At a certain point in a movie star's career, they decide that they are actors, and as such, should be able to do an accent. Sometimes, the results are impressively seamless. Other times, they are... well, this:
Blood Diamond stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a diamond dealer or diamond buyer or diamond rancher from the southern part of Africa. We should know more than that about the film. There are people on our staff who actually paid money to go see it. Unfortunately, nobody remembers much beyond DiCaprio's attempt at an African accent, which would have been less distracting had he simply replaced all his R's with W's and baby-talked the entire script.
Etymology: Paul Hogan impersonating Steve Irwin doing an insulting Jamaican accent.
"Even oi foind it insulting, mate!"
Here's the problem: Leo is a great actor and he's also a huge movie star. The second half of that equation means you'll do just about anything to get him into your movie, and the first means that, once in your movie, he's doing a motherfucking accent whether you like it or not. Even Scorcese couldn't dissuade him from randomly sprinkling a Lucky the Leprechaun impression throughout his lines in Gangs of New York.
Luckily in that film, Leo's character was the strong, silent type. He only had a haiku's worth of dialog in any given scene. No such luck in Blood Diamond. DiCaprio's a talker, and he talks like this:
Let's say that you had just been given the green light on a new biopic: Keanu Reeves: An Inexplicable Career and your two choices for the lead are Keanu Reeves and a squirrel that had stumbled into your office eating a banana. You would at least have to think about picking the banana squirrel, and tweaking a few scenes in the movie so that it was now called Banana Squirrel: Electric Buggaboo.
Out-acting Keanu Reeves ever since he found that banana in a waste basket this morning.
Which is to say that Keanu Reeves has enough trouble speaking and acting in his native tongue. Why on Earth would he try to tackle a completely different accent? To be honest, we don't have a clue, but he did exactly that in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Watch here as he just absolutely butchers every line he attempts, with a special verve saved for the entire monologue on the train.
What was that Keanu? Byyyyudapest? Where on a map is Byyyyudapest? Immediately following this movie he starred in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, finally earning one of the emotions he channeled in Dracula:
Yeah man, we can't believe it either.
Hollywood has a long, embarrassing history of pretending Asian people don't exist even when making movies about Asian people.
For instance, when it came time to cast the role of Genghis Kahn in The Conqueror, they slapped a mustache on John Wayne and told him to speak slowly.
But Wayne quite simply was not a versatile enough actor to approach the insult of Rooney's performance in Breakfast at Tiffany's. In fact, if he'd dressed up in a giant inflatable sumo wrestler suit, stole the Enola Gay and skywrote "Ching Chong" over Hiroshima, Wayne couldn't hold a candle to what Rooney did in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
It's not clear what Asian people did to Mr. Rooney. His Wikipedia entry does not mention anything about him having been orphaned at Pearl Harbor, leaving him to be raised by a pack of wild World War II propaganda posters, but that's the only way it makes sense that this man:
Was cast to play this race of people:
And the end result was this:
Dick Van Dyke is a legend, having managed to land several roles in a slew of immortal children's movies that will be watched by kid for the next several hundred years. They are: Bye Bye Birdie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and, of course, Mary Poppins. We won't go so far as to say Van Dyke isn't talented. He's a comedy legend after all. So we'll just go ahead and point out that it's fairly easy to make children laugh.
Upon re-watching Poppins, you might be overwhelmed by a nostalgia for the singable, hummable tunes, but that should soon give way to a startling realization: Dick Van Dyke has the worst British accent ever filmed. Ever. Seriously, people have voted. Even singing most of his lines, his accent bleeds through like a thick sharpie through tissue paper. It's thick, impossible to ignore and sweet Jesus is it awful.
There's an old Hollywood legend that when Michael Caine saw Mr. Van Dyke confidently slaughter any semblance of a Cockney accent, he did nothing, because back in the 60s Michael Caine was too busy fucking everything to death.
Michael Caine: How Real Men Talk