How beef jerky keeps tarnishing movies I enjoy

Beef jerky is survival. Portable, non-perishable, packed with protein and delicious salt it’s been sustaining man for centuries. And while I spend 90 percent of my time seated comfortably at a desk and the other 10 percent of the time lazily checking Twitter updates on my phone when forced to venture out and deal with society, I still like to consider myself a survivalist.

I play the “Zombie Apocalypse” survival game all the time in my head. If the shit went down and I was stuck in this Random Store X with a zombie horde outside the doors, how would I defend myself? Would I take the chrome bar the polos are currently hanging from, remove it from the slat wall and use it as a club? Or would I be better off finding a cache of lighters and some aerosol accelerants? Standing in line at Marshall’s yesterday it occurred to me that there’s actually quite a bit of food out there that would last for ages. Jelly Belly’s, shortbread cookies, chocolate covered pretzels, all the crap that ends up in Christmas stockings, it was all there within arms reach. The weapons at Marshall’s leave a little to be desired but in the first few months after the world becomes a wasteland? You, one of a handful of lone survivors, should totally stop in while all the other fools are eating the bugs left in the produce bins at the grocery store.

There was no jerky, however. If there was I’d be eating it right now. I’m a bit of a jerky aficionado. As a boy, the after church Sunday routine was to head to my uncle’s house where a giant jar of deer jerky was always on hand. I’ve been eating it – deer, beef, turkey, doesn’t matter – ever since. No road trip is complete without it.

But two movies I recently liked would’ve been much more complete without it. Here’s the problem. Around 2005 Jack Links beef jerky changed their logo. They used to have a cool logo reminiscent of the Hereford United crest. Now they have some sort of modern bull-like symbol and a Sasquatch.

I wasn’t too worked up over the redesign until it showed up in the famous “friend-o” scene of No Country for Old Men. Javier Barden is deciding poor but lovable yokel’s fate with a coin flip and I can’t focus because the Jack Links display, as it appears in the movie, couldn’t possibly have looked that way in 1980. Everything else looks right except that damn beef jerky.

It only took me about four years to get over this. But then I was watching The Fighter a few weeks back and there was the Jack Links again. Right there, on the nightstand, a post-2005 pouch of jerky providing sustenance to a battered mid-90s Micky Ward. That movie was full of anachronisms – the Citizen’s Bank and Patriots logos were wrong – but it’s only the jerky that really gets me. That’s my wheelhouse.

The only way I can think to remedy this is a personal boycott of Jack Links. Nothing but Tillamook Country Smoker sausages for me from here on out. I know its not Jack Links fault, it’s the filmmakers’, but I don’t encounter a set designer every time I step into a gas station. This is the only avenue I have.

If I were working on a movie would I really halt production to get period-appropriate beef jerky? Actually, I probably would. That’s just me.

The good news, I guess, is that I don’t know enough about type design to ruin Mad Men. Not yet anyway, but it’s a long time until summer 2012.


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