Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My brilliant idea for Hollywood

It's a simple but surefire-effective concept: Forget about Boston accents unless you have people who are actually from Boston.

I have "The Town" from Netflix, and I haven't been able to see it yet because of various factors, but I will admit that looming over this Ben Affleck movie from 2010 is the ominous threat of Boston accents. I tried to avoid cramming too many reviews into my brain because I knew I wanted to see "The Town" sooner rather than later, but I'm pretty sure nearly all the ones I DID read made some kind of reference to who was and who was not able to pull off the accent.

There is just something about that BAH-stan accent that makes people crazy. Other attempts at recreating regional speech get more leeway, but God forbid you crash and burn on this one. I am not sure how long it's been like this, but I think it really started becoming a hardcore issue with "13 Days," when Kevin Costner transitioned from a star forever judged on his English accent in "Robin Hood" to a star also judged on his "Pahk the cah" work as a Kennedy adviser.

So here's my proposal: Just don't try it. Certain people, like Affleck, can go ahead and try their luck at either acting with the accent or directing people with it. But for the majority of the talent in Hollywood, why even bother? It's a huge distraction, and the risk may not be worth the reward. People focus disproportionately on that aspect of the film at the expense of other components--you know, like the plot.

I still want to see movies set in the region--Martin Scorcese can feel free to go elsewhere for a while, though--but I don 't necessarily need to hear the cast talk "authentically." My advice to the filmmaking community is just drop it. Don't even try. It's much better to get heat for the lack of verbal verisimilitude (and I don't think you'll get too much of it) than to see a slew of reviews pick apart your actors in the second paragraph for taking viewers out of the story.

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