CH & I went to see "The Help" on Saturday afternoon. CH didn't know anything about the book, but after watching the trailer, thought it would be worth seeing. We walked into the theater (Thank you, Fandango: No standing in line for tickets!) to find it almost filled....with women. There was just a smattering of men here and there, and they were mostly elderly gentlemen sitting with their wives. (BTW: our local theater has a deal where you buy a bucket of popcorn-it's $12 right now- and you can bring it back and get it refilled for $2.50 until 2012. The little girl with the cartoon voice at the concessions was quite the seller...she mentioned that we could bring it in if we were having a movie night at home and take the popcorn home!) By the time the movie started, the theater was sold out.
What an awesome job they did with that movie! They did an amazing job with bringing the characters to life, and stayed pretty true to the book. There were a couple of things that were different, but not so much that it took away from the book. The little girls that played Mae Mobley were adorable. But the best part: the accents. As a southern woman, I abhor watching movies or shows with fakey southern accents. If you're from the south, I see you nodding your heads. Y'all know what I'm talking about.
Some people think that all southern accents are the same. They're not. Even in Tennessee, East Tn. accents are different from Middle & West Tennessee. Heck, even in the county where I live, you can tell what part of the county somebody is from by the way they talk. You can tell if they're from the mountains as opposed to in town.
One show that absolutely kills me is "The Closer". I like the show, but I had a hard time getting passed Kyra Sedgwick's fake southern accent. I've never heard somebody talk like that in real life. People think all Texans have a pronounced "drawl": When my parents moved to Tn., people asked my mom if she was from NJ. No lie.
You know who has a great southern accent? Reese Witherspoon in "Sweet Home Alabama". Perfect. Of course, part of it may have to do with the fact that she was born in New Orleans and grew up in Nashville. Some other women who did southern accents well were the women from "Designing Women", although Jean Smart's was a little forced. Guess it helped that the other 3 were from the south.
You know what really gets to me? When I watch a show and the character is an African-American with a southern accent. In my whole life of living in the south, I've heard one African-American speaking with a southern accent: Carolyn Peck, who grew up about an hour away from where I live. And, she is bi-racial. If you don't know who Carolyn Peck is, she was a basketball player at Vanderbilt who went on to be the head coach at Perdue and Florida; she now is a basketball analyst for women's college and professional basketball. A-A's have their own accent. Especially in the Low-country of SC with the heavy influence of Gullah.
So, that's my take on southern accents. Just a brief note about northern accents: When I watched the mini-series "The Kennedys" on netflix over the summer, Katie Holmes' rendition of Jackie Kennedy Onassis just about did me in. She did a great job of looking the part of Jackie, but when she opened her mouth I about gagged. You know those old mobsters movies that have the blond bimbo talking like they're just stupid? That's what she sounded like. I'm fairly certain Jackie didn't sound like that. I'd even go so far to say that she was turning over in her grave.
If you're not from the South, I'd love to hear your take on southern accents: Do you really believe that all southerners talk like Kyra in "The Closer"? What about yankee accents on tv? Are they pretty true, or do the actors over-emphasize those, too?