Shutter Island opens today, which adds another to a long line of movies that for no apparent reason go unnecessarily out of their way to feature a star performing his rendition of a terrible Boston accent. Mark Ruffalo can finally join the ranks of Robin Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ben Affleck, Jack Nicholson and Mel Gibson of hitting the career pinnacle to perform a terrible Boston accent in a feature film.
Why have there been so many movies that take place in Boston for no reason whatsoever? Shutter Island, The Departed, Edge of Darkness, Boondock Saints 2, Fever Pitch, all in the name of letting a star who might not be able to locate Boston on a map give his rendition of butchering the local dialect.
There are a few theories that might account for this. First is that there is simply a bet between A-List Hollywood stars to try and see who can put the worst Boston accent on screen. This would be plausible and certainly explains the outcome, but the motivations wouldn’t be there and it’s too ironic to be gleaned from pure joy.
It could be akin to how Twitter trends start where Robin Williams gets the nod for Good Will Hunting and adds the little #BadBostonAccents hashtag to his IMDb credits, so now everyone wants one. It’s like how word spread about donations to Haiti except the first part of the word, “Earthquake,” sounds like, Eaauuath.
I feel bad that this movie features Ben Kingsley’s terrible Boston accent. This is an esteemed actor who played Gandhi, and now we have to envision Gandhi accidentally drinking the roofie-spiked green beer that Sully intended for Denise to drink so they could have a wicked crazy night.
The most likely explanation is through a clerical error that gave a focus group at the Dorchester Mall way too much influence over Hollywood executives. As though there was a mixup that says, “Average Americans’ Taste,” refers to a group of Bruins fans who just dug their car out of a wicked nor’easter.
This will lead to a whole slew of Hollywood tentpole releases skewed to a suburban Boston audience and mar (sorry, maaahhh) cinema for the next decade. We’re in for a whole slew of movies starring Ben Affleck as an Irish Catholic alcoholic placed in a romantic comedy with Tilda Swindon, who snaps and decides to assassinate homosexuals while undercover as a hockey player.
So as you slog through all the deleted scenes of Mark Wahlberg trying to crack himself up by saying, “Pahk the cah at Hahvahd Yahd,” just remember that the cinema’s portrayal of Boston and Bostonites is 100 percent on the money.