Arnold Palmer Spiked
Today’s Mistake: Arnold Palmer Spiked. The 19th hell.
5% alcohol by volume
710 ml can
Let’s discuss Liar Liar for a moment.
Once or twice a year, without fail, I see Liar Liar poke out while wading through Comcast programming menus. For some reason, I’m always compelled to throw it on, convinced I’ll watch just a few scenes and move on with my life. Of course, I’m full of shit. I watch the entire movie through, every time, because I’m inexplicably drawn to this film.
That’s strange, in and of itself, because it’s a largely forgettable comedy released in 1997, back when Jim Carrey was on fire and perhaps the country’s biggest comedic star. I often debated internally, desperate to figure out why I could never turn it off. Was there some formative life lesson I’d learned as a seven year-old kid when I first saw it? Was it just nostalgia? Fear of getting old? Baseball stuff?
Nah. It was fucking Jerry.
It’s hard to find a fictional character who got boned harder than old Jerry. There are more tragic characters, for sure, and characters who have harder lives and endure more misfortune. Jerry, by all accounts, is a really nice guy who wants nothing more than to be a good husband & father. Liar Liar takes him down at every opportunity, and it pisses me off.
If you’re not familiar with the film: Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is a workaholic lawyer trying to win back the affection of his estranged wife, Audrey (Maura Tierney) and their young son Max (Justin Cooper). Jerry (Cary Elwes) is courting Audrey, and is presented as the antithesis of Fletcher: honest, caring, and genuine. Fletcher misses Max’s birthday, and Max makes a wish: for one day, his father cannot tell a lie. It comes true, and that’s essentially the plot . You could do that in 1997!
As an audience, we’re meant to side with Fletcher. He’s ostensibly the “good guy,” and the movie tries to manipulate us into rooting for him, while also cheering on Jerry’s demise. What’s bizarre is that the movie succeeds on some level, unless you look at the facts independent of the movie’s narrative. Since it’s a 90 minute comedy and not a Dostoyevsky novel, we don’t get much insight into what makes Jerry tick. So let’s start with what we know:
- His name is Jerry
- Jerry’s a goofy fucking name and everyone knows it
- He’s a generic GLWG (good looking white guy)
- He’s a “hospital administrator,” which could mean anything. We can infer two things from it: he earns a decent salary, and he holds some sort of degree
- He loves Audrey, and she doesn’t love him back
- He loves Max, and wants to be an attentive, loving father to him
- He’s corny and wholesome in a Ned Flanders way
- He’s moving to Boston and wants Audrey and Max to come with him
- He can’t do The Claw
Now, let’s take a look at Fletcher:
- His name is Fletcher, which is a stupid first name and everyone knows it
- It’s still better than fucking Jerry
- He lies constantly
- He’s a high powered and effective, if somewhat unethical lawyer
- He’s addicted to his job
- He’s missed Max’s birthday on numerous occasions, and it’s inferred he’s neglected Audrey myriad times
- He still loves Audrey, and Max of course, but can’t stop fucking up
- He’s super charming, and remarkably compelling in the court room
- His boss wants to have sex with him
- He drives a sick convertible
- He has unpaid parking tickets
- He invented The Claw
Neither of these guys is a tremendous catch on paper, but if you’re a mother with a young son, you’re going with Jerry every time, right? Sure, Fletcher is more interesting and charismatic, but at the end of the day, Jerry’s going to be there when everything goes to shit.
I feel so bad for Jerry because, aside from his saccharine dipshit persona, he’s every bit as capable as Fletcher. Max doesn’t love him, mostly because stepdads always have it tough, but also because Jerry isn’t as cool as his biological dad, the same dad that can’t be fucked to make it to his son’s birthday party. While I understand the need for an antagonist, I think it’s weird that Liar Liar wants us to hate him. He doesn’t do anything wrong! It’s not like he’s out harassing women or running a predatory payday loan operation.
In many ways, Jerry embodies the “nice guys finish last” trope we see so often in media. Fletcher is the alpha male that gets and takes what he wants, no matter the consequences, while Jerry gets stuck on a plane to Boston by himself. In case you’re unfamiliar with how the movie ends, Fletcher ends up running onto the tarmac at an airport, hijacking a stair car, and driving it alongside the plane containing Jerry, Audrey, and Max (remember: 1997).
