June 18 -24, 2004 • Vol. 24 - No. 25

 
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Film
 

Super Size Me: A Little Documentary,
Burgers Out to be a Cheese of a Great McMovie

 
by The Blonde and The Maven
Film Columnists

Remember recently, the two girls who tried to sue McDonald’s Corp. for becoming overweight from eating their food? This movie-documentary is a result of that lawsuit. Writer, director, and star Morgan Spurlock becomes obsessed with the fact that 60 percent of Americans are overweight. After Morgan discovered the girls lost the suit due to lack of proof, he decided to see for himself.

Morgan puts his own body through a scientific test. He decides to consume three square meals a day at McDonald’s for thirty days. He gives himself only three stringent rules. One: No options, he is only allowed to eat foods that he can get over the counter, delivered, or at the drive-through at McDonald’s, including water. Two: He must ‘super-size’ when asked. Three: No excuses. He must eat everything on the menu at least once. No biggie, right? It sounded like great fun to us at first too. Morgan ventures into this experiment with very well thought-out plans. He places himself under the strict supervision of a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, an internist, and a nutritionist to monitor his health for the entire month. He begins this documentary at 185 pounds, six feet two inches and in absolutely amazing health. All his tests are more than perfect and very impressive to all the doctors. Without giving too much away, at the end of the month, Morgan gains 25 pounds, has a diminished sex drive (oh my, not good at all), depression, highs after eating, unhealthy pallor, flagging energy, his liver metastasizes into a state of shock (as bad as alcohol would cause), heart palpitations, trouble breathing, and all his test results were in such a state of emergency that all the doctors demanded he stop the experiment immediately or he could die. Dant, dant, dant, dant, dun! At this point of the experiment, he has over a week left to go, with a major life threatening decision to make. We won’t tell you what he does. Go see the movie to find out for yourselves; it is well worth your time.


Morgan wrote the documentary with humorous overtones and very funny scenes amidst all the reality. Super Size Me also touches on many important facts, statistics and data on the food industry, brainwashing commercials geared toward unhealthy eating suggestions, horrendous school-lunch programs, gluttonous addiction toward overeating, and a disgraceful lack of physical educations programs in the school systems cut back by our government. You will be astonished at the amazing facts you will learn in this film.

The Blonde: Well, what can I say? Not super size me. That’s for sure! This incredibly important documentary was like a double cheeseburger, meets a Big Mac, meets French-fries, meets a fish fillet sandwich, meets a fried chicken sandwich, meets McNuggets, meets a chocolate shake and a large Coke meets I need a McBathroom like quick to McVomit!

The Maven: Morgan Spurlock sure put his money where his mouth was. This documentary was an entertaining as well as sobering journey into the world of fast food. The implication here is that he’s experiencing quickly what one out of every four Americans experience over a longer period of eating fast food. Being the one out of four who often super sizes my order, I felt the movie was actually directed at me and my ever expanding waistline.

The Blonde: Yo, speak for yourself.        

The Maven: Yea? Who ordered double quarter-pounders with cheese and extra pickles for her last four months of pregnancy?  

The Blonde: Alrighty, you got me! But, pregnancy eating doesn’t count! Anyway, before I watched the movie and heard about the lawsuit with those two girls, I thought it was preposterous. It made me stop and ponder. Just to let you know, pondering can be quite painful for a blonde. Subsequently, and amazingly even to me, it was actually an extremely important lawsuit about social awakening. Had they won, it would have forced the fast food industry to have a moral conscience. Laws would be made to force the industry to inform the public of crucial nutritional facts. This would give the average consumer power to protect themselves and to make wiser eating choices. The same type of laws is now mandatory for the tobacco industry. Had the suit been done correctly and not just for their own “get rich quick benefits,” it would have made a huge difference to our naďve society. I can scare you even more by reminding you that a blonde is saying all this!

The Maven: Do you really think that this problem is corporate responsibility or is it up to consumers to inform ourselves?

The Blonde: That is the whole point. We are not adequately educated enough to make that decision for ourselves. Hence, why we have become the obese country we are today. Only the nutritionally educated have the chance to make that informed decision. Now that it has become a national crisis, it has to go back to the seed level of corporate or government responsibility. They now need to protect us. If nothing else, teach it in the school systems and put back physical education.           

The Maven: You might have a legitimate point there. It’s sad that it took a documentary, director/guinea pig to put his own life on the line to expose this dangerous health risk to our society, caused by the fast food industry. Too bad though, I’ll never think the same way about those two all beef patties again. Spurlock managed to make this movie laugh-out-loud funny, persuasive, and at times horrifying, while undergoing his unpleasant changes.

The Blonde: Funny, before this film, the phrase “Super Size Me” was something that I told my children they must learn to say if they didn’t improve their school grades. Without getting too political, I can’t emphasize enough how crucially important this film is to society. I feel it should be mandatory for all schools to show their pupils. I feel everyone must run out to see it. We all need to wake up, and the sooner the better. Overeating is the second preventable cause of death in this country, first being smoking. One out of every four Americans is obese. McDonald’s accounts for 43 percent of the fast food business. There are 83 McDonald’s in the city of Manhattan alone. Obesity has doubled in the last 25 years and in children as well.

The Maven: The most intriguing part of the film was Spurlock’s interview with Baskin’s son, of Baskin and Robbins ice-cream. Isn’t it ironic that Baskin, Robbins, and Ben, of Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream all died young of heart related illness or diabetes.
 
The Blonde: By the way, not to change the subject, don’t you just hate those people who can eat all they want and never gain weight? Okay, back to you….

The Maven: They may not gain weight. They may just die from health problems instead.
 
The Blonde: Oh! Ok!  I feel so much better then.

The Maven: I thought that might make you feel better!

The Blonde: In closing, this was the most important film I think we have reviewed up to date. It had everything that should be important to a filmmaker. It was fascinating, witty, charming, important content, constructive, informative, educational, intelligent, all tied together in a funny and hilarious knot. Do not miss this picture! Take your whole family especially your children.  I give it an A.  In addition, I also advise that you don’t eat anything before or during this film.

The Maven: Morgan Spurlock puts a human face on questions that should concern the nation as a whole. As a mother, I recommend Super Size Me and hope its “unhappy meals” convince you to think before heading to any convenient fast food drive-through again. I rate this film an A also.
 
The Blonde: Okay, but that doesn’t include Kentucky Fried Chicken, does it?

The Maven: Don’t be ridiculous!

 


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