From Miley Cyrus to Bette Midler

With friends visiting, school summer holidays happening all over the place and half of the technology in my house giving up the ghost (don’t even ask) i’m a little behind on my posting schedule. Normal service will resume over the next few days as the short folk head back to school and life returns to some semblance of order, but in the meantime things are a little hectic. In fact, there was very nearly no Six Degrees post this week. I’ll explain, shall I?

Picture the scene. 9pm, Friday night and i’m chatting to an old pal on Facebook and getting things organised for the weekend. Suddenly, I realise that I haven’t written a damn thing for Six Degrees Saturday and I panic. I open the site, start a new blog entry and realise I don’t have a clue who to write about. It was then that I turned to the old pal I mentioned above, who put the question to her husband and saved the day (but nearly destroyed my sanity) with the suggestion of Miley Cyrus and Bette Midler. Thanks Nat and Paul! I think…

I shot through to the kitchen and grabbed a pint of coffee laced with Red Bull, which I duly threw down my throat before grabbing a pen and paper to scrawl one of my spider diagrams. My pen flew across the paper, my mind racing faster than The Flash on roller skates. This unholy mess was what came next.

These scribbles of mine are always chaos but this one has a real whiff of madness about it. Still, as you can see I managed to make the links, so here we go.

I started from Miley Cyrus, as I figured that would be the trickier end of the puzzle. Here’s what I know about Miley Cyrus’ acting career.

1) She was in Hannah Montana

2) Her dad was in it too

Not a lot to go on. I racked my brains but was at a loss until I remember I had recently seen Billy Ray “Achey Breaky Heart” Cyrus in another film, during a 3am “what crap is on Netflix” session. He pops up in The Spy Next Door alongside Jackie Chan! First link acquired.

If you’ve not seen The Spy Next Door, i’d recommend it for a Sunday afternoon flick. It’s a lot of fun, but is definitely at the lower end of the Chan movie spectrum. That just means it’s enjoyable enough and Jackie Chan is excellent, but don’t ask too much of the supporting cast. It features Chan as a spy (the one next door) who falls for his neighbour and then inadvertently draws her children into a web of intrigue when he offers to babysit. I know it sounds ridiculous, which is fine because it is, but it’s the fun kind of ridiculous so that’s OK.

Anyway, Jackie Chan. Given his body of work I figured it would be pretty easy to find someone to link from and I went straight for Rush Hour and Chris Tucker, but after much scratching of the head and tapping of the teeth with a biro, that seemed to be a dead end* and so I opted for Shanghai Noon (and the sequel, Shanghai Knights), in which Jackie Chan starred alongside Owen Wilson.

“Same crap. Different country.”

Now, I know Jackie Chan has made many movies that are far superior to the two mentioned above and yes, i’ve seen a lot of them. The thing is, Rush Hour and Shanghai Noon are right at the front of my mind at the moment because i’ve recently heard that they’re apparently working on both Rush Hour 4 and Shanghai Dawn (the third in the Shanghai series), although what I can’t figure out is why. I enjoyed the original Rush Hour, I quite enjoyed the sequels, but i’m not sure it’s a series that the cinema-going public have been screaming out to see return to the silver screen, but who knows? As for Shanghai Noon, I guess maybe there’s a huge underground Shanghai cult following that I don’t know about but somehow, I doubt it.

The important thing for me was having my next link. Owen Wilson opened up a bunch of options. I started by thinking about Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller, as they’ve made a whole bunch of films together and as I ran through the list, it hit me. Robin Williams starred in all three of the Night At The Museum movies (lots of fun, those flicks) alongside both Wilson and Stiller.

Robin Williams is very much in my thoughts of late as the third anniversary of his sad passing has just rolled by and of course, I recently referred to him in one of my other Six Degrees posts as I linked Jean Claude Van Damme to Kevin Smith. In fact, I mentioned Williams in conjunction with another comedy favourite of mine, Billy Crystal. In that post, Billy Crystal was the link, but in this i’m talking about Robin Williams’ work on Father’s Day with… ah, right.

From Robin Williams to Billy Crystal, but where to go next? That’s easy. Not too long ago I watched a really lovely comedy film starring the inimitable Billy Crystal, in which he plays a baseball commentator who’s love of the game has left his family feeling somewhat neglected. The film is called Parental Guidance and despite holding a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 17%, I would recommend that everyone watch it. It’s sweet, it’s funny, a duvet day film which just happens to star three truly fantastic comic talents. Billy Crystal is excellent, of course, alongside the wonderful Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny is one of the best films of all time and I will brook no argument on the subject) and of course, Bette Midler. We did it!

If you don’t know why “We did it” conjures nightmares of these two, I envy you. Truly.

There it is, then. Miley Cyrus to Billy Ray Cyrus to Jackie Chan to Owen Wilson to Robin Williams to Billy Crystal to Bette Midler. Six Degrees of Seperation. Just barely…

*It’s not, of course. I later realised that I could have gone from Tucker to Bruce Willis (Fifth Element) and then to Sylvester Stallone (Expendables),  on to Mel Gibson (Expendables 3) and then straight to Bette Midler (What Women Want). Which also starred Marisa Tomei, although she never shared screen time with Midler in that one. That’s not relevant. God, I need to sleep…

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