Named after the famous movie trivia game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, The 6 Degrees Collection is a Blu-ray set of six different Kevin Bacon films, focusing primarily on the middle of his career. The films included in this set are: The Big Picture, Flatliners, Hollow Man, Trapped, In the Cut (which Bacon oddly isn’t even credited in), and Where the Truth Lies. As I was really only interested in two films in this set (The Big Picture and Flatliners), those were the only two I have reviewed.
The Big Picture–Since The Big Picture has a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, I was expecting a lot more out of this film. Unfortunately, it seems like this film is just another case of Hollywood loving films about Hollywood way too much as I personally thought it was pretty dull. The Big Picture is a watchable film but it certainly doesn’t deserve the nearly universal acclaim from critics that it got.
The Big Picture stars Kevin Bacon as student director Nick Chapman. As the winner of a prestigious student film contest, Nick quickly finds himself a hot commodity in Hollywood and makes a deal to make his dream movie. However, Hollywood quickly grabs a hold of Nick and he becomes disillusioned by the creative compromises he has to make to get the film made. His instant success also changes him for the worst and strains his old relationships, especially with his girlfriend Susan. The Big Picture in some ways feels like it was meant as a film to let young filmmakers know that Hollywood isn’t always the glamorous, perfect place they are expecting it to be. I would say that this film does a solid job of that if it was indeed part of its purpose but it definitely isn’t the hilarious lampooning of Hollywood it was hoping to be.
The biggest problem with The Big Picture is that it is overly long and quite dull. I’m not even sure if there was an hour of interesting content in this story. The main reason this film is so dull is that most of the comedy just doesn’t work for a non-Hollywood person like me. I can see how Hollywood types would get some laughs out of a film like this but it doesn’t really work for other viewers who are less aware of these things. As I am a Midwesterner who has never been within a thousand miles of California, it’s definitely possible I just didn’t “get” the jokes but I really didn’t think many were funny.
By far the funniest scenes in The Big Picture are the “scenes from Nick’s film” which constantly change based on new ideas from executives and the creative compromises he has to make. The funniest moment is “Abe and the Babe” (a buddy film featuring Abraham Lincoln and Babe Ruth which was pitched to Nick). This brief minute or so fantasy was the only moment to make me laugh out loud and I kind of wish it were made into an actual movie (or at least a short comedy sketch video).
Most of the rest of the jokes are mediocre at best or annoying and obnoxious at worst. I know we are supposed to be making fun of these superficial, egotistical, and pretentious Hollywood people but that also means we have to put up with them for over an hour and a half. Even Nick turns into an unlikable character in the middle of the film. Really the only two characters I cared for at all were Nick’s girlfriend Susan and his friend (and cinematographer) Emmet (who should have been the hot commodity as his cinematography was definitely the highlight of Nick’s film). Considering both of them are very minor characters, that leaves unlikable characters in the forefront for the majority of the film.
I’m pretty sure The Big Picture is only rated highly by critics because of their love for films about Hollywood. The audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes (44%) and the film’s IMDB score (6.3) are much more fitting for this film (though I think they are still too high). Really the only people I would recommend The Big Picture to are actually Hollywood types, especially wannabee film directors. 2/5
Flatliners (1990)-Flatliners was the main draw in terms of me wanting to review this collection of films. While I hadn’t watched the film before this Blu-ray release, I had seen it be referenced in multiple TV shows I’ve seen and the concept was extremely interesting to me. Flatliners is also a very well-known film, almost a borderline classic (despite its mediocre 48% on Rotten Tomatoes). Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy the film as much as I was hoping to.
While most people probably know what Flatliners is about, for those of you who don’t it’s about five medical school students who decide to try to find out what awaits us after death. To do so, they intentionally flatline (kill) themselves for a few minutes before the other students resuscitate them, then record what they saw. However, all is not well once they come back. Each of the students who flatlines finds themselves seemingly haunted by something. Flatliners has an all-star cast which includes Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, and William Baldwin.
I really wish Flatliners would have went in a different direction, I was excited to watch the film because I was interested in the afterlife aspect of the film. Instead, the film is mainly about the biggest regret of each character’s life. They don’t even visit the afterlife very much or for very long. The afterlife just consists of five relatively short scenes. The rest of the film is about the characters dealing with the side effects of visiting the afterlife, fighting with each other, and doing other much less interesting things. Also, for those of you interested in this film because it is listed partially as a horror film, there really isn’t anything “horror” about it in my opinion. It’s basically just a straight drama film.
The best thing Flatliners has going for it is the amazing cast. There aren’t a lot of films that can compete with a cast of Julia Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland, and Kevin Bacon. Unsurprisingly they do a great job but unfortunately, they aren’t given that interesting of material to work with.
Even though I was quite disappointed with Flatliners, it isn’t a horrible film. It’s just a bit dull, overly long, and didn’t really go in the direction I was hoping. The cast helps make up for some of the movie’s flaws but I’m still going to give it a pretty average 2.5/5.
I didn’t have time to get to the rest of the four films in the collection (and I was mainly just interested in the first two titles to begin with) but they are Hollow Man, Trapped, In the Cut, and Where the Truth Lies. Hollow Man is a relatively poorly rated take on The Invisible Man with Bacon as the invisible man. Trapped is a 2002 film where Bacon plays a kidnapper, which is also poorly rated. I’m not really sure why In the Cut is even in this set since Kevin Bacon isn’t even credited (he’s in the film but it must be a role so minor that he went uncredited). Where the Truth Lies is the third best reviewed film in the set and is a thriller film about a comedy duo (Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth) and the mystery of a woman that was found dead in their hotel room 15 years earlier.
As usual for these Blu-ray compilation sets, one of the most important things to the decision of whether or not to buy it is the video quality. While I was only able to get to two of the films in the collection, they were also the two oldest movies as well (meaning the rest should look even better). I would say that Flatliners looks really good on Blu-ray (almost crystal clear), especially for a film that is almost thirty years old at this point (and also very good for a film that is wedged onto a single Blu-ray with two other movies). The Big Picture isn’t quite as good looking. It looks fine but there are definitely some imperfections (and it really isn’t the type of film that you need to have on Blu-ray in the first place). Unsurprisingly, no bonus features are included in this release.
Overall, as a collection The 6 Degrees Collection is perfectly fine (in terms of video quality and things like that). Unfortunately, it just doesn’t have the best selection of movies. I really thought I would enjoy The Big Picture and especially Flatliners but I was disappointed by both (and I have very little interest in the rest of the movies in this collection). However, if you already know you like most (or at least some) of these films, this isn’t a bad set. Even though there are only two discs for the six films to reside on, the video quality is pretty good and the price is certainly reasonable ($19.98).
The 6 Degrees Collection was released on Blu-ray on April 3, 2018.
We would like to thank Mill Creek Entertainment for the review copy of The 6 Degrees Collection used for this review. Other than receiving the review copy we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation. Receiving the review copy had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.