Audrey and Max, clearly out of their fucking minds, find this charming, and decide to ditch Jerry on the plane and reconcile with their felonious, clinically insane husband/father. And you know what Jerry does? He acts like a mature, responsible adult! He says, “OK, I can’t make you do anything you don’t want to do, even though you’re running back to this guy who endangered the lives of every person on this plane because he’s too self-absorbed to figure out clocks.” Jerry takes it like a man!
My point here, I suppose, is that a lot of these shitty comedies from the late 90s were more nuanced than we gave them credit for. I mean you, not me. I was seven and incapable of picking up on nuance. Old Jerry wasn’t the villain; Fletcher was! And is! Fuck Jim Carrey and his weird anti-vaxxer wife.
Join me next week and wade through another 1,000 words on Keeping the Faith.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here’s some alcohol that isn’t very good.
“Hard” Arnold Palmers make a lot of sense from a marketing standpoint. You take two demographics that love drinking (golfers and teenagers) and sell them the same thing, one under the premise of “refreshment,” the other under “drinkability.” Basically, it’s easy to get shit-ripped on these things because they don’t taste anything like alcohol, at least in their mass-produced form. This one, which is officially licensed by AP’s camp, is “brewed” by Hornell Brewing Company, which as far as I can tell exists solely to manufacture this beverage. It appears to be some sort of bastard love child between Molson Coors and AriZona Beverage Company, the longtime producers of the non-alcoholic Arnold Palmer variety. I’ve reviewed at least three or four of these “Harnolds” over the years, and frankly, they’ve all sucked. Let’s see how this one fares.
Rusty water. Looks an awful lot like what you might find in a flooded basement in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Tastes less like an Arnold Palmer and more like prune juice. There’s no real “bite” but you can tell there’s at least some alcohol in this. Nasty aspartame finish.
No carbonation, just sits in your mouth like an expired box of Motts.
Ooh! The “I” in spiked is a golf tee!
Cheap as shit. Nice work Hornell.
There’s value to be had here, but honestly at 5%, you might as well just get a similarly sized can of shitty beer. Less of a headache the next day. 2 out of a possible 5.
Weird YouTube Channel of the Week – Greg Sweet (5,648 subscribers)
Are you ready for something strange? Not particularly interesting, exciting, or salacious, but just kind of weird?
Welcome to the wacky world of Greg W. Sweet:
While in college one night (I think it was 2009, maybe 2010), I was lost in a particularly vicious YouTube spiral. I’d been watching videos of people cooking kettle corn, that timeless combination of savory & sweet, and I eventually stumbled onto Greg’s YouTube page.
I’m not sure what initially drew me in, but I think it was Greg’s dollar-store Fred Durst aesthetic, and the fact that a lot of the videos of his popcorn did look pretty good. The stock iMovie intros and shoddy editing/lighting didn’t hurt. I estimate that I watched most of, if not all of his YouTube videos that night, until it became clear that Greg was running a full-fledged carnival food operation. And he runs a tight ship! Look at him go:
Not only was Greg selling his popcorn methods, he was selling gigantic popcorn machines (the Lil’ Slugger, at $2,999, seemed to me like a particularly good deal), popcorn kernels and sugars, and pneumatic pressing machines for creating “Lemon Shakers”. I was exposed to this entire industry of temporary “fair” cooking that I had no idea existed. I was completely fascinated.
Anyway, I hit subscribe, and enjoyed a video from Greg every so often without thinking much of it.
Then, a few years ago, I went to check on our man Greg and saw this interesting comment on one of his videos:
Fuck, that sucks Gary! Sorry man.
Immediately disheartened that GWS was some sort of popcorn scammer, I decided to dig a bit deeper.
I checked Greg’s “Liked Videos” playlist, and uh, this is the first video in the list:
Okay! But it gets weirder. Apparently, while I wasn’t paying attention, Greg died.
I was genuinely sad when I read that obituary. It felt strange that this radiant, possibly fraudulent popcorn man was no longer with us. In tribute, I watched a 40 or 50 of his videos.
Rest in peace GWS.