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Overall Rating
4.37

Awesome60.76%
Worth A Look: 27.85%
Average: 4.43%
Pretty Bad: 1.27%
Total Crap: 5.7%

9 reviews, 104 user ratings


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Super Size Me
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by Josh Gryniewicz

"A gluttony of social commentary"
4 stars

McDonald’s press department responded to the Sundance success of Morgan Spurlock’s first feature film “Super Size Me” by vehemently arguing that they would not respond to it: “We see no reason to respond…” They responded. When the film first came out a release stated: “We haven’t seen the movie, from what we’ve heard, it deserves two thumbs down.” In fact, McDonald’s has gone to great lengths to demonstrate the insignificance of Spurlock’s film, paradoxically devoting a considerable amount of press to prove that the film is not worth publicity, while simultaneously taking the “super size” meals off their menus.

Morgan Spurlock, whose resume includes MTV’s “I bet you will” where ordinary people were offered cash to do absurd stunts, makes himself into a human guinea pig consuming three squares of Mickey D’s for a month straight to explore “where personal responsibility ends and corporate responsibility begins.” Inspired by the court case where two teen girls sued the restaurant chain for their obesity, Spurlock sets off in tongue-in-cheek fashion to weigh in on the debate. At the beginning of the experiment, three doctors, a nutritionist and a physical trainer provide a clean bill of health measuring him at 6’ 2” tall, 185 pounds with 168 cholesterol and 11% body fat.

A month later he has packed on the pounds shooting up to 210, his cholesterol spikes to 230, his body fat increases to 18% and to the surprise of his doctors, his liver begins to show early signs of cirrhosis. His girlfriend, a vegan chef, gives more personal reports as his performance in bed is about the only thing to decrease.

Spurlock doesn’t let his Subway – Jared – in – reverse routine speak for itself however, trekking cross – country to interview gym teachers, food lobbyists, legal representation for the obesity case, on-the-street interviews and John Robbins, Baskin Robbins heir turned health conscious author of “Diet for a New America.” Spurlock reveals a dark side of America’s fast food obsession plugging statistical information to illustrate the frightening results; the fast food industry is poisoning the populous.

According to Eric Schlosser, “Rolling Stone” writer and author of “Fast Food Nation” (not featured in the film) “a survey of American schoolchildren found that ninety – six percent could identify Ronald McDonald.” Only Santa Claus beat him out as the most widely recognized fictional character. Schlosser goes on to state that the Golden Arches are more widely recognized than the Christian cross. Schlosser’s book goes in depth to assess the full impact of fast food on our society – its emphasis on efficiency and convenience over quality, its threat to independent business and its role in the creation of low-wage dead end jobs and its detrimental toll on all of us.

Spurlock repeats a version of the survey with a first grade class deriving the same unfortunate results, he demonstrates the franchise’s targeting of children, investigates the epidemic of obesity in the country and explores the sheer horror of school lunches. The film concludes with twin visual images of french fries that represent the limitation of viable options McDonald’s represents – a limitation that should attest to corporate accountability over the purported “will power” argument.

While Spurlock’s documentary offers a double fisted attack on the industry armed with its satirical bite and statistical data. It begged other questions that the film didn’t fully explore: budgetary cuts in education leading to a corporatization of American schools and subsequently the unhealthy food options represented. The connection between poor nutrition and behavioral problems also begged comment on an alternative to the rampant diagnosis of ADD and ADHD that wasn’t touched upon. Further links between class and dietary habits were left neglected, we live in the only society in history where our impoverished lower class is heavy set.

Visually though, Spurlock pulls no punches, his training in commercials and music videos shows through as he draws on artist and culture jammer, Ron English to set up title cards to the film’s chapter segments. English, whose ad busting creative depiction feature controversial frightening images of our commercial age offer the perfect subliminal context to the work. Before Spurlock launches on his journey of consumption, for example the screen fills with an image of Ronald McChrist surrounded by other pop-cultural cartoon icons in a recreation of DaVinci’s “Last Supper.” The effect is stirring – controversial, comedic and frightening.

When I first heard about the lawsuit myself, I thought it was pathetic – despite a vehement disdain for corporate America and equally passionate aversion to Mickey D’s – I simply shook my head at our “sue happy” culture. Actually, when I first heard about the case I probably lit a cigarette, (a habit I've been trying to kick annually since I was 14) absently shook my fist in the air to “damn the man” and then shook my head at our “sue happy” culture. Following the film, however, my girlfriend and I ate a salad for dinner, I spent an hour surfing the net looking for detoxification recipes, I lit a cigarette, shook my fist to “damn the man” and began to re-think the lawsuit.

