on October 22, 2004
The current trend towards obesity in the US is not a difficult one to notice, and yet so many people turn their backs on it. Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock does just the opposite. He throws it in the faces of the movie-going public with a unique and intelligent fervor, akin to that of Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation. Spurlock states "Super Size Me is one man's journey into the world of weight gain, health problems and fast food. It's an examination of the American way of life and the influence that has had on our children, the nation and the world at large." Furthermore, "It's a film about corporate responsibility and personal responsibility," and indeed this film is just that.
Spurlock spends 30 grueling days eating nothing but McDonalds food, and exploits the health risks accompanying such a lifestyle in the process. Under the supervision of three medical doctors and a nutritionist, Spurlock's health steadily declines, his weight steadily increases, and his cholesterol skyrockets. All