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Super Size Me

Director: Morgan Spurlock; Release Date: February 28, 2005

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Journey to the Land of Happy Meals

  • Jun 14, 2007
  • by
Pros: One can take McDonald's playland balls and hurl them at certain DVD cases

Cons: Disgusting, inappropriate, and off-topic

The Bottom Line: Watch this if assigned to, or if you have a stomach of iron.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals everything about the movie''s plot.

Turn Up the Valium

I was first exposed to this documentary in a rhetoric class. After inserting the DVD, she asked us to let her know if we needed her to turn up the Valium. To our quiet chuckles, Professor Wilson remarked, “I’m an English major. Part of being an English major is being creative with words.” After enduring this film during two class sessions, I have come to the conclusion that she should have turned down the volume and increased the Valium for students whose lives were not improved by this movie.

Plot Summary Proper:

Morgan Spurlock, a native of New York City and a generally fit individual, opens Super Size Me with a description of America’s obesity epidemic. Spurlock holds that McDonald’s is one important contributor to this problem and sets out to demonstrate his hypothesis. The documentary finds Spurlock “embark[ing] upon a [thirty-day] McDonald’s binge”.

As another reviewer mentioned, Spurlock must eat only what is sold at McDonald’s—including water. Moreover, he must eat three well-rounded meals a day. At this point, Spurlock’s experiment becomes rather ambiguous and unscientific. What counts as a well-rounded meal? Must Spurlock order dessert after dinner? Is a shake a drink or a dessert?

Spurlock’s excursion into the land of chicken nuggets instigates purported health problems. The beginning of his venture finds him in the offices of three physicians, all of whom assure him that he may remain healthy throughout his Mac Shack mania. However, Spurlock begins to experience the early symptoms of heart and liver trouble on the twenty-seventh day of his “experiment”. At the end of his unhealthy adventure, he has gained a substantial amount of weight and must work to regain optimal fitness.

During his McSojourn, Spurlock examines McDonald’s marketing strategies and available nutrition information. Spurlock claims that McDonald’s is marketing primarily to young children who may not be taught proper nutrition. Playlands and mass-produced toys convince children that McDonald’s is an enjoyable place to eat.

However, McDonald’s food may adversely affect children’s emotional and physical health. One may already assume that, based on Spurlock’s early premise, McDonald’s cause’s obesity in children. However, its products are also replete with sugar and caffeine, instigating hyperactivity.

Nutrition information was nearly nonexistent in all of the McDonald’s establishments that Spurlock visited. Although fast-food facts are readily available online, Spurlock points out that many Americans do not have access to the Internet. Although information should have been available in restaurants, Spurlock located one nutrition billboard in a McDonald’s basement!

Extraneous Information:

Spurlock’s mission to relieve children of unhealthy meals takes him into several cafeterias, where he discovers that food is not being prepared in a nutritious fashion. Moreover, students receive minimal physical education. When asked to define a calorie, one student remarks, “a calorie is the amount … number … I guess I would have to say, the number of calories in a calorie.” Although this illustrates the notion that students do not receive accurate health education, one may easily consider that this was but one school.

Spurlock’s discussion of school cafeterias, ice cream parlors, Subway as a healthier alternative, etc was irrelevant to his general thesis. His purpose was to demonstrate the evils of McDonald’s; other ideas seemed off-topic and detracted markedly from the movie’s focus.

One Super-Sized Order of Grime, Please

I found this film to be morally offensive in many places. Spurlock makes several religious slurs throughout his presentation. While asking children to identify famous historical figures, he presents a picture of Jesus, then makes a rather offensive remark about the picture. Was this necessary? Could Spurlock not have found another well-known figure with whom to compare Ronald McDonald?

Spurlock also makes one notable racial slur that I would rather not repeat. His comment concerns a large hair that was found in one of McDonald’s ice cream dishes. Although the hair’s presence indicated that that particular McDonald’s might be unsanitary, it had little to do with nutrition. Even if it had, the racial “joke” was entirely unnecessary.

