It has been seven long years since Mel Gibson has graced the silver screen (2002’s Signs). While we are assuming he wasn’t too busy with social engagements, he probably wasn’t working to master his accent for Edge of Darkness. In this latest, the Australian-American takes to Boston in a cawp thrillah. Adapted from a 1985 British miniseries, we find Gibson playing detective as he investigates the death of his activist daughter and things heat up when he finds that things are not as they seem to be.
This looks like the kind of action movie where Gibson really hits his stride (in fact, it reminds us of a lot of Ransom), so all should be well, right? Wrong. As much as Boston loves a good cop and corruption thriller, they love their accent. And Gibson’s is toeing that “gawdawful” line. Mostly it just sounds like he needs to blow his nose.
When it comes to separating the good from the bad with Boston accents, hometown boys like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ed Norton and Mark Wahlberg are pretty safe bets. And when it comes to the later? Here’s a few wicked bad that almost make Gibson look good:
Blown Away, (1994) Major Offender: Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges seems confused here: unsure of what a Boston accent could be, he takes generic “dem-and-does” and spices them up with a little Irish brogue to the effect of, well, a really bad accent.
The Departed, (2006) Major Offender: Vera Farmiga as Dr. Madolyn Madden; Alec Baldwin as Capt. Ellerby
This is a tough cast to run with — Wahlberg and Damon have the obvious advantage, and DiCaprio and Nicholson seem to use the accent to fall deeply into their characters. But when it comes to these two, their attempts are distracting — almost like they are trying to remember their lines and drop their “r’s”. That’s not exactly how it works.
Good Will Hunting, (1997) Major Offender: Robin Williams
Was Sean Maguire supposed to be from Southie? His accent sounds forced, and more like a Kennedy than a janitor’s friend. And the way he says “Boston” in this clip is more cringe-worthy than the Yankee’s last win.
The Perfect Storm, (2000)
The Gloucester fisherman’s accent is not that of a Southie, sure, but, um, some of these accents don’t seem to fit either category. And no, points won’t be awarded for gratuitous “wicked” usage.
Mystic River, (2003)
This movie is a good lesson in accent consistency — or the lack thereof. Not every Boston accent is the same, but when you pick one, stick to it. Robbins, Penn, Linney — got it?