Assessing Kevin Bacon: Six Degrees of Underrated
Date of Assessment: June 1, 2011
Positive Buzzwords: Underrated, intense, villain
Negative Buzzwords: Typecast, Madoff
The Case: Horror fans will remember Kevin Bacon's first mainstream turn in Friday the 13th, but it was really Footloose that catapulted him to the walls of teenage girls everywhere and then (not too much longer afterwards) ceremoniously dropped him in the gutter. Through sheer talent and a willingness to appear in some really awful films as well as a handful of really good ones, Kevin Bacon has somehow survived through multiple decades of a Hollywood career. Just recently, he has also had the dubious pleasure of emerging as one of Bernie Madoff's victims. While Bacon admits that the experience has indeed affected some of his decisions on what work to accept, he is also a realist and admits that, sometimes, an actor just needs the work. Further, he doesn't feel that he suffers from the "disease of specialness." In that regard, I can accept that Kevin Bacon has gladly accepted money for participating in his fair share of trashy movies over the years; at least he's not deluded into thinking that everything he touches is so-called "high art."
Besides, a man who unwittingly inspired the "Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon" trivia game and harnessed its power to create the SixDegrees.org charity can't be all bad, right? Right.
Admittedly, I hold a special place in my little black heart for Flatliners, and I thought he was brilliant in Wild Things although the full frontal factor might have something to do with that sentiment. Still, the guy looks a bit like Willem Dafoe, so give me the benefit of the doubt when I assure you that it's (mostly) his acting that captivates. Just a year ago, Bacon won his first Golden Globe for the HBO movie, Taking Chance, so he's finally getting some recognition in the talent department as well.
Other crowd favorites include Death Sentence, Murder in the First, Tremors, Mystic River, A Few Good Men, Apollo 13, JFK, and Stir of Echoes. He's also tried his hand at a few comedies -- Planes, Trains & Automobiles, She's Having a Baby, and The Air Up There -- but Kevin Bacon isn't much of a comedic actor at all. Rather, he excels as both a protagonist and (especially as) a villain in dramatic films. Some of his best performances have been as the bad guy -- Hollow Man The River Wild Sleepers Criminal Law, and The Woodsman.
While it seems perfunctory and inadequate for me to summarize his resumé in just a few short paragraphs, it's enough to say that Kevin Bacon is exactly how he appears; that is, he is a fine actor who has appeared in many solidly entertaining movies. Even better, he doesn't dwell upon his image or try to be something that he isn't, and his level of humility will keep him going through at least a few more decades of pretty good (but not quite great) movies too.
Prognosis: While I'm convinced that the sociopath Bacon played in Super was probably a character that he liked in the script, I still think he said yes to the movie itself because of his compromised state of mind due to the Madoff fallout. In addition, Bacon might very well give a fine show as the villainous Sebastian Shaw in this weekend's X-Men: First Class (as Sebastian Shaw), but he probably accepted that role for the money as well. Hopefully, he'll soon feel free to accept roles on a more selective basis too because he's a very solid dramatic actor. If anything, oue hope shall stay alive due to his involvement in the very promising looking Crazy, Stupid Love. If nothing else, he can always continue to rock out in concert as one of the Bacon Brothers.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.