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Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy



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  #1  
Old March 17th, 2008, 12:59 am
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Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

Well, I've done a search and didn't find any thread specifically to discuss accents in films. Sorry if I just missed it, or if this topic is in the wrong place. Anyway, here goes.
For me, something that can ruin a film is a badly portrayed accent, for the simple fact that it is embarrassing and also that I'm going to be laughing rather than taking something seriously.With this in mind,
1. What country are you from?
2. Can you name some examples of what you consider to be good or dire attempts at your accent in films?
To go first, I'm Irish and two great ones that spring to mind are Cate Blanchett in Veronica Guerin and Jon Voight in The General. Fantastic, not overdone or clichéd and I think right on the money.
On the other hand, first thing that comes to mind when I think of bad Irish accents, Far and Away. No-one talks like that, absolutely no-one.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 10:04 am
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

So many people absolutely butcher the Australian accent!


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Old March 17th, 2008, 1:34 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

Even Australian actors butcher the Australian accent. It's horrible.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 2:33 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I'm from the US.

My least favorite accent attempt is in the movie Dracula. The one with Gary Oldman. Keanu (sp?) Reeves does a bad job of trying to sound English, imo. I love that movie, but I cringe a little when he speaks.

To me, is seems most English actors can do a better American accent than Americans can do an English one.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 3:22 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

As I said somewhere else I'd much rather prefer an actor/actress not try an accent than do it badly.

A non-accent may be a bit anachronistic but if everything else is on order bearable, a bad accent (Meryl Streep in Evil Angels, Mel Gibson in Braveheart and the painful Dick van **** (curse the auro-censor) in Mary Poppins) just shatters the mood entirely.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 3:25 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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Originally Posted by snapegirl77 View Post
To me, is seems most English actors can do a better American accent than Americans can do an English one.
Not always, some American actors do pretty good English accents, I'm thinking of Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love. Not English myself, but I have noticed that a lot of the time when actors try to do an English accent, they err by overdoing the "poshness", to put it bluntly. There are loads of English accents and very few of them are as posh as the ones usually portrayed.
Hysteria, are you talking about the Crocodile Dundee films by any chance?


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Old March 17th, 2008, 3:40 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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Hysteria, are you talking about the Crocodile Dundee films by any chance?
I didn't have anything specific in mind, but that is a good example.

I think the problem with Australian accents is they're so easy to exaggerate. I've never met anybody who speaks like Crocodile Dundee and I've lived in Australia for almost my whole life.

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Not always, some American actors do pretty good English accents, I'm thinking of Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones, Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love.
That's true. Renee Zellweger did a very good English accent imo.


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Old March 17th, 2008, 3:48 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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I think the problem with Australian accents is they're so easy to exaggerate.
Dan Radcliffe said while making the December Boys is that the most difficult thing about doing an Australian or Irish accent is that they are so easy to exaggerate (I've met many a Brit who thinks they can do a hilariously accurate Australian accent; the exceptions being those who have spent time out here).


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Old March 17th, 2008, 10:34 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I'm Canadian but the ting that always irks me is that in historical Greco-Roman era films, the actors almost always have a British accent!


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Old March 18th, 2008, 1:54 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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I think the problem with Australian accents is they're so easy to exaggerate. I've never met anybody who speaks like Crocodile Dundee and I've lived in Australia for almost my whole life.
Hmm, I don't find Paul Hogan's accent terribley exaggerated or awful, it's just the 'Aussie speak' he uses that I can't stand.


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Old March 18th, 2008, 3:31 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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Originally Posted by snapegirl77 View Post
I'm from the US.

My least favorite accent attempt is in the movie Dracula. The one with Gary Oldman. Keanu (sp?) Reeves does a bad job of trying to sound English, imo. I love that movie, but I cringe a little when he speaks.

To me, is seems most English actors can do a better American accent than Americans can do an English one.
The funny thing is, I never knew Orlando Bloom was Brittish, until he did the movie Elizabeth Town. I was sitting there watching it and then it dawned on me, he was Brittish! I asked my grandmother and that's when I realized that in the movie I was watching he was actually supposed to be doing an American accent.... Sorry, but I think it can go both ways at times, .

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As I said somewhere else I'd much rather prefer an actor/actress not try an accent than do it badly.

A non-accent may be a bit anachronistic but if everything else is on order bearable, a bad accent (Meryl Streep in Evil Angels, Mel Gibson in Braveheart and the painful Dick van **** (curse the auro-censor) in Mary Poppins) just shatters the mood entirely.
I think Dick van Dike did a pretty good job at being Brittish, though not being Brittish. He wasn't supposed to sound propper and all of that stuff like normal, anyway. I liked it because it fit the character, though if he were to try it in anything else non-Marry Poppins, and it was the same accent with no change, I wouldn't like it one bit .


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Old March 18th, 2008, 6:19 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I've heard a lot of bad English accents and that really does irk me, but equally I've heard some good ones - Renee Zellweger and Leonardo Decaprio do pretty good accents IMO.


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Old March 18th, 2008, 7:02 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

Maybe he does a good English accent but I swear I actually couldn't watch Gangs of New York the Oirish accents were so bad.


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Old March 18th, 2008, 7:29 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I think Leo did a to die for accent in Titanic and he did really good in Blood Diamond.


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Old March 18th, 2008, 10:09 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I loved Renee Z perfect accent in Bridget Jones and Eva Green had a good one in James Bond.


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Old March 19th, 2008, 1:11 am
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

Dick Van Dike's attempt at a cockney English accent in Mary Poppins was one of the most cringe-making bits of film. Ever. (Mind you, I hated most of the the rest of it as well!)


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Old March 19th, 2008, 4:35 am
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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Originally Posted by ginnypotter19 View Post
The funny thing is, I never knew Orlando Bloom was Brittish...
British, dear.

I can't think of any off the top of my head that were really terrible, but I don't generally pay attention to such things. Well, there is one awful accent, but it's from a TV show. There was one episode of Dr. Who where they were in New York. Most of the people in it did pretty convincing NY accents, but there was one guy, who's character had supposedly moved from the South, who absolutely could not do a Southern accent. It was totally obvious.


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Old March 19th, 2008, 4:55 am
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

I'm American, and I must say that Hugh Laurie does a perfect American accent in House (TV, not movie, I know). And Christian Bale is pretty great at accents, too. He always has a different one in different movies, and he's so convincing that I had to look up where he's actually from.


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Old March 20th, 2008, 8:40 pm
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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British, dear.

I can't think of any off the top of my head that were really terrible, but I don't generally pay attention to such things. Well, there is one awful accent, but it's from a TV show. There was one episode of Dr. Who where they were in New York. Most of the people in it did pretty convincing NY accents, but there was one guy, who's character had supposedly moved from the South, who absolutely could not do a Southern accent. It was totally obvious.
I haven't seen that episode, but I'd say that Southern USA accents are pretty easy to get wrong as they are quite distinctive and sometimes people reckon they can do one just by throwing in a few "Y'alls" and "Howdys" that no-one really uses.


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Old March 21st, 2008, 7:45 am
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Re: Accents in Films: The Good, the Bad and the Cringeworthy

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Originally Posted by snapegirl77 View Post
To me, is seems most English actors can do a better American accent than Americans can do an English one.
I don't know . . . a lot of American actors' English accents sound okay to me, but I am American so I don't have a very practiced ear for hearing the nuances of English accents.

A lot of times I can tell that certain actors aren't American but are trying to do the accent. One who totally fooled me, though, was Lennie James from Jericho (again TV, not movie, I know). His accent in that show is so consistent I had no idea he wasn't American until I saw him give an interview about the show!


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