Alphabetical movie – Hatari!

Hatari! (the explanation point is part of the name) plays more like a African Safari version of How the West Was Won than it does a movie that has crazy things like “characters” and “plot.”  Through a series of vignettes, we meet several people of varying nationalities who spend their lives catching animals in Africa.  Don’t worry – they aren’t poachers.  The animals are being caught to put in zoos.

Much of the film involves long sequences of these characters trying to catch animals on the savannah and it must have looked awesome projected on the big screen.  The story, such as it is, involves some romantic entanglements between a few of the characters but it is nearly 100% irrelevant.  The attraction is the setting, not the story.

For me, one the attraction is John Wayne.  He was in a lot of movies but this film might feature Wayne at his Wayniest.  For anyone looking to find work as a John Wayne impersonator, I suggest practicing how he delivers the line “Well no wonder you’re green around the gills.” If you can master that, you have mastered The Duke.

Try to find ways to work it into regular conversation.  People will think it is strange at first but eventually they will accept it as a quirky personality trait that makes you special.  Will it annoy them?  Almost certainly.

Call it a bonus.

The film is about 90% Wayne.  The other actors were well-known names at the time but to most modern audiences, Wayne is the focal point.  Three times bigger than anyone else on the screen and twice as loud, he is the focus of just about every scene.

If he isn’t on the screen, the characters that are on the screen are talking about him.

It makes me wonder if the advertisements for the film were something like “See Hatari!  Starring John Wayne!  Also Starring Timba the Elephant, Simba the cheetah and Bilbo the wildebeest!  Other actors also appearing!.”

Wayne, who I would like to believe must have had something of a sense of humor about himself by that point, swaggers about the film looking almost like a caricature of himself.  At one point, he walks across the screen in a way so stereotypically John Wayne, it is as if he was saying to all those Wayne impersonators out there “YOU can’t walk like John Wayne.  I’m going to show you how to walk like John Wayne!”

The man even did his own stunts on the film.  “Let a stunt double dodge a rhino tusk?  Forget that shit.  I’m John Fucking Wayne.  That Rhino won’t just be fucking with an actor, he’ll be fucking with the embodiment of manhood.  The badassiest of the badass.  Chuck Norris, in his most secretest of secret desires wishes he were me.  I don’t do pansy ass karate.  I just punch the shit out of people.  And Rhinos.  Come on, Rhino – BRING IT!!!!”

The John Wayne I  envision drank a lot of coffee.  Too much.

John Wayne was a sex symbol for the last part of the twentieth century because he wasn’t even a little bit sexy.  You almost never saw the guy take off his shirt because let’s be honest – you didn’t want to see what was under that shirt.   Barrel chests aren’t that impressive when they are shaped like actual barrels.

You have to love that about Wayne.  I mean, if you are a guy like me or most of the guys I know.  The Duke isn’t a classically good-looking man, he isn’t in amazingly good shape.  Yet the guy was a movie star.  He was a romantic lead.  He got the girl.  Even the super skinny super model girl in Hatari!

John Wayne gave every guy with a beer gut who didn’t look like Cary Grant the (mistaken) idea that he could land a girl like Maureen O’Hara.  If Wayne could have bottled his pheromones, they might have been right.

“Wrestle with a wildebeest?  Fuck yeah!  I’m John Fucking Wayne!  More Coffee!  Someone bring me an attractive woman to kiss!”

Who is that manly now?  Arnold?  He left acting for politics AND he cheated on a Kennedy.  A Kennedy!

Bruce Willis?  Maybe.  Except he’s good looking and cut.

Besides, if Wayne had been in Die Hard, it would have been a lot shorter.  When the “terrorists” break in at the beginning of the film and Willis has to hide to formulate a plan?  Wayne would have punched the first guy out, taken his machine gun and killed the rest of the terrorists (miraculously missing every hostage) while shouting “Fuck You!  I’m John Wayne!”

Then he would have told his wife that they were through because she changed her name and walked off with every other woman in the office.

Stallone? Nah.  Wayne would have knocked out Apollo Creed in the first round without ever landing a punch.

Statham?  Good looking and cut. Also does all sort of pansy martial arts crap.  If Wayne was in The Transporter, he would have had someone else drive.

There will never be another John Wayne.  You think I’m wrong?   Better be careful you don’t say it out loud.  His ghost will come over to your place and fuck your shit up.

Right after it gets done wrestling a crocodile.

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About Petsnakereggie

Geek, movie buff, dad, musician, comedian, atheist, liberal and writer. I also really like Taco flavored Doritos.

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