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Super Size Me

Comedy and Drama movie

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Persuasive and occasionally startling

  • Oct 2, 2004
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 other "junk" foods do to our bodies and to our lives.

Though Spurlock chose to use McDonald's for his experiment, it's only because they were the biggest target. Anyone who views this film and says that it is nothing more than an attack on McDonald's is watching it with an extremely myopic view. "Supersize Me" is about the fast food business and about the culture which supports it. It's about the difference between healthy eating and unhealthy eating. It's a warning, not just about obesity but also about the broader issues that come with a diet high in fatty, unhealthy food.

In the film we see more than Spurlock gaining weight. We see him feeling more and more exhausted and irritable. He seems a pretty likable guy, but we can see his mood swings start about halfway through his experiment. We hear his girlfriend talking about his reduced sex drive, and his doctors talking about the massive damage he's doing to his body, including his liver. One of his doctor's compares it to the movie "Leaving Las Vegas." In that movie, the Nicholas Cage character pickles his liver by drinking massive amounts of alcohol. Spurlock's doctor warns him that he's doing the same thing to his liver, but with a high-fat, high-calorie diet rather than alcohol.

The extras on the DVD are interesting as well, and actually add some extra dimension to the story. In "The Smoking Fry" we see which of McDonald's products seems to last forever. The extra interviews include an interesting interview with Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation," as well as an extended interview with a guy who eats almost nothing other than Big Macs and an interview with the owner of New York's "Chip Shop" (fried Twinkies, anyone?), and some other interesting pieces. The deleted scenes weren't necessary to the film overall, but definitely added something afterwards.

Morgan Spurlock seems quite a character, but his sense of humor and his attitude about what he's doing is admirable. He's honest and very candid, but with a lighthearted tone for the most part, and this really helps the film along.

"Supersize Me" is not a perfect film, nor is it a perfect presentation of the issues at hand. It's quite one-sided and clear in its agenda. Despite this, I consider it to be a brave act of filmmaking. You only have to watch the film to see the lengths to which Spurlock pushed his body to make this film. By the end, I was actually concerned for his health and even for his life. Putting one's body and health at risk for the sake of making a movie like this is nothing short of courageous act.

Before you dismiss Spurlock's movie out of hand, think about this for a moment... would you do what he did? I know I wouldn't. And that, I believe, is entirely the point.

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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 . 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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Rich Stoehr ()
Ranked #51
I often hide behind a pithy Douglas Adams quote or maybe some song lyrics. I guess it makes sense that much of what I share is reviews of things I like (or don't).      People … more
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About this movie


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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