Rogue 10: Ten Outstanding John Wayne Impressions

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 09:36 Written by  iamrogue
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Rogue 10: Ten Outstanding John Wayne Impressions

John Wayne.

What else is there to say, really?  There are movie stars, there are icons, and then there are legends.  John Wayne was all three and even more. 

The Duke transcended mere stardom, personifying not just a heroic presence on screen, but a bygone ideal of American masculinity.  John Wayne presented the America – its ideals, its physicality, its history, its peculiar spirit – as America saw itself and, in turn, how the world saw the country in the middle of the 20th century.

Today, Warner Bros. Entertainment releases John Wayne: The Epic Collection, the perfect way to celebrate the star and his legacy.

This 38-disc DVD collection spans a whopping 40 movies from John Wayne's incredible catalog of more than 140 starring roles, bringing the cream of the crop to your DVD shelf. 

Included in the set are (in chronological order): Big Stampede, Ride Him Cowboy, Haunted Gold, Telegraph Trail, Somewhere in Sonora, Man from Monterey, Allegheny Uprising, Reunion in France, Tall in the Saddle, Back to Bataan, They Were Expendable, Without Reservations, Tycoon, Fort Apache, The Three Godfathers, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, Flying Leathernecks, Operation Pacific, Big Jim McLain, Trouble Along the Way, Blood Alley, The Sea Chase, The Searchers, The Wings of Eagles, Rio Bravo, Hatari, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, How The West Was Won, Donovan's Reef, In Harm's Way, The Sons of Katie Elder, El Dorado, The Green Berets, True Grit, Chisum, The Cowboys, Cahill: U.S. Marshall, The Train Robbers, McQ, and The Shootist.

The collectors edition set also boasts hours upon hours of special features from audio commentary to behind the scenes documentaries to classic short films and animated clips.  John Wayne: The Epic Collection also boasts a full coffee table book, lobby cards, photographs, memorabilia, and replica personal correspondence by the Duke himself.

To mark today's release of John Wayne: The Epic Collection, we here at IAR thought that instead of offering a ROGUE 10 of classic John Wayne moments, we would instead examine his pop-culture wake.  Specifically, we set out to compile a list of John Wayne impressions that have, over the years, captured our imaginations and made us appreciate Wayne even more.

So, without further ado, we present our latest ROGUE 10, a list of ten outstanding John Wayne impressions:

10. Peter Griffin (Seth MacFarlane), Family Guy

Okay, so the point of this impression, buried within an extended Spies Like Us bit, is actually that it's terrible, but we had to start somewhere.

9. Michael Caine

Skip to about 2:25 into the interview above to hear frequently-imitated Michael Caine do John Wayne doing Shakespeare. 

8. Ted (Brad Johnson), Always

Steven Spielberg's maligned A Guy Named Joe remake has a brief but delightful Duke imitation from Brad Johnson, one parried by Holly Hunter's own not-so-strong version.  Embeds have proven tricky, but you can catch the clip, complete with ghostly Richard Dreyfuss, by following this link.

7. Ryan Stiles, Whose Line Is It Anyway

As an improv performer, Stiles has a deep bag of tricks, but very few he seems to relish more than his absurd take on Wayne.

6. Private Joker (Matthew Modine), Full Metal Jacket

The most subversive entry on the list finds a green Marine recruit dropping a perfectly timed John Wayne, righteously pissing off R. Lee Ermey and making quite clear the difference between Stanley Kubrick's deconstruction of war movie mythology and the prodigious war movie output of our man Wayne.

5. and 4. Armand (Robin Williams) and Albert Goldman (Nathan Lane), The Birdcage

If you're ever attempting to be more butch, there's no better style to ape than that of the Duke.  Hopefully you have better luck than Albert, who tries his damnedest but just can't quite pull off a swagger.

3. Leon (Jean Reno), Leon: The Professional

A French assassin with a heart of gold playacting as an American gunslinger with a heart of gold.  Jean Reno's impression is amusingly stiff and awkward, but immediately gets the point across.  Unless, of course, you're Natalie Portman, who guesses Leon is evoking an entirely different western icon.

2. Rich Little

Your dad's favorite impressionist, Rich Little doesn't get enough credit among today's youngsters.  Perhaps, then, the comedian belting out "Singing in the Rain" as Wayne on The Muppet Show will pique some curiosity, then.  Skip to about 21:45 to see this vintage bit of absurdity that far predates mashup culture.

1. Jack Burton (Kurt Russell), Big Trouble in Little China

Probably the best thing in a movie jam-packed with great things, Kurt Russell's performance as in-way-over-his-head truck driver Jack Burton is a feature-length nod to John Wayne, a gem that basically pumps a bunch of Duke-isms into a cartoon.  It's a thing of beauty, one that may just have made Wayne proud.

As of today, May 20th, John Wayne: The Epic Collection is now on sale, so check it out for yourself or for the John Wayne fanatic in your family.

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