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Super Size Me

Comedy and Drama movie

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Masterful Illusion and Entertainment

  • Sep 23, 2006
Currently one of the biggest ideas in scientific study and in educational theory is that of inquiry-based learning and research, meaning that people doing research and study decide for themselves exactly what they will research and study and find their own results instead of relying upon experience, knowledge, and findings from the past. It is a good concept and usually works well, but inherit in the idea is the possibility of exploitation--it could be very easy for someone to perform an experiment to exploit a particular idea, viewpoint, etc. That's kind of what happens in SUPER SIZE ME.

In SUPER SIZE ME filmmaker Morgan Spurlock performs a month-long "experiment". For 30 days he will only eat food from McDonalds. His "rules" are fairly simple: he has to eat three meals a day, he must consume everything on the McDonald's menu at least once, and if anyone asks him to supersize his order he has to do so. Spurlock consults two doctors and a nutritionist before he begins his "experiment" and he returns once a week during his trial. At the beginning of the adventure Spurlock is completely healthy. Those are the "rule" and Spurlock follows them rigidly. During his 30 day adventure he also travels across the country meeting various interesting and quirky people to make the documentary more interesting: from a guy who eats nothing except two or three Big Macs a day to an innovated PE instructor in Naperville, IL who has developed an exercise bike attached to a video game. At the end of his 30 day jaunt, Spurlock has extremely high cholesterol and blood pressure and his liver has almost become liquefied. It's all quite extraordinary and shocking. I've heard of people who have become vegetarians and vegans after watching SUPER SIZE ME.

I enjoyed SUPER SIZE ME. It has a lot of good information and is quite entertaining. Ah, but there's the quick. The film isn't just entertaining, it's too entertaining. In doing what he does best, Spurlock reveals his hand. SUPER SIZE ME pretends to be an inquiry-based scientific study of sorts, but in reality is an exploitive movie to attack the fast food industry and the unfair and inhumane treatment of the animals they breed, raise, and buy so that they can sell their food. Don't get me wrong. I agree that the slaughter houses in which many animals are forced to live should be shut down--ranchers can earn more money, raise healthier animals, etc. if animals are allowed to be raised they way God intended and not forced to live a caged existence in feces, bile, and vomit.

However, SUPER SIZE ME pretends to not be a movie about that and instead a movie about the way the fast food industry affects average Americans. In the film, careful fallacies are used in an attempt to force a predetermined reaction from the viewer. One of Spurlock's rules is that he must eat three square meals a day. Well, most Americans don't eat a full three meals a day. Spurlock insists on having dessert with all of his meals and the only meal I've ever been used to eating dessert at is dinner. Spurlock stops exercising when he begins his experiment. Granted many Americans aren't very physical, but even the most disappointed and cynical person completes some form of exercise that Spurlock doesn't give them credit for. Also, Spurlock eats huge portions of food at each meal everyday. Most people don't do that. Of course, I've never heard of a person (except that guy who eats three Big Macs a day) who eats at McDonald's everyday.

Despite knowing this duplicity, SUPER SIZE ME still remains as a very entertaining and semi-education documentary. If nothing else, it makes a great focal point conversational piece. Now excuse me, I'm going to walk through the drive-thru at the local Burger King.

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More Super Size Me reviews
review by . May 13, 2010
Entertaining, shocking and horrifying details follow and the viewer gets an education that may inspire some serious rethinking of what is allowed on said viewer's table. Well worth the time investment.    Super Size Me inspired my family's love of quirky documentaries. (Super Size Me is also joined by the classic Best In Show Mockumentary on our list of favorites.) Though we first saw Super Size Me a few years ago it is in our DVD library and we have watched it several times. …
review by . January 05, 2008
This DVD has added material, but not just non-nutritive stuffing. There's a surrealistic interview with a couple who collects McDonald's memorabilia and an introductory analysis of how a supermarket's layout is designed to sell certain foods (guess which ones).There's a consideration of the deep-fried Twinkie- a subject that scarcely belongs with food at all and a completely revolting section on composting McDonald's.  The additions turn this into more of a complete essay on trash food, …
review by . August 20, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Documentary meister, Morgan Spurlock, goes to extremes. `Super Size Me' captures what it's like to eat nothing but McDonald's food for thirty days. Sporting a set of stated rules, Spurlock`s "ridiculous diet," as his personal physician quips, jump starts a fault finding mission with the world's largest fast food retailer. Armed with testimonials, statistics, and nutritional information, Spurlock also provides counter contrasts to compare with his extreme situation. He does show that McDonald's food …
review by . September 19, 2005
Morgan Spurlock makes a great central character in this documentary. It's bad science in the way that Michael Moore is bad science...e.g. lop-sided, already knows what side it's going to take going in, etc. Not really a documentary as much as a pseudo-documentary edited to promote one side. (This is not to say that Spurlock's conclusions are wrong about fast-food...I think they're probably accurate. It's just that there's no sense of discovery as you see in a more "objective" documentary. There …
review by . April 25, 2005
Ahhh, the good ol' Big Mac theme song. I've always loved it. I've also been very fond of the sandwich it describes. As a matter of fact, I enjoy a lot of things on McDonald's menu. "Super Size Me" introduces us to the ugly side of those loveable golden arches and that friendly-faced clown spokesman they call Ronald. Morgan Spurlock goes on a diet most of us fat folks would love to be put on in this documentary which sets out to show us how bad Mickey D's and fast food in general really are for us.    …
review by . October 02, 2004
posted in Movie Hype
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock abandoned his typically healthy diet for 30 days to make this film, opting instead to eat nothing but McDonald's menu items and capture the results of this "special" diet on film for us to see.    To be sure, the resulting documentary is extreme in principle and in concept. Nobody is really meant to eat nothing but McDonald's 3 times a day, and we all know that. What Spurlock did was provide an accelerated look into what diets heavy on fast food and …
review by . September 11, 2004
Supersize Me is a highly effective propaganda piece: it's slick, funny, and pointed. It's also not nearly as pernicious as Michael Moore's output (with which it is otherwise comparable): you don't get the sense in the same way that Spurlock is massaging facts, glossing over inaccuracies or artfully splicing quotes, and he also seems all round a much better guy.     Those that complain that everyone already knew MacDonalds was bad for us are, of course, right - but they're also …
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Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock, rejected five times by the USC film school, won the best director award at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival for this alarmingly personal investigation into the health hazards wreaked by our fast food nation. Under extensive medical supervision, Spurlock subjects himself to a steady diet of McDonald's cuisine for 30 days just to see what happens. In less than a week, his ordinarily fit body and equilibrium undergo dark and ugly changes: Spurlock grows fat, his cholesterol rockets north, his organs take a beating, and he becomes subject to headaches, mood swings, symptoms of addiction, and lessened sexual energy. The gimmick is too obvious to sustain a feature documentary; Spurlock actually spends most of the film probing insidious ways that fast food companies worm their way into school lunchrooms and the hearts of young children who spend hours in McDonald's playrooms. French fries never looked more nauseating.--Tom Keogh
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Genre: Comedy, Drama
DVD Release Date: September 28, 2004
Runtime: 96 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
First to Review

"Hold the fries"
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