While we shelter in place for the remainder of the month (at least), here’s a reposting from New Year’s Eve 2011. It’s a game I created back in 2009 that I call “Six Degrees of Geeks”, and it’s inspired by Mel Brooks, not Kevin Bacon. (Although he did co-star with John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.)

Kevin Bacon as Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class

Heh-heh. Come! We put the picture's name on everything!
Heh-heh. Come! We put the picture’s name on everything!

The idea came to me in August of 2009. I had just come from a Midnight screening of Spaceballs, and John Hurt’s cameo at the end got me to thinking…
John Hurt was in Alien with Sigourney Weaver; Bill Pullman was in Independence Day with Jeff Goldblum; then there’s John Candy, Rick Moranis, Dick Van Patten…

Hey… could I take “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” and limit it to just geeky movies?

On the subway ride home, I started a crazy web of connections, using movies I knew. Then I powered up my smart phone and started looking up specific geeky movies on IMDB, looking for movies with lots of great actors.

After two months, I had created a linear list of 120 actors and actresses, which can viewed here, at my blog. (How do I connect Harrison Ford to Paul L. Smith? Read and find out!)

The rules:

  1. The Internet Movie Database shall be the primary reference source for any disagreements. Other sites may be used. If Internet access is not available, a movie guide may be used. (I recommend VideoHound.)
  2. Only movies which have been released (either domestically or internationally) may be used. (For example, when I made the list in 2009, I could not have used X-Men: First Class. I didn’t include Kevin Bacon in my original list, but Hollow Man or Apollo XIII would have qualified.)
  3. Only geeky movies can be used. No animation, no television or other media. Live action voiceovers count, such as Ray Harryhausen in Elf.
    What is a geeky movie? Science Fiction, Fantasy, based on a comic book or cartoon, contains the Supernatural or Paranormal. Slasher movies don’t qualify, unless there’s something fantastical about them (like Nightmare on Elm Street). Monster movies do qualify. Horror? Western? Rom-com? It’s gotta have a geeky/fantastical/science fictional angle.
    Would The Human Centipede qualify because it has a mad scientist? That’s up to the people playing the game. (A moot point, as there aren’t any known actors in the film.) If you have to use your imagination, it probably qualifies. Live-action/animated hybrids (such as some Disney features) qualify. The movies do not have to be well-known to qualify. (Sometimes, that’s fun, when you can go on a tangent talking about crazy movies, like that science fiction western musical which debuted a famous singing cowboy.)
  4. The actors and actresses used must be well-known. Disputes can be settled if the characters portrayed can be recalled by a consensus of players.
  5. Sequels may not be used in sequence (so no linking Patrick Stewart to William Shatner to John Laroquette using just Star Trek movies).
  6. Many actors and actresses are a Geek Nexus, starring in a variety of geeky movies (such as Natalie Portman). Many geeky movies have stellar casts (Time Bandits). If a non-linear game is being played, then the actress or movie link may be used more than once, but the specific linkage can only be used once. For example: Rick Moranis can be linked to Steve Martin via Little Shop of Horrors. Little Shop of Horrors can be used again later, to link John Candy and Bill Murray (who can then be linked back to Rick Moranis via Ghostbusters, who can then be linked to, say, Sigourney Weaver
  7. Points and Geek Cred can be earned by the following:
    • The actor, actress, or movie is an Academy Award winner or nominee (but only in the acting and best picture categories; no special effects, costuming, or any other category).
    • Double and triple links can be created, where either a linkage of actors share more than one movie (such as Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum in Earth Girls Are Easy / The Fly / Transylvania 6-5000) or if two movies share multiple actors , such as How To Stuff A Wild Bikini (Annette Funicello / Frankie Avalon / Dwayne Hickman) and Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine.
    • Directors or other non-actors who appeared in front of the camera are linked. (Such as Chuck Jones!)
    • Linking Actors and actresses who are not known for their geeky roles. (Such as Buster Keaton.)
    • Creating a linear path where all movies in a series are used. (My list used all seven Batman movies (1966-2009) plus Catwoman. Danny DeVito >>> George Clooney)
  8. Variations on the above rules are allowed, as long as all participants agree.
  9. Play begins with one person naming a famous actor. The next player links to a movie. Play continues with each subsequent player adding another link. If only two are playing, each player lists two links with each turn. If no one can further the link, the player who created the quandary must place the link, gaining a point, and allowing play to continue. If that player cannot further the link, a suitable penalty agreed upon by the other players may be enforced.
  10. Play may be suspended for any reason agreed upon by the players, and resumed later. If a neverending game is preferred, then it is recommended that some form of text messenger app be used to record the game for future reference, and to adjudicate any repeated links.

Want to be REALLY GEEKY?

Try this!

Want to be really geeky and alternative? Use a different “Center of the Hollywood Universe”! That site has an IMDB-powered search function which does the work for you! Can you find someone with a Kevin Bacon Number of 8 or higher?

You can also play the solitaire Facebook version, where you take a random picture of famous celebrities (usually four or more, at a cocktail party or awards banquet, or a Vogue photo shoot), and figure out the links from left to right!

Want to be a spectator? Pop this in your DVD player!