Let’s Dig Up John Wayne

To be the star of an action movie usually requires charisma and athleticism, which is why Hollywood seems to be enamored with filling these roles with the elderly. Why create new stars when you can just insert the stars of thirty years ago? I personally believe that you shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken, and until Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis crumble underneath the weight of simple gravity, we should be within our rights to put them on top of as many speeding cars and throw them out of as many helicopters as possible. Fans of the Star Wars franchise are dead set on having Harrison Ford reprise the role of Han Solo in the upcoming Episode VII, if only because there is some masochistic pleasure to be had in watching Indiana Jones die in front of us.

The older, the better, right? Unlucky for us, Clint Eastwood retired from acting before we could grind his brittle frame into dust, so we have to go back further and up the ante. That’s why we should ignore any questions that we might have with “morality” and dig up John Wayne.

When there's no more room in hell, pilgrim.

When there’s no more room in hell, pilgrim.

I understand that the members of his family will beg and scream and claw at our jackets as we shovel out the earth from around his coffin. They just don’t understand the whims of the entertainment industry. They’ll collapse to their knees and pray that it’s just a nightmare to be woken up from, but the thump of our shovels finally hitting the hard wood of the casket lid will provide all the awakening that they need.

“Please, God. Please, God…stop.”

It doesn’t matter what the mix of time and biology has done to the corpse. Some tanning will do wonders from the graying, molded tatters of skin and bone that we will collect from the sarcophagus.

We will prop up John Wayne in his trademark cowboy outfit, and announce the release of True Grit 3: Retribution. We don’t even have a script yet, but those things practically write themselves, you know? Co-starring Michelle Rodriguez and WWE superstar Big Show, it will be the #1 hit of July 2016.

If it doesn’t, at least we’ll make a killing on DVD/BluRay rentals.

After that, he’ll probably be contacted to guest host SNL, and we’ll marionette him in front of a live studio audience. We’ll put him in a sketch that parodies old actors in action movies, which will prove that he has a sense of humor, even after all these years under the dirt. He’ll stare at Kenan Thompson with those lifeless, black holes in his skull and you’ll swear that you feel the presence of someone else in the room, even though you are by yourself. Critics will probably say that he has “poor comedic timing,” but that’s no way to respect the dead.

At this point, he’d be bankable enough to star in an Expendables film. He’ll do his little song and dance, and say “Pilgrim” a lot, as audiences will get that joke and laugh because they recognize it and not because it’s an actual type of funny that we had to work for. He’ll reference his old films, despite the fact that these references have no fucking context in the current situations. Box office receipts have proven that there’s nothing that the general public will respond to with more excitement than a line from The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance just crammed haphazardly into the dialogue, like a plug in a cartoon sinking ship.

Then, he’ll fistfight Dolph Lundgren or Jet Li, like we dreamed about as kids, remember? Nostalgia is key in all of this, even when it makes no sense or doesn’t exist at all. Don’t worry about all the technicalities of having John Wayne perform strenuous scenes. By the time 2017 rolls around, both Jet and Dolph will be held together by rubber cement and their own camouflage pants. We’ll shoot it in a way that you won’t be able to tell who is who for the most part, hiding any chance that it’s obvious that John Wayne is dislocating his everything.

People will call us monsters for this, but we’ll deflect these criticisms with John Wayne himself, because it’s way harder to hate a man who is, at the time of writing this plan, one-hundred-and-six-years-old. Imagine how hard it is to insult your grandparents. Now, imagine how hard it is to insult the guy that your grandparents idolized in movies when they were children. It just adds more layers of guilt on the offending party. They’re douchebags for even thinking a bad thought about John Wayne. When he accepts the award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Drama at the Golden Globes, for his severely understated role as a forgetful grandfather in Spike Jonze’s Goodbye, Goodbye, everyone will be silenced. We will be pulling in both money AND respect.

And finally, when nature has taken its course, and John Wayne’s remains have gone from being a young, fresh, Frankenstein’d piece to a pile on the floor of a green screen, we’ll sweep it to the side and one up ourselves again, reciting a secret incantation and summoning Lon Chaney from his resting place in the infinite dark beyond.


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