Dick Van Dyke's legacy: worst accents in movies

I know this has been done before, but what the hell…

I’m watching Michael Collins at the moment, and Julia Roberts’s Irish accent is making my ears bleed. The poor love also repeats the same aural atrocity in Mary Reilly.

Keanu Reeves’s accent (combined with his lack of acting talent) positively ruined Dracula for me.

And of course, “Dick Van Dyke” is synonymous with dreadful accents.

Of course, I’m viewing this from an Anglo-Irish POV. I’m guessing Anthony Hopkins’s “American” accent in various movies leaves a lot to be desired, for example.

What are the ghastliest accents you’ve ever heard in movies?

Kevin Costner gave equal time to North and South (US) with idiotic accents in “Thirteen Days” and “JFK,” respectively.

Natasha Richardson’s ridiculous Southern (US) accent in “Nell.”

Every other Southern (US) accent.

Amen to that. Not everybody in the South sounds like they just stepped off Tara.

One thinks of Dick van Dyke as the gold standard for bad British accents, but actually, the worst one I’ve ever heard was Brion James in the action “thriller” Tango and Cash. If he wasn’t described by other characters as being English, you’d think he was a South African with some sort of terminal throat disease. Dick van Dyke sounds like Noel Coward by comparison.

Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own (though I did like the script’s approach to corned beef and cabbage: “I’ve never heard of it”.)

Forrest Whittaker in The Crying Game, which is a damn shame because I think he’s an awesome actor.

And of course, Tom “you’re a corker Shannon” Cruise in Far and Away. Ouch.

Don Cheadle in Ocean’s Eleven. His mockney nonsense accent was the only thing about the movie I didn’t like.

At least in the movie Magic it does. Sometimes he has it down perfectly, and other times it’s awful.

What? No one’s yet mentioned the egregious Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves yet?

When I was acting in shows that required dialect, we’d award the “Kevin Costner Tribute Award” for most inconsistent accent in the cast (I never won it :slight_smile: )

No kidding! I’m a southerner, and I’ve never heard anyone talk like most movie-southerners.

This American Life had a segment about this a while back. The reporter’s thesis was that non-southerners think Foghorn Leghorn was for real. He actually visited one of the most famous dialect coaches in the acting world, who was totally clueless. I remember he talked about the word “lifetime.” Southerners differentiate between the two long i sounds, but this dialect coach, and all others, apparently, make both of them into a kind of “ah” sound.

I tried searching the TAL site, but couldn’t find the clip. If anyone manages it, it’s pretty good.

I was looking forward to seeing Eric Bana in Black Hawk Down.

Then I heard his attempt at an American accent.

Most attempts at an Australian accent by non-Australian actors fall well short of the mark. Meryl Streep’s effort in *A Cry in the Dark * was particularly bad.

Yes, DVD is the alltime worst. Second: the chick who played Spike insane vampire girlfriend in the earlier Buffys; she clearly studied at the DVD school of accents.

David Borneaz’s Irish accent on "Angel. Even when he fades into the accent he seems to his only certain words, and hits them harder than I’ve ever heard Bono do.
How was Gwyneth Paltrow in “Sliding Doors” and “Shakepeare in Love”? I don’t trust myself to catch foreign accents unless their horrible.

The words “Costner” and “bad accent” will always be synonymous in my mind, as they will for many moviegoers I’m sure.

Oh, and how was James Marsters as Spike? At least he didn’t go in and out. I have heard him speak out of character, though, and it’s a big weird to hear the flat American accent.

Robin Wiliams accent is the biggest failing of Good Will Hunting. Especially when he’s surrounded by supporting cast members who are actually from Boston (the Affleck brothers & Damon) and use it naturally.

The only thing more grating than the actual Boston accent is hearing non-Bostonians attempt to mimic it.

There’s a lot of bad Irish accents in that film. Hers isn’t the worst.

Thought he did OK. Worst American accents I’ve heard in films are: Gary Oldman (True Romance), Catherine Zeta Jones (High Fidelity) and Pierce Brosnan (Dante’s Peak).

Paltrow’s actually alright at a plummy home counties english accent.

The bad guy with the tache and string vest in Commando. I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be cockerney/australian or south african.
Mel Gibson in Braveheart.
I’ll think of some more later.

For a bad American accent, I nominate Laurence Harvey for The Manchurian Candidate. He had a truly awful persnickety voice that I assume was trying to emulate some kind of over-educated prissy New England nerd.

I also have to mention Roseanne Arquette’s monumentally painful attempt at playing a French-Canadian in The Whole Nine Yards.

John Malkovich as Teddy KGB is hysterical. What about the delivery…“just a position bet”.