Corporations have a long and menacing history of alluding accountability, placing profits before safety, health and human rights and scapegoating the results on free will: "You don't have to eat fast food." ; “You don’t have to work in unsafe conditions.” ; “You don’t have to drink chemically contaminated ground water.” ; “You don’t have to live in that underdeveloped third world nation.” But objectively the options presented are illusory -- there is no real choice – perhaps crucifying the McChrist would be a suitable start to holding companies responsible for their actions.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8631&reviewer=362
originally posted: 05/18/04 14:16:43
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 San Francisco Film Festival. For more in the 2004 San Francisco Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Palm Springs Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

3/18/15 Cool cool Ha the movie was so good 4 stars
8/11/11 AAA Great Message 4 stars
2/28/10 alyne it's funny movie 5 stars
5/26/09 The Master of All Things Obvious Everybody knows at least a size XXXL who gorges on McDonalds. Those = big $$$ For McDonalds 5 stars
4/02/09 Norma Salinas This movie realy change the way I think about eating I think that can help alot anyone 4 stars
1/19/09 arlin its a agreat movie to bad people never learn 5 stars
1/15/09 yo mama this film is jawdropping 5 stars
5/15/08 Ana Gabriela It's very useful for students. All the school should have it. 4 stars
2/18/08 Dan Ward Great 5 stars
6/29/07 Jasmine This movie it wonderful, to bad it didn't affect the fastfood industry. 5 stars
5/10/07 Mandee I love McDonalds so this movie sucked 1 stars
2/10/07 affiq fast food suck!!! 5 stars
1/17/07 Crimb Awesome! 5 stars
1/09/07 CJBlalock can't you just smell the pre-digested, vomit-like aroma of McDonalds? 5 stars
8/17/06 Mary Beth interesting medical results to experiment 4 stars
8/06/06 Agent Sands It's definitely an eye-opener. Sadly, it's to what you already knew. It's a reality check. 4 stars
8/01/06 David Cohen Too much fast food is bad for you, this is supposed to be news?!? 1 stars
5/24/06 Brian Roberts very good 4 stars
5/03/06 Jim Interesting stuff. I'll still eat fast food once in a while though. 4 stars
4/18/06 mike made be want to go out and have a Big Mac afterwards, they looked so damn good. 4 stars
4/10/06 Robert Hartshorn Shoddy, simple minded, self righteous, unwittingly right wing schlock-doc! 1 stars
4/02/06 JRE why? 4 stars
4/01/06 Thomas Semesky Left too many questions to be answered. The directors integrity for one. 2 stars
2/03/06 arti show us how effrct of fast food 3 stars
11/15/05 FlashyNig Yo people, this s**t is tight an' you gotta see it 5 stars
8/08/05 yuko americans should definitely come to japan where one of the most healthy foods is served 5 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon Micky D's makes U poo cubes! seriously-after eating U can feel a brick form in yer colon! 5 stars
5/20/05 Jeff Anderson I'm not lovin' it! The movie truly made it's observant point. FAST FOOD IS BAD FOR YOU!!!!! 2 stars
5/20/05 MyGreenBed Pathetic Michael Moore wannabe doc, also anti-vegetarian, anti-real, anti-useful. 1 stars
5/10/05 NotEd I'll be damned if I still wanted fries afterwards. Extra proves they are immortal! 4 stars
5/03/05 Quigley pretty gross sometimes, but an overall fascinating look at fast food and obesity (kidding)! 4 stars
4/26/05 DM Morgan Spurlock could be Michael Moore's little brother (in a good way.) 4 stars
4/15/05 HL Fruit cup anyone! 5 stars
4/11/05 Paul Not really accurate but it is entertaining. 3 stars
3/31/05 hannaho Entertaining and educational! 3 stars
3/18/05 B. D. Cole very interesting and relavent twist on the documentary ... its you he's talking about 4 stars
3/17/05 Naughty Devil Man Fat people are abhorrent and need to be shunned from society. 1 stars
3/17/05 He- man Great film dude. Hurray for spurlock!!! 5 stars
3/06/05 chris. in my opinion, this if very much needed. 5 stars
3/02/05 David Tsung got so hungry watching this movie 4 stars
2/27/05 Charlene Javier The French fries were scary! 5 stars
2/26/05 Darlene Wright OK 3 stars
2/26/05 Denise shocking not 3 stars
2/05/05 bullit16 Eye-opening, and more than a little nauseating 4 stars
1/31/05 Paul He was overeating. 4 stars
1/30/05 Carrie Hubbard Imagine that, if you eat McDonalds 3 times a day, you'll get fat. Pure Genius! 4 stars
1/24/05 Paul D I will keep an eye on what i'm eating!!! 5 stars
1/17/05 HL So Now It's No Mystery How People Get Unhealthy...Bravo! 5 stars
12/15/04 fdmHamiltonOhio i could have done without it. Since i had to do a research paper on it, i'm glad he did. 3 stars
11/27/04 Portly Paul from Portland. Just saw the DVD and it friggin' rocked! Best doc I've ever se, now I'm going to the gym. 5 stars
11/24/04 chris walker I think people are fat and lazy and pretty much fat 4 stars
11/15/04 Gabby Wow, what a suprise! America is the fattest country in the world! Great doco. Well done 4 stars
11/15/04 da hood' you fatasses need to quit scarfing down food. if not, then fuckin die! 5 stars
11/11/04 Jillian Rath A wicked movie 5 stars
10/25/04 KARIN GORDON AFTER SEEING SUPER SIZE ME...HE MADE A FAN FOR LIFE. EDUCATIONAL, FUNNY, AND INTELLIGENT. 5 stars
10/20/04 Kelly It really made you think about what you are eating 5 stars
10/15/04 Addy Wilson i'm a teen that needs to start making health decisions and this movie was a kick in the but 5 stars
10/12/04 Katie A very creative way to urge America into being a healthier country 5 stars
10/05/04 blakeh great film, informative and entertaining 5 stars
9/30/04 Simon Khalil It made me think.... think that this is a great movie! 5 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt Painful to see someone purposely destroy their good health! 4 stars
8/05/04 Snickerdoodle Really interesting and shocking, I eat mostly at Subway now, no BK or McD for a while! 5 stars
8/04/04 Chloe OMG - so fucking awesome! I h8ed McDonalds before...but I will NEVER eat there again now... 5 stars
7/21/04 dropdead hilarious. stay away from dead animals. eat your veggies, damn fatties. 5 stars
7/02/04 Nikolai Unfair bias on McShitlets even more so now since their CEO died from a heart attack 4 stars
7/02/04 jeffrey See this & You'll never eat again @ McD's 5 stars
6/29/04 four44@444.net This is what I call REALITY TV!! I consider Morgan Spurlock to be a modern day hero! 5 stars
6/18/04 Cindy Very eye-opening and well done. 5 stars
6/14/04 man you fat bastards should not need a movie to realize that your gonna die! eat shit! 5 stars
6/14/04 ezrgd Spurlock trying to do too much here, forced 4 stars
6/13/04 Ira Friedman Important to see and entertaining 5 stars
6/06/04 Helen Bradley This beast Michael Moore anyday Great viewing 5 stars
6/02/04 Miriah Engrossing, informative, and witty. Should be required viewing in all health classes. 5 stars
6/01/04 James Kustes I wonder how it will affect fast food sales 3 stars
5/31/04 Raspberry Of course the doctor was independently chosen... it's opinion with an agenda... not balance 1 stars
5/31/04 Laura Lydigsen We couldn't stop talking about this movie after leaving the theatre! 5 stars
5/31/04 reenum Excellent, thought-provoking film. I had no idea how deep the problem was. 5 stars
5/30/04 Titus A very fine documentary, but not as moving or hilarious as "Bowling" 4 stars
5/29/04 ajay very interesting... made me rethink at my diet of soda and fast food... 5 stars
5/29/04 Cameron Slick This film has wholly convinced me to never again eat McDonald's. 4 stars
5/29/04 Flo An excellent film. Too bad the people who really need to see it won't go... 5 stars
5/26/04 Ana Excellent film 5 stars
5/22/04 Mitch You'd expect something stale and preachy, but its the total opposite. 5 stars
5/21/04 Vinnie If you're so fucking stupid you think McDonald's is good for you, you deserve to keel over. 1 stars
5/20/04 too-much-coffee mistress Oh my god! McDonalds is bad for you? *shock* This will change the world... What an ass. 1 stars
5/20/04 Proteus Go see this. Bring friends. Caution - don't buy the usual large popcorn. 5 stars
5/19/04 RICH C sequel idea:2 hrs of flogging Rnld McDnld,ending in crucifixion. "the passion of the clown" 5 stars
5/18/04 Julie Enertaining & interesting, but why would McD's ever let him?? I'm never eating there again! 5 stars
5/13/04 This girl Loved it. I laughed almost as often as I cringed. It's not a ripoff of Fast Food Nation. 5 stars
5/11/04 cocky bastard Isn't this movie a rip off of Fast Food Nation? 5 stars
5/11/04 Christina Awesome. This is why I eat at SUBWAY 5 stars
5/11/04 Jorge Fragette It's not about Mcdonald's, dumbass, it's about a culture of consumption. Idiot! 5 stars
5/10/04 Cameron Slick I'm never eating at McDonald's again. 5 stars
5/07/04 JOE AMBROZY MUST SEE 5 stars
5/04/04 Matt McCaskey Fantastic Film. 5 stars
4/16/04 Antonia Hadley first rate film about critical subject 5 stars
4/16/04 Vinnie Why do we need this dumbasses' movie to convince us that MCD's is bad? Idiot. 1 stars
4/11/04 Robin Frey 6 stars for a super-sized rating! 5 stars
3/26/04 Bingo was his name-o A reality movie that works! 4 stars
3/22/04 Elle Anee Totally fun, totally gross, totally shocking, totally amazing, totally educational, SEE IT! 5 stars
2/28/04 James Edwards This movie is fantastic. Just saw it and loved it! AMERICA: YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE! 5 stars
2/05/04 Michael McCallister An incredible movie - everyone in America should see this! 5 stars
2/01/04 rich smith awesome film - give me that BIG MAC 5 stars
1/29/04 Randy Smith This was great! Super size this movie. Can't wait til it comes out in theatres! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  07-May-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2010

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Jun-2004




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