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King Corn

Documentary movie directed by Aaron Woolf

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Make Mine an Unsweetened Iced Tea Please

  • Jan 25, 2010
King Corn is one of those rare documentaries that is both informative and engaging to watch.  I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and felt that I gained a better understanding of the issues in US agriculture today at the same time.

All documentaries have a point-of-view, and this one is no exception, but it is not of the mean-spirited, sledgehammer variety made popular by Michael Moore.  The premise and story of the movie draws you in at the beginning, which gives the writers time to lay the foundation for the conclusions presented toward the end.

Two college best friends decide to move back to the same Iowa town where coincidentally a great-grandfather of each had lived.  They spend a year there raising corn on one acre of rented farm land.  The movie is presented chronologically in monthly sections, where a different aspect of corn production is explored each month.  This simple structure allows the protagonists to encounter various local people involved in different aspects of the industry, to illustrate the history of corn farming, and to present statistics and information gleaned from their investigations and explorations.

Both of the young men in this film are likeable and low-key in personality.  They are very respectful in their interactions with others.  I guess you could classify this as a "buddy documentary," as we get to see these two friends playing whiffle ball together through the various seasons and traveling around in their worn and vintage pickup truck.  These elements humanize the story and keep it from appearing to be just an educational film with history, statistics, and information.

I appreciate the very natural and subtle way the writers were able to detail the drastic changes that have occurred in American agriculture over the last 100 years.  The shifts brought about by the industrial revolution and the shifts brought about by changing governmental policy were portrayed with great clarity.  The results of the first shift are widely recognized, but the results of the second shift are not yet part of the American consciousness.

As we grapple with the challenges of providing adequate health care for all in the United States, this movie makes you wonder what kind of morass we have created for ourselves due to the type of food we have come to embrace as a culture.  Although I believe Earl Butz probably had good intentions when he reversed the goal of US agricultural policy, the changes he instituted have sent this nation on a destructive path of poor nutrition and unhealthy eating habits.  Hopefully this movie will help to mitigate against this trend and expose the dangerous realities that confront the US today.
Make Mine an Unsweetened Iced Tea Please Make Mine an Unsweetened Iced Tea Please Make Mine an Unsweetened Iced Tea Please Make Mine an Unsweetened Iced Tea Please

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July 07, 2011
We need to encourage more nutritious food choices and tax junk food virtually out of existence. Then health care costs will go down.
July 07, 2011
We sure need to do something. Things are not getting better.
June 04, 2010
the words "buddy documentary" peaked my interest. I will add this to my queve...
February 04, 2010
I love it ... a "buddy documentary" ... you sold me right there. I enjoyed Food, Inc. a lot - but this sounds like a somewhat friendlier format to make similar points. Thanks for the recco, it's in the queue!
February 03, 2010
Netflix - click! Thanks for the review - it's sounds interesting.
February 03, 2010
Buddy documentary?  I like the sound of that!  Plus, I've always wanted to live on a farm, so that also perks my interests in this.  Thanks for sharing, Dave.  I'm going to try to find this online!
More King Corn reviews
review by . May 14, 2010
posted in Healthy Lifestyle
   My family loved Super Size Me. We've watched it several times and always with horrified fascination at the downward spiral of Morgan Spurlock during his 30-day fast-food experiment.       A friend recommended King Corn and once she told me the premise I had to see it.       King Corn does with ingredients what Super Size Me did with McDonald's.       Two recent college grads set out to discover the whats, whys and hows of high …
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David P. Nesbitt ()
Ranked #70
Soul: The first thing to know about me is that my worldview is decidedly Christian. Therefore, my chief end in life is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. My content on this site and my life in general … more
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About this movie


Picking up whereSuper Size Meleft off,King Cornexamines America's health woes through the multifaceted lens of one humble grain. Director Aaron Woolf and co-writers Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis offer irrefutable proof that the US is virtually drowning in the stuff. Corn meal, corn starch, hydrologized corn protein, and high fructose corn syrup fuel a multitude of products, from soft drinks to hamburgers. The starchy vegetable grows with ease and government subsidies insure over-abundant production. Woolf documents the 11-month effort of college friends Cheney and Ellis, who trace their ancestry to the same small Iowa town, to raise their own crop. After finding a farmer willing to lend them an acre, they meet with agronomists, historians, and other experts before plowing, seeding, and spraying. Prior to harvesting, the easygoing Yale grads travel to Colorado to compare the grass-fed cattle of yore with today's corn-fed counterparts; then to New York to explore the links between corn syrup, obesity, and diabetes. With assistance from author Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma), a whimsical score, and stop-motion animation--farm toys and corn kernels--Woolf and associates bring biochemistry to vivid life. On a micro level, this genial eye-opener celebrates friends and farmers; on a macro level,King Cornbemoans the subsidies and genetic modifications that have turned a formerly protein-filled product into the fatty "yellow dent no. 2." Bonus features include a music ...
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Genre: Documentary
Screen Writer: Ian Cheney, Curt Ellis
Runtime: 1hr 30min

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