Southern Thing Column

Southern accents and how NOT to do them

I’m about as Southern as southern gets: A Georgia-born peach who moved to Alabama at age 11. Been here ever since. So it shouldn’t be surprising that it annoys me when actors overact their southern accents. Nicolas Cage in “Con Air” held the No. 1 spot on my worst accents list for twenty years since its release in 1997.

Click here to see my list of 9 worst accents in Hollywood history.

Recently I heard an accent terrible enough to knock Cage right off his perch: John Travolta in “Life on the Line.” It was released in November 2016 and I just saw a trailer when the DVD was released. When I heard him speak, I about had a come-apart.

Travolta plays, predictably, a guy named “Beau” with an extremely country accent in which he drawls words of wisdom such as “Bein’ a lyin-min ain’t easy. It’s the foe-ahth most dangerous job in the You-night-ed Staytes.” When the inevitable electrical storm threatens, he makes the foreboding pronouncement: “Gennelmin, it’s gone get ba-yid.”

Hello, Hollywood? We do not now, nor did we then, all sound like Scah-let or Rhett Butlah. Please stop “acting” as if we do. It really jars my preserves, almost as much as the time the director had Matthew McConnaughey and Sandra Bullock sweating inside a Mississippi restaurant in “A Time to Kill.” We have air conditioning, people! The South is not the Land Before Time. Just sayin.’

What about you? Tell me your vote for worst accent, of any kind, in a movie.

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