St Patrick's Day 2016: Are these the worst Irish accents in film history?
... and one exception to the rule
Published 16/03/2016 | 10:09
Granted, the gentle lilt of an Irish accent makes it one of the most difficult to perfect.
Even the most experienced of thespians have been known to slide from one Celtic drawl into another from time-to-time.
Kevin Spacey, for example, is not usually a man we'd hold accountable for crimes against cinema.
And one of the worst Irish accents ever committed to the silver screen came out of the mouth of an actual Irishman (scroll down for details).
Still, it remains somewhat of a uniquely troubling dialect for actors in modern movies, who vocally bob and weave between the streets of Dublin and a grassy knoll in the Welsh valleys every few lines, before sliding down dale into Scottish and skirting round the West Country.
So, to celebrate St Patrick's Day, we've rounded up some of the worst attempts to master the Paddy tone from Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own to Sean Connery's serious case of accentual CBAs in The Untouchables.
Tom Cruise as ‘Joseph Donnelly’ – Far And Away (1992)
Mr Cruise has played some cracking roles in his time (let's not forget the spandex-clad elf in Legend, for example), and the character Joseph Donnelly - a poverty-stricken Irish immigrant struggling to find his feet on US soil - is one such part. And by cracking, we obviously mean laughably bad. Starring opposite then-wife Nicole Kidman, it rarely gets worse than this.
Sean Connery as ‘Jim Malone’ – The Untouchables (1987)
Sean Connery appears to have completely bypassed the character description of Jim Malone when he read the script for The Untouchables. Particularly the bit that noted he was of Irish persuasion. So he doesn't even bother with the accent, instead using a slightly comical version of his own softly diffused Scottish drawl.
Brad Pitt as ‘Rory Devaney’ – The Devil’s Own (1997)
1997 really wasn't all that long ago. Which is why we can't fail to be tickled by repeat bad accent offender Brad Pitt's Irish lift in The Devil's Own.
Brad Pitt as ‘Mickey O’Neil’ – Snatch (2000)
Yes, Brad again, this time playing Mickey O'Neill, the completely incomprehensible Irish gypsy in Guy Ritchie's English gangster movie Snatch. Cash prize for anyone that can understand what he's actually saying in this one (though that's, you know, kind of what the character's meant to sound like).
Julia Roberts as ‘Mary Reilly’ – Mary Reilly (1996)
What's more offensive? Her accent, her endless monotone, or her misplaced eyebrows? Jekyll and Hyde horror Mary Reilly was not one of Julia Roberts' finest moments.
Tommy Lee Jones as ‘Ryan Gaerity’ – Blown Away (1994)
Everything about Tommy Lee Jones' IRA terrorist in Blown Away is a stereotype. Except for that accent, which is so diabolical, it's barely identifiable.
Kevin Spacey as ‘Michael Lynch’ – Ordinary Decent Criminal (2000)
You'd have thought Irish director Thaddeus O’Sullivan and Dublin bad boy Collin Farrell would have had a stern word with Kevin Spacey over his shocking accent in Ordinary Decent Criminal. But alas, they allowed him to continue vocally unchallenged.
Pierce Brosnan as ‘Taffin’ – Taffin (1988)
But by far the worst Irish accent ever to grace the silver screen fell from the beer-soaked lips of an authentic Irishman. Dear Pierce Brosnan, there's just no excuse for this monstrosity!
But there's always an exception...
Seth Rogen's new animated film Sausage Party kicks off like any adorable Pixar with chirpy packets of food in a supermarket hoping to be 'chosen' and taken home by people. The sausages and potatoes etc are very much like the toys in Toy Story - they just want to be loved.
However, this colourful animation is no kids' film as the trailer rapidly reveals... A humble Irish potato is delighted to be chosen, with his peers, and taken home, but his joy is short-lived as the woman proceeds to skin him alive.
"The pipes the pipes are calling," he sings in typical Oirish fashion, but then she attacks him with the potato peeler.
"Oh Jesus, oh f***, she's peelin me f***in skin!"
Yep,it's not for kids but it looks like it could be the comedy of the year for adults, and we see nothing wrong with the swearing potato's accent...
Independent News Service