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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 Collin Souter

"'Fear Factor' with a social conscience"
4 stars

No doubt by now you’ve heard of this film. It has been one of the most talked about films of this year. Many continue to debate its merits and to question their own beliefs. It is a movie about a man who gave of himself so that we may benefit, a man who sacrificed his well being so that we may gain from his wisdom. It is about a man who endured severe torture so that we could all be saved. He had a message, and through this film that message has caused many of us to ponder the weight of our own existence. His act of passion has changed lives, both for the better and for the worse. It is a challenging, grueling, stomach churning and, above all, important film made by a man who had the courage to challenge the system and make a difference.

I’m speaking, of course, of Morgan Spurlock, director and star of the documentary “Super Size Me,” in which Spurlock eats nothing but McDonalds food for 30 days. “Super Size Me” opened here in Chicago the same week as the obnoxious and bloated summer blockbuster “Van Helsing,” yet in many ways Spurlock’s movie seems to be the more popular of the two. “Have you heard about that movie about the guy who eats nothing but McDonalds for 30 days?” people have been asking all weekend. It’s too bad not everyone has access to this movie the same way they have access to the Olsen Twins movie, but given the press this movie has obtained, it certainly won’t wallow in obscurity either.

Thank goodness. More than a stunt movie or a prolonged episode of “Fear Factor,” Spurlock’s documentary delves deep into what might be the root causes for America’s growing waistlines. It only makes sense that the center of this investigation be the food chain that started it all. Why do people eat McDonalds knowing how bad it can be for you? What do people know about the food on the menus? Why is it so hard to obtain a copy of the nutritional fact sheet regarding McDonalds’ food? Are the hot lunches in the public school system any healthier than a 2-cheeseburger value meal? Why on earth would anybody need to Super Size anything?

The last question needs no answer. As stated at the end of the film, six weeks after “Super Size Me” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, McDonalds removed the Super Size option from their menu insisting that Spurlock’s film had nothing to do with it. Yet, Spurlock’s sole approach is not to call out the evils of Corporate America for lying to consumers. That would be too easy. Instead, Spurlock calls out for all of us to take responsibility for our actions. I suppose it’s a smart PR move for McDonalds to not acknowledge Spurlock’s movie, but unlike Michael Moore’s “Roger & Me,” Spurlock is out for bigger game than just Everyman vs. Corporate Entity.

The stunt at the center of “Super Size Me” consists of more than “Let’s see what’ll happen if I eat McDonalds for 30 days. Ya’ dare me?” Prior to Spurlock’s actions, there had been little data regarding the addictive nature of fast food. Like many of us, Spurlock heard all about the lawsuits filed against many fast food chains by obese people claiming “fast food made them fat” and reacted with stunned disbelief. With the aid of three physicians, a nutritionist and the reluctant blessing of his vegan girlfriend, Spurlock went ahead with the experiment with a few ground rules:

1. If McDonalds didn’t serve it, he couldn’t eat it.
2. He had to try everything on the menu at least once.
3. He had to finish everything.

Throughout this epicureal journey, Spurlock takes us on a road trip through Texas, Illinois and California to various McDonalds locations and to public school cafeterias where we learn that kids most likely have nothing but carbonated beverages, chips and candy for lunch. Furthermore, the schools offer little more than burgers, pizza and tater tots for lunch, much of which comes out of a box that has been in a freezer for who-knows-how-long. We learn about Dan Gorske, a man famous for eating nothing but Big Macs (Miraculously, he is not overweight). Most alarmingly, we learn that kids have an easier time recognizing Ronald McDonald than they do Jesus Christ.

After a while, Spurlock’s binging take such a toll on his system, we wonder how on earth his 20th Quarter Pounder won’t end up being his last supper. As expected, he gains a lot of pounds, but at an unexpected and unpredictable rate. His cholesterol also skyrockets. Yet, nobody counted on the life-threatening extremes the food’s effect would have on Spurlock. He became depressed, almost sexually inactive and, yes, addicted. Spurlock had been in near-perfect health at the beginning of the film and it makes sense that he would balloon before our very eyes, but the image of that clown with the red hair and the yellow suit only becomes more haunting and sinister as Spurlock’s stunt progresses.

It helps that we like Morgan Spurlock. He is a very funny and charming guy and has made a fast-paced, thorough and hilarious movie. I only wish I knew more about him and why he chose to take on this cause. In order to make a great documentary, one has to have an insane amount of passion for their subject. Since Spurlock is practically his own subject, I really wanted to know what drove him personally to do this sort of thing and if he has ever attempted anything like it in the past. I cared about his cause and whether or not he would make it, but I still walked out wondering why he did it in the first place (more than just to prove a point about fast food).

Still, “Super Size Me” is easily the most entertaining movie out there right now and I still have a few questions about McDonalds that I would like answering. For instance, is there any truth to the notion that chains such as McDonalds and Burger King purposely leak that familiar fast food smell from their establishments because they found it elicits a Pavlovian response from consumers? Also, why do they call it a Double Quarter Pounder? Wouldn’t it be easier just to call it a Half Pounder? Or did the Powers That Be figure that would be too many numbers on the menu for people to handle? They may be right. As Spurlock finds out, some people know the Big Mac rap better than they know The Pledge of Allegiance. Jesus Christ, what the hell is in this food anyway?

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8631&reviewer=233
originally posted: 05/10/04 14:47:19
[printer] printer-friendly format  
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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