrees of Separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person he or she knows and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people he or she knows, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth. Several studies have been conducted to empirically measure this connectedness. While the exact number of links between people differs depending on the population measured, it is generally found to be relatively small. Hence, six degrees of separation is somewhat synonymous with the idea of the "small world" phenomenon.

Playing on the "small world" concept, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was invented by some American college guys, who saw Kevin Bacon on a TV interview claiming he had worked with just about everyone in Hollywood. The goal is to link any actor to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections, where two actors are connected if they have appeared in a movie together. The connections (or the degrees of separation) is called a Bacon number. The higher the Bacon number, the farther away from Kevin Bacon the actor is. For example, Elvis Presley has a Bacon number of 2 because:

* Elvis Presley was in Change of Habit (1969) with Edward Asner.
* Edward Asner was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon.

A bit of research later, I discovered that the good folk at the University of Virginia (Department of Computer Science) developed a program called The Oracle of Bacon. The Oracle can link any actor to each other (and any actor to Kevin Bacon), using information from The Internet Movie Database.

Anyway, back to my original story. Having thought about my friend’s suggestion, I decided to play the linking game for the movies I hope to see this year. I’ve only seen 2 so far – 27 Dresses and Enchanted, so obviously, I’m using these as my starting point. I will then link the next movie I see to the one immediately preceding the last, i.e. I will link the next movie to Enchanted. And as an added bit of fun, I am going to provide selected actors and actresses with their Bacon numbers.

From 27 Dresses to Enchanted, there is a commonality and a direct link:

1. James Marsden was in both films; and
2. Katherine Heigl and Patrick Dempsey starred in Grey’s Anatomy (2005-).

As for Bacon numbers:

Katherine Heigl has a Bacon number of 3.
* Katherine Heigl was in Grey’s Anatomy (2005-) with Patrick Dempsey.
* Patrick Dempsey (I) was in Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986) with Maury Chaykin.
* Maury Chaykin was in Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

James Marsden has a Bacon number of 2.
* James Marsden (I) was in Sugar & Spice (2001) with Rachel Blanchard.
* Rachel Blanchard was in Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

Amy Adams has a Bacon number of 2.
* Amy Adams (III) was in Catch Me If You Can (2002) with Nancy Lenehan.
* Nancy Lenehan was in Beauty Shop (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

Patrick Dempsey has a Bacon number of 2.
* Patrick Dempsey (I) was in Meatballs III: Summer Job (1986) with Maury Chaykin.
* Maury Chaykin was in Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

Susan Sarandon has a Bacon number of 2.
* Susan Sarandon was in Noel (2004) with Erika Rosenbaum.
* Erika Rosenbaum was in Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Kevin Bacon.

More Six Degrees when I’ve seen another movie!

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2 responses to “Six Degrees of G’s 2008 Movie Mania!

  1. And dont forget, you saw 27 Dresses with me, which had James Marsden in it, as did Hairspray which we saw last year… And i am 4 steps from Kevin Bacon (was in a play with a guy who was in a play with a guy who was in a movie with Kevin Bacon – it has been a number of years since discovering this so i am vague on all details)

  2. Hahahahahahahaha – I’m only counting the movies from this year – the first of which was 27 Dresses.  If I go back to Hairspray and start there, I’d have to link Hairspray with I Am Legend, and then link I Am Legend to 27 Dresses.
     
    When the Kevin Bacon game first started, I worked out I had a Bacon number of 5 – but can’t for the life of me work out how that came about any more.

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