Although Americans do not generally practice good nutritional habits, Spurlock intimates that all individuals who suffer from obesity do not care about their health. Many, however, are suffering from a genetic disorder. Spurlock’s constant condemnation of overweight individuals might be offensive to some.

This film is not for the weak of stomach. On the second day of his McDonald’s binge, Spurlock orders a rather large meal. It purportedly takes him ten minutes to eat, at the end of which time his “McTummy” feels like a “McBrick”, complete with “McGurgles” and “McGas”. I am not attempting to be trite; these are Spurlock’s words. Shortly thereafter, Spurlock regurgitates his lunch—a moment that is captured on camera for all viewers to witness. Was this essential to Spurlock’s point? Most viewers might assume that Spurlock became unwell following an enormous meal. He might even discuss this. Must one be subjected to vomiting ventures?

Toward the end of the film, the entirety of a gastric bypass surgery is shown. This neither contributed to Spurlock's point nor allowed for enjoyable viewing.

My Recommendation—or Lack Thereof

Although this film may be somewhat educational, I found that its unedifying aspect and its continual rambling rendered it unappealing. I continue to eat from McDonald’s and all other fast-food chains. Many individuals consider this film insightful and amusing; however, I would advise those seeking nutritional information to locate a book on the topic.


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: None of the Above

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More Super Size Me reviews
Quick Tip by . September 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
What can I say?  This is ridiculously stupid for the fact that Morgan Spurlock tries to point out how unhealthy McDonald's food is by eating it for a whole month.  Of course if you eat crap like that for a month, you're gonna get tons of health problems.  But really, if you eat too much of anything, even healthy foods (such as only eating fruit for a whole month), you're gonna get sick one way or another.  Moderation is the key for everything.      …
review by . May 14, 2010
posted in Healthy Lifestyle
   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. And our youngest daughter used Spurlock's findings in a recent term paper.       Though this documentary was just the beginning of our awareness of what you eat can kill you, Super Size Me made …
review by . January 14, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: It attacks school lunches.     Cons: Is Spurlock asking for food regulation?     The Bottom Line: Wow, I hated this thing more than I thought.     McDonald's currently stands among the unholy trinity of corporate wrongdoing. (They share their spot with Disney and Microsoft.) Whether they've studied the reports and statistics or you're just giving in to peer pressure, a LOT of people profess to hate McDonald's. And why not? This is …
review by . July 12, 2004
Pros: Insightful, funny, takes on the giant of McDonalds -      Cons: Crushing indictment on American culture and lack of exercise and junk food nutrition     The Bottom Line: Excellent documentary - recommend to family & friends. Will never think about fast food in the same way again.     The term popularized decades ago now takes on a new meaning ugly as in huge, obese, lazy, people. I had read up on the film and knew the general idea …
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Nicole ()
Ranked #1532
I am, first and foremost, defined by my faith in Jesus Christ. All else is secondary. I am passionate about writing; this is akin to worship, and I strive daily to use this gift to glorify Him.   … more
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About this movie


In this hilarious yet informative documentary, debut director Morgan Spurlock makes himself the victim of a cruel experiment: he puts himself on a 30-day diet of nothing but McDonald's food. Eating three meals a day exclusively from McDonald's, Spurlock's health quickly deteriorates. The film documents the process from beginning to end, with Spurlock and his doctors making observations and monitoring the changes to his energy level, moods, liver and kidney function, and obviously his weight. As viewers might predict, Spurlock gains weight at an alarming rate, and during this process he offers a shocking lesson about the serious problem of obesity in America. Clearly McDonald's receives the brunt of the blame, as Spurlock shows how the fast-food restaurant directs its advertising at small children, who are converted into faithful consumers of the brand--and its free toy giveaways, bright colors, and Ronald McDonald clown--for life. Spurlock also examines the quality of the food itself, showing the process...
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Director: Morgan Spurlock
Genre: Documentary
Release Date: 2004, May 7, 2004
MPAA Rating: R, PG-13
Runtime: 1hr 36min
First to Review

"The Ugly American"
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