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Overall Rating
4.37

Awesome61.15%
Worth A Look: 27.39%
Average: 4.46%
Pretty Bad: 1.27%
Total Crap: 5.73%

9 reviews, 103 user ratings


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Super Size Me
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by David Cornelius

"You know those movies that will change your life? This is one of them."
5 stars

In yet another year where the documentary format is on a roll, it’s no surprise that the two best docs of the year share some common ground. Both Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11” and Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” want desperately to change your lives. But where Moore depends on the personal politics of the viewer and the willingness to see the film in the first place, Spurlock looks like he may in fact succeed far more than, um, Moore. There’s no partisan bickering to be found after viewing “Super Size Me” - only the conversation with yourself that hey, now’s maybe a good time to cut down on the fries.

The film, for those who haven’t followed the movie’s hype since its successful premiere at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, is an indictment of our overweight nation in general and the fast food industry in particular. Combining journalism, personal commentary, and a bit of showmanship (three factors that also spell “Michael Moore”), Spurlock decided to begin an all-McDonald’s diet. For thirty days, Spurlock would eat nothing but food purchased at the fast food chain - promising to eat everything on the menu at least once, and to only super size his value meals only when asked by the cashier.

As if this were not enough, he also decided to mimic the typical exercise habits of the average American - that is to say, none. No working out at all. Even a pedometer was worn to limit his walking to a minimum. Along the way, numerous doctors and dieticians were enlisted to monitor Suprlock’s health.

Within one week, Spurlock had gained ten pounds. As time went by, the gain loss slowed, only because muscle was being lost, replaced by fat. Cholesterol skyrocketed, as did many other testable levels. Damage was being done to his liver. Doctors were telling him to stop, and fast.

The question, of course, is that hey, nobody eats fast food that much, so surely Spurlock’s findings are exaggerations, right? Yes and no. Research reveals that most of McDonald’s customers eat at the restaurant multiple times per week; combine this with lack of exercise and other poor dietary habits and you’ve got the makings of a major health risk. (Spurlock’s quest began, in fact, as a result of two obese women suing the chain for making them fat. The judge decided they had to prove a McDonald’s diet would cause such serious health troubles. The ladies’ lawyers failed in their attempt; Spurlock did not.)

What makes “Super Size Me” such excellent documentary filmmaking isn’t Spurlock’s digestive adventure, but the side roads he shows us along the way. In between scenes of the filmmaker’s love-hate relationship with his own meals (his very first super sizing causes him to throw up), we investigate: the lousy nutrition found in our schools’ cafeterias; the lengths fast food chains and food companies go in order to promote their wares and protect themselves through government; the weird fact that when it comes to serving sizes, last year’s “large” is this year’s “small;” the American double standard that says it’s alright to harass someone for smoking but not to harass an overweight person for eating unhealthily; the ignorance of a society, many of whom do not even know what a calorie really is (myself included); the pros and cons of “stomach stapling;” the world of McDonalds fanatics; and so much more. Spurlock’s film exposes so much about our culture, all of it remarkable reporting that’s also easy to swallow (no pun intended) thanks to a bitingly funny sense of humor. (Check out the use of “Pusherman” over images of Ronald McDonald.)

The best part about “Super Size Me” is its afterstory. Not long after the movie played at Sundance, McDonald’s announced that it was dropping its Super Size sizes and introducing a line of healthier offerings. Spurlock doesn’t hesitate in putting this fact at the end of his film (even if McDonald’s denies any connection, and even he omits the fact that other chains were following suit, probably due to this film as well), and we see that yes, a good, solid case can bring about change.

And yet Spurlock, while proud of this, probably isn’t as concerned about this as you’d think. My feeling is that he’d rather change the consumers, not the companies. It’s impossible to finish “Super Size Me” without seriously questioning your own eating habits, as Spurlock intended. This is a man who’s not out to take down the big corporations (although it wouldn’t hurt). Instead, he’s looking to inform the public, to push you along a better, healthier road. It’s rare the film that changes someone’s life; “Super Size Me” may indeed change many.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8631&reviewer=392
originally posted: 02/25/05 18:43:16
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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

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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