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Archive for April, 2013

Once, as a younger man, I went to a Red Sox game at Fenway and found myself sitting behind a bunch of guys about my age and biting through my tongue to keep from laughing out loud.  The game was in a rain delay and I’d started listening to them talk, and sumbitch if they didn’t sound exactly like a Saturday Night Live sketch.  It was wicked awesome.

I know that they only sounded that way to my touristy ears; I know that I couldn’t hear, anymore than the comedians could reproduce, all sorts of shading and phrasing and inflection.

That’s why even the best actors will spend weeks or even months on a movie set, speaking all those lines, in take after take, with a Bad Accent.  They don’t bother, or aren’t able, to learn the little quirks of a locality; they paint only with the broadest brush.

I’ll be honest with you – I almost feel guilty about our two finalists for the Dixie Babble Bad Accent Championship.  Neither one was making a realistic ‘slice-of-life’ movie, by any stretch of the imagination (at least, dear Lord, I hope not). Both clearly were straining for over the top, and got there.  Both accents are so broad they barely fit on the screen.

So here they are, the last drawls standing in the Dixie Babble Bad Accent Tournament:

Oscar-winner Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, versus Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage in Con Air.

Come out, come out, wherever you are, put the bunny back in the box, and place your votes to decide our champion.

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The Final Four!

In one bracket, Robert De Niro and Keanu Reeves ran away from their opponents without a goodbye wave.

In the other, Marlon Brando squeaked (figuratively and otherwise) by Dan Aykroyd, while Nicolas Cage saw off a surprisingly strong challenge from Kyra Sedgwick.

So here we have Dixie Babble’s Final Four of Bad Southern Accents:

Robert De Niro as Max Cady in Cape Fear against Keanu Reeves as . . . aw, hell, does it even matter what his name was? . . . in The Devil’s Advocate.

Marlon Brando in Reflections in a Golden Eye against Nicolas Cage in Con Air.

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I was out of town last week, and took my daughter to a museum that played taped interviews with Southerners from the 1960s.

This reminded me that, sometimes, yeah, we really do talk like that.

But only in isolated, individual cases, so Dixie Babble will not let the historical record stop us from making fun of celebrities.

The Elite 8 of the Dixie Babble Bad Accent Tournament features successful – sometimes even acclaimed – actors who, for whatever reason, can’t bring themselves to talk like actual human beings from the Southeastern United States.  Round 2 brings us –

Renee Zellweger in Cold Mountain, having upset overall #1-seed “Half the Cast of Fried Green Tomatoes” in the first round, takes on Robert “Come oyut, come oyut whuhever yew ahhr” DeNiro as Max Cady in Cape Fear.

The second match sees Keanu Reeves in The Devil’s Advocate – in which buying him as a Southerner requires a greater suspension of disbelief than buying him as the son of Satan – against the otherwise great Elizabeth Taylor in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In the third match, Marlon Brando in Reflections in a Golden Eye (really, though, his accent is less “bad” than “deeply weird”) faces Canadian Gentile Dan Aykroyd as a Georgia Jew in Driving Miss Daisy.

And in the last match of the second round, Kyra Sedgwick in The Closer – who’s character apparently isn’t even supposed to be from the South – goes up against what has to be the overwhelming favorite Bad Accent from this point on, Nicolas Cage in Con Air.  Even though I’m not entirely certain Cage even deserves to be in this tournament, since I can’t be sure his accent wasn’t supposed to be that bad.

Place your votes to see which Bad Accents move on to the Final Four.

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