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Super Size Me

Comedy and Drama movie

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Hold the fries

  • Sep 11, 2004
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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 sort of missing the point that even though we know that, as a culture we still go there in droves. That in itself is a fascinating subject for a documentary. And how many of those naysayers went out for a burger after the film? I had an apple!

While Spurlock doesn't come across as quite the left wing looney that Moore does, I still think the "McFatso" litigation, which apparently was the spur for his film - was an ill-judged cause on which to build the narrative: Spurlock has a very good point; the McFatso plaintiffs just didn't. Here, the naysayers are defintely right: if you go to MacDonalds and get fat you have absolutely no-one to blame for it but yourself. It is absolutely right that the case was thrown out. To his credit, Spurlock gives ample air time to this view in the vox-pop clips he includes.

Ultimately, the message isn't "MacDonalds, you're Evil" (because it just isn't: it's satisfying demand and pleasing its shareholders, and would be more evil if it didn't) so much as "America, you're stupid, if this is what you really want". Litigation against vendors won't change the way America eats because the problem isn't the supply, it's the demand. I don't think marketing is entirely to blame, either: even if given a $2bn budget, I don't think celery and broccoli would ever catch on in quite the same way. All the marketing in the world won't *continually* sell what people don't want to buy.

Where Supersize Me may have a genuine effect is in persuading a few people to go the greengrocers and back to their kitchen instead of a takeway joint for dinner. That sort of a change in attitude will change MacDonald's tack forever. There is anecdotal evidence that it's already happening.

Problem is, of course, that the sort of people who go to see this movie are the sorts that would already do that.

Now, where's that carrot juice...

Olly Buxton

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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 23, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
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 …
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 …
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Olly Buxton ()
Ranked #139
Member Since: Sep 26, 2009
Last Login: Dec 22, 2010 09:37 PM UTC
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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
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"Hold the fries"
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