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Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Where's the Outrage?

British film magazine Empire just conducted a poll to determine the worst film accents of all time. The "winners" were:

1. Sean Connery, "The Untouchables" (1987)
2. Dick Van Dyke, "Mary Poppins" (1964)
3. Brad Pitt, "Seven Years In Tibet" (1997)
4. Charlton Heston, "Touch of Evil" (1958)
5. Heather Graham, "From Hell" (2001)
6. Keanu Reeves, "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992)
7. Julia Roberts, "Mary Reilly" (1996)
8. Laurence Olivier, "The Jazz Singer" (1980)
9. Peter Postlewaite, "The Usual Suspects" (1995)
10. Meryl Streep, "Out of Africa" (1985)

Now, I can't disagree with any of these choices, though I might reorder them (Heather Graham : Cockney accent :: Ed Wood : special effects). But this UK poll exhibited a clear ignorance of the greatest travesty of them all! How is it that Hollywood believes that a Southern accent is not all that different than the effects of massive cerebral hemorrhaging? It's more than a flagrant bias; it's a personal insult.

To the above list MUST be added the Hall of Southern Shame:

1. Dan Ackroyd, "Driving Miss Daisy"
2. Vanessa Redgrave, "Ballad of the Sad Cafe"
3. Kevin Costner, "JFK"

Each of these three attempts sounds nasal, over-enunciated, and aggressively offensive to even the most untutored ear -- that is, no different than an average person's attempt to do a bad Southern accent. Of course, there could be many more bad accents that should eclipse these three, but I tend to avoid Hollywood's fumbling attempts at depicting the South. Thus, I can't vouch for "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil," "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" and the like.

 1:52 PM

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