Southie Stories

Feature

Friday, September 03, 2010

Ben Affleck's new film "The Town" is the latest in a run of movies — from "Gone Baby Gone" to "The Departed" — set in working-class Boston. But Hollywood’s attempts to nail the accent drive real Bostonians, like author Dennis Lehane, nuts. Produced by Eric Molinsky.

    Music Playlist
  • I'm Shipping Up to Boston
    Artist: Dropkick Murphys
    Album: The Departed Soundtrack
    Label: Warner Bros
    Purchase: Amazon

Contributors:

Eric Molinsky

Comments [7]

Jimmy from Oakland

I think Larry Clark's film "Bully" is an uncanny depiction of the typical Florida suburb. The ensemble cast are unflinching in their performance of the sun stricken characters that filled my hometown. The void of culture displayed in the film is a painfully accurate representation of the transplant communities found along Florida's coast. The scene where Leo Fitzpatrick stands in his driveway while the camera performs a 360 degree pan showing the unrelenting heat and absolute delusion cultivated in Florida. It was the "Air-conditioned Nightmare" of my youth explained in film.

Sep. 07 2010 09:10 PM
Rachel from Fargo, ND

As a Fargo resident, I definitely feel like "Fargo" does disservice to the town of Fargo itself. But as the first commenter mentioned, it hit spot-on with the portrayals of Minnesota and the infamous Minnesota accent. I even know people from small Minnesota towns who won "Best Minnesota Accent" at their high school graduations. Maybe naming the movie "Bemidji" would have been a better choice. I can't count the number of times I've been traveling and said I live in Fargo, only to hear, "Ohhh, like the movie?"

The most accurate part of "Fargo" is the depiction of the barrenness of winters here. It really is that frigid, that white, that dark for 6 months (or more) each year. We basically only make national news for our extreme weather.

Sep. 05 2010 10:42 PM
Thomas Leet from Exeter, NH (Formerly Ipswich, MA)

"Boston Accent" is a blanket term that covers endless variants all along the Massachusetts Bay shore, and fairly deep inland. Every town, urban neighborhood, class, religion, etc. has it's own twist on the accent. We're very parochial. I commend any actor that masters any one "Boston Accent," but we will endlessly debate whether or not it was the right choice. The only way to hit a "Boston Accent" spot on is to analyze the character's entire life. Exact where did she grow up and when? What were her class, religion, aspirations, associations, etc.? That establishes the base accent. Then the actor must ask, where has her character been in adulthood? Where does she live now? Where does she work now and what is her job? These things cause accent drift that must be added to the base accent. If an actor can sell us an accent that isn't merely geographically accurate, but rather an accent that tells us her character's life history then the accent is spot on, and beyond debate.

Sep. 05 2010 04:11 PM
Heidi from Los Angeles

Crash was the worst depiction of LA I have ever seen. Having traveled to 48 states and all over the world, I can honestly say, (I'm bi-racial by the way) that LA is the least racist city I've ever been in. I've been called the n-word in Britian, and not served in a restaurant in Boston, I've experienced it all - but never in LA. Other Angelenos have agreed with me on this - we hate that film.

Sep. 05 2010 02:58 PM
Hugh Moffatt from Nashville, TN

The Altman film "Nashville" failed because it misunderstood country music. The intent of the film was to use the Nashville music industry as a metaphor for superficiality in America. There is potential in the idea. I can see it working, but first you would have to really "get" country music.

Altman's device of letting his actors write and sing their own songs belittled the talent and hard work of country music professionals and insulted country music fans. The only place it worked was Keith Carradine's struggling songwriter character. The rough self-reflecting directness of his song was exactly what you hear at Nashville's writers nights. The rest of the music (and singing) was embarrassing.

The upshot was that the movie failed its mission. Most American movie viewers never saw themselves. It was all the problems of the dumb hillbillies on music row.

Sep. 05 2010 12:31 PM
Yochanan from Milpitas/San Jose CA

I am commenting on the great LACK of movies with anything to do with San Jose. This 10th largest city in the US is neglected in favor of our "smaller city" (in both population and land mass) to the north: San Francisco. I have only seen San Jose mentioned in 2 films, one was "Outbreak," the other was "Honeymoon in Vegas." The most noteworthy thing was that they mention it as either an airport where the protagonist has to land briefly (Honeymoon...). Or a place where something is stored or shipped to, I can't remember (Outbreak). In both cases, there is no skyline shot, or anything recognizable at all. There are only generic shots of a clock on the wall and some nondescript interiors that could have been filmed anywhere, and probably were. Yet, when San Jose was mentioned in "Honeymoon in Vegas," when I saw it in the theater in San Jose, the audience cheered. It is time that Hollywood started showing this great city and actually filming something here.

Sep. 05 2010 10:31 AM
Nick Reynolds from Twin Cities Minnesota

Fargo was spot on in depicting the Minnesotan accent, and the Minnesota culture and way of being, though many Minnesotans didn't like the film because they felt it got those all wrong. The reality, from my point of view, is that it hit too close to home.
A perfect example is the scene in the restaurant where after asking her old classmate to move across the table from her when he starts "putting the moves" on her, she helps him save face by claiming she wanted that so she could talk to him easier by having him sit across from her. That's quintessential Minnesotan in the effort taken to not be direct but to talk around subjects for various reasons whether its to spare someone's feelings, or not confront or what avoid the heart of a matter--what have you. I died laughing during that and other scenes for how "right" they got it.

Sep. 03 2010 08:47 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.