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December 19, 2008 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | December 19, 2008 |

One of our illustrious Eloquents, branded, suggested a Seriously Random List tackling the Five Worst Accents in film, but as I looked around, it became fairly obvious that there are four accents so bad that they must be included on every list of that nature, rendering mine duplicative (those accents: Christopher Lambert in Highlander, Keanu Reeves in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Don Cheadle in the Ocean’s films, and Kevin Cosnter in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves). So, I decided, instead, to narrow it down. You’d think it’d be easy to do a Southern accent, but it’s really quite amazing how terrible most of them are, relics of the Civil-War era Confederacy. It’s all variations on Gone with the Wind. Few get it right (I like Lucas Black’s in Sling Blade because it sounds like home — probably because it was his actual accent), while even more get it horribly, horribly wrong.

Here are the worst five Southern accents in film.

5. Tom Hanks in The Ladykillers: Tom Hanks can do a decent Southern accent (see, Charlie Wilson’s War, which was just OK), and I have no doubt that his accent in Ladykillers had the intended effect he was going for. I’m just annoyed because the Ladykiller’s accent has nothing in common with the South, but for Colonel Sanders. It was amusingly off-base for a few minutes, but after an entire movie of it, it became intolerable. I blame the Coen brothers more than I do Hanks.

4. James Van Der Beek in Varsity Blues: Deliciously awful. The absolutely best awful Southern accent ever put on film. Moxon! His name is Moxon! Let’s be Heroes, people.

3. Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama: Poor girl didn’t stand a chance, not when she was sharing scenes with Josh Lucas, an Arkansas boy. Still, Witherspoon’s accent came and went, but when it came, it was ear-piercingly awful. Points for the attitude, but nobody in the South speaks that fast, even when they’re angry.

Honorable Mention: Kim Basinger in 8 Mile: Not because it was a bad Southern accent, but because the character was from Detroit!

2. Julia Roberts in Charlie Wilson’s War: The fuck? What was that? It was as though she were trying to channel Anne Richards and one of those fake, Dan Aykroyd Hah-vahd accents from Trading Places. A complete abomination. That Roberts was nominated for an Academy Award for a similarly bad Southern accent in Steel Magnolias just proves that there are apparently no Southerners among Academy voters.

1. Renee Zellwegger in Cold Mountain: Holy shit! Here, Zellwegger was asked to do the Southern accent during the Civil War era, which has got to be the easiest accent to do, since it’s all crazy, drawn out vowels. It’s fairly difficult to mess that up, but boy howdy did Zellwegger manage it. She just clobbers it to death, as though she’s doing Annie Oakley in a Wisconsin high-school production. What’s even more criminal is the fact that Zellwegger is actually Southern.

A Seriously Random List XL / Dustin Rowles

Lists | December 19, 2008 |

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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