So Iâ€™m one of those people who memorizes easily, and most of the stuff I remember is crap. Useless crap.
Unless itâ€™s trivia night at the local watering hole, in which case Iâ€™m the most popular man in the room. It feels good.
So when I catch a star-studded flick, much like â€œInception,â€ I stow away information about the cast and crew to use to my future advantage.
Like the director, Chris Nolan, who also directed â€œThe Dark Knightâ€ and â€œMemento.â€ Or actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who was in the show â€œ3rd Rock From the Sunâ€ and the movie â€œAngels in the Outfield.â€ Or Leo DiCaprio, who needs no introduction.
But these useless nuggets of information, which will likely cause me a brain aneurysm at some point, come in handy during that long road-trip game Six Degrees.
And no, I donâ€™t play to Kevin Bacon. Heâ€™s creepy.
But every good player uses jumping-off points to easily connect celebrities.
Here are five really good ones. Youâ€™re welcome.
1. Happy Madison Productions
Aside from â€œHappy Gilmoreâ€ and â€œBilly Madison,â€ the two films that make the production companyâ€™s name, the Adam Sandlerâ€™s company has produced most Sandler and crewâ€™s films.
The usually cameo-heavy Sandler flicks have included the likes of Dan Aykroyd, Steve Buscemi and Courteney Cox.
Not to mention, Sandler crewmembers like Peter Dante and Allen Covert, who had roles in â€œLittle Nickyâ€ and â€œThe Waterboy,â€ have struck out on their own.
2. Any Kevin Smith movies
Before you write the director/producer/writer/actor off as a smut artist, take a deeper look. I mean, youâ€™re probably right about the smut thing, but still.
Smith has created a series of flicks â€“â€“ â€œMallrats,â€ â€œClerksâ€ and â€œDogmaâ€ â€“â€“ that have found a cult following with some serious Hollywood backing.
In â€œDogmaâ€ alone you get Salma Hayek, Chris Rock, George Carlin, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.
3. Anything Judd Apatow touches
King Midas of our generation, everything Judd Apatow touches turns to gold.
When you think of star-studded comedies, you picture â€œOld Schoolâ€ or â€œThe 40 Year Old Virginâ€ or â€œSuperbadâ€ or â€œAnchorman.â€ All Judd Apatow-produced.
Without the man, there may be no Will Ferrel, Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson connection; no Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Clark Duke connection; and no Seth Rogan, Jane Lynch, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell and Jason Segel connection.
The manâ€™s a comedy gold mine full of bright, young stars.
4. â€˜The Departedâ€™
So this movie stands alone in its own category for a couple reasons. One, itâ€™s just a damn good film. Two, its cast spans so many generations.
Youâ€™ve got the veterans, Alec Baldwin, Jack Nicholson and Martin Sheen; the newcomer, Anthony Anderson; and the studs, Mark Wahlberg, DiCaprio and Damon.
Aside from the cast, Martin Scorsese has a pretty stellar resume also: â€œGoodfellasâ€ and â€œTaxi Driver.â€
Iâ€™ve made a personal rule to avoid going through this cast when trying to connect actors as a challenge to myself.
5. The â€˜Oceanâ€™sâ€™ series
â€œOceanâ€™s Elevenâ€ was widely touted as one of the most expensive casts ever assembled, and for good reason.
Again youâ€™ve got Damon and another Affleck â€“â€“ this time Casey instead of Ben.
Then thereâ€™s Clooney, Pitt, Garcia, Roberts, Reiner and Cheadle. They only get a last name because they notoriety might deafen you. In the later movies you get Zeta-Jones and Pacino.
But the real goodies come in the obscure actors: James Caanâ€™s son Scott, Bernie Mac and Eddie Izzard.
Managing Editor Johnny Hart has too much time on his hands. Help. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can clearly see, there are many different and obscure celeb-connections. Yet two director/writers have garnered some under-estimated strength in the Six Degrees game. Wes Anderson has created such indie hits with big cast as â€œThe Royal Tenenbaums,â€ â€œThe Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou,â€ and â€œRushmore.â€
Also John Hughes, who tragically died just less than a year ago, wrote most of the Brat Pack movies â€“â€“ â€œPretty in Pink,â€ â€œSixteen Candlesâ€ and â€œThe Breakfast Clubâ€ â€“â€“ not to mention some of the best comedies in the last 30 years â€“â€“ â€œVacation,â€ â€œFerris Buellerâ€™s Day Offâ€ and â€œHome Alone.â€