Accents are one of those things that you’re either good at or you’re not. Most people can pull off a basic regional accent to take the piss out of their mates, or rustle up a nicely offensive stereotypical rendition of the voices of their continental neighbours. We all know one or two people who can somehow pull off every possible accent under the sun, and no matter how hard they try to teach you, you always just sound like a confused Welsh farmer with a lisp. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your outlook) Hollywood actors suffer from the same discrepancies in accent ability. Here is a list of the top 10 worst accents in film.
1. DICK VAN DYKE – MARY POPPINS
We should probably start off with the classic catastrophe that is Dick Van Dyke’s cockney chimney twat from Mary Poppins. Mountains of stuff has been written about poor old Dick and his…whatever the hell it is that you call what he does with his voice. There is even a blog dedicated to reporting all references to Dick Van Dyke’s accent in the British Press. All I can add is a personal thank you to Disney for making Americans think that everyone from London is basically Dick Van Dyke. Doesn’t get annoying at all. Cheers for that one Disney.
It’s ironic really that a man called Dick does a Cockney accent that is a load of balls.
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2. CHARLIE HUNNAM – GREEN STREET HOOLIGANS
Not content to make a shit football hooligan film, the wankbags behind Green Street Hooligans also decided to cast Geordie actor Charlie Hunnam as the top-boy-nutty-geezer-east-end-villain, who inexplicably sounds like an Australian with a cold. Leaving aside how cringe worthy the plot of this pile of cack is, the scenes where Charlie Hunnam is teaching Elijah Wood rhyming slang make me die a little inside. Whilst there are definitely criticisms that you can make about Football Factory, The Firm, Cass, Rise of the Footsoldier etc. they all at least cast proper cockneys to play the cockneys. No brainer really.
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3. LEONARDO DICAPRIO – THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK
Bloody hell this one is bad. If you never had the pleasure of seeing this little gem of cinematic brilliance then stop whatever it is you are doing and go watch it right now. Some of you may have forgotten the shit that Leo used to come out with before he became a decent actor, but this is a prime example.
In this epic period drama the viewer is swept away from their miserable modern life into an epic world of eighteenth century intrigue and adventure. The four musketeers, Porthos, Athos, Aramis and D’Artagnan return to the silver screen and promptly have their names butchered by a young Leo’s whiney American drawl. This film is the real reason why France didn’t invade Iraq with the Americans. Tit for tat.
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4. KEANU REEVES – BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
If you haven’t seen this film then all I will need to tell you regarding Keanu’s accent is that he is trying to portray a nineteenth century English gentleman. Yeah. It’s one of those ones where you really can’t understand the thought process behind casting a plank like Keanu in a film with serious actors, unless you come to the only possible conclusion which is that it was all an elaborate joke. If you haven’t seen it then definitely give it a watch. Gary Oldman is an absolute Don as per usual, and Anthony Hopkins has some great little lines as Doctor Van Helsing. Good actors aside though, watch it for Keanu’s English accent. I think it is probably my favourite one on this list.
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5. BRAD PITT- THE DEVIL’S OWN
For those of you who thought that Brad Pitt did a good job with the Irish accent in Snatch, this is the proof that he is a smart man. Pre-Snatch he tried to do an Irish accent where he had to do things like make sense, create empathy, deliver dialogue – you know, boring actor shit. Once he saw this barrage of feck played back to him on the screen, or maybe after he was threatened with a knee-capping by the same Irish terrorists who he was attempting to glamourise in this film, he decided to approach Irish accents a little differently the next time. Hence why in Snatch all he does is make garbled little sounds in an Irish sounding noise. That my friends, is what they call “development”.
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In terms of shocking Irish accents, it would be unfair to include Brad here if I didn’t also point out the abysmal attempt at an Emerald Isle burr by Tom Cruise in Far and Away.
6. SIMON PEGG – STAR TREK
I know that Simon Pegg is a massive sci-fi nerd and loves Star Trek, and I know that he didn’t do it on purpose – but Simon mate, what the hell was that all about? You killed Scotty dude. You killed him. Why would you do that? I thought you were cool, I loved you in Spaced and the Cornetto Trilogy, but then you go and pull this shit? Think I’m a dickhead do you? Think that just because you’re Simon Pegg I’ll let you off? Doesn’t work like that mate. You’re on the list with Keanu Reeves and Dick Van Dyke now boy.
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7. DON CHEADLE – OCEAN’S 11
Poor Don Cheadle. The man is a great actor, watch any of his films and you’ll see that he is a talented man with great versatility. So why did Steven Soderbergh make him talk in a cockney accent when he clearly can’t do it? I mean it’s just cruel. Ocean’s 11 is a top notch film, but there was no need to throw in a moody cockney accent. I mean if they wanted a genuine geezaaah for the part, then were the fuck was Danny Dyer?
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8. NICOLAS CAGE – CAPTAIN CORELLI’S MANDOLIN
Now as you all know, we love Nicolas Cage here at Sick Chirpse. But sometimes when you love someone you have to point out their weak spots so that they can grow as a person. And if they can’t grow as a person, then at least they can never ever try and do an Italian accent ever again.
This is one of those films that I watched a long time ago before I became a bitter cynic, and I really don’t remember the accent being that terrible. Then I saw a clip from it in some YouTube Nicolas Cage compilation that I was watching (as I am wont to do) and had a slight epiphany. And by “epiphany” I mean I nearly wet myself laughing and decided to write this list.
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9. NICOLAS CAGE – CON AIR
Yeah, Nic made it on the list again. I’m not being malicious by doing this, I genuinely enjoy his accents. They are one of the many incredible aspects of his legend, and one of the reasons that he is my personal hero.
Con Air is also a great film, and the fact that Nicolas Cage is the lead character and he’s doing his whole moral Southern man thing, make it one of my favourites. That said however, this accent is atrocious. PUT THE BUNNEH BACK IN THE BOX.
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10. RICHARD GERE – THE JACKAL
Another shite Irish accent in another shite Hollywood attempt to pluck the depths of the Troubles for a sympathetic lead character. Once again the result is an American tit putting on an accent that even Hellen Keller wouldn’t find convincing. If you didn’t know any better, you might think that there are just no Irish actors. Perhaps Collin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are just optical illusions.
And now a personal message to one of you out there. You know what you did. If you ever read this – don’t think that just because you’re not numbered in this list I’ve forgotten what you did in P.S. I Love You, Gerard Butler.
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Apology not accepted.