Review of Super Size Me
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 10/23/04
Morgan Spurlock is everything Michael Moore pretends to be as a documentarian. I recently caught his documentary Super Size Me at a budget theater & hope the DVD will have many features. For those who don’t know SSM is the best political documentary this year- far better than MM’s lamentable Fahrenheit 9/11.
Both films have baddies- W. Bush & McDonald’s, both have their filmmakers as stars- MM & MS, but MS has a few things going for him that MM doesn’t- 1) a penchant for being honest, 2) a message that affects all his viewers, & 3) a sense of self-deprecation. He demonstrates this by deciding to guinea pig his health in testing whether or not McDonald’s fast food is really bad for you. He vows to eat nothing but McDonald’s for 1 month straight.
He starts off with a routine physical exam- which shows him to be in above average physical shape for a man I’d reckon is in his early 30s. His month-long odyssey will take him across the country, & to the brink of serious health issues. This is all documented by a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, internist, nutritionist/dietician, & physical trainer- not to mention his vegan chef girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson, whose almost self-parodically the typical bored white girl with no better cause to be for.
The film give much information on the deleterious nature of fast food’s impact on America eating. Home cooking is a thing of the past- it seems. In his scientific case against fast food MS enlists the counsel of nutritionists, a school principal, & an ex-Surgeon General. Also on tap is a fast food shill whose unwitting admission of the harm his products do eventually gets him fired (we learn at film’s end). The shots of grobese people tends to sicken the viewer, but no more so than MS, himself, occasionally puking the Mickey D garbage. By the time MS returns for periodic checkups all of his excellent physical characteristics are in sharp decline, he’s gained weight, his cholesterol is skyrocketing, his sex drive is nil, & his liver is shriveling like that of an alcoholic- all this from the high fat/high calorie crap he’s ingesting. He is winded by things he could do easily before, & seems to age before the viewer’s eyes. Some mat dismiss MS as a shill with his own ax to grind, but we soon find out that many people regularly eat fast food daily, & exclusively- some just McDonald’s brand of poison.
The film itself does alot with its small budget- especially in the way of
graphs, charts, & computer graphics. At the end of the film we find out it
took months for MS to lose the 20+ lbs. he gained, & for his excellent
physical signs to return. Best of all, McDonald’s- embarrassed over the
bad publicity- discontinued Super Size meals. As for MS, himself? Unlike MM he
comes across as a regular guy, with a likable personality. When he tells you
something you tend to want to believe him, unlike MM- who comes across as a
condescending prick. Part of this is because he subjected himself & his film
to limits- he had to eat nothing but McDonald’s 3x a day, for all 3 meals,
he had to try everything on their menu once, & when asked if he wanted his
meals Super Sized he had to agree- ill or not, although he would never ask to be
Super Sized- this to gauge the level of the poison peddling. Interestingly, MS
found he was asked to Super Size most in Texas- the fattest state in the nation.
By contrast, he juxtaposes typical lunch school programs, sell-outs to
the fast food industry, to 1 program that banned fast food for nutritious fresh
food, & found their costs were equal, & the kids did far better than
they had, & typical schools- & this was a school for prior delinquents!
All in all Super Size Me is a terrific film that entertains & enlightens. Can someone eat healthily at a McDonald’s? Not really- but the point has gotten to the point that that’s not really the point. The point is this shit can kill you as slowly & surely as cigarets, alcohol, & drug abuse. Here’s hoping that MS becomes as big a name as MM, so that he will be able to tackle a varied subject palette. While MM is all windy style over substance MS shows that substance has its adherents too- you just have to remember to pass the gas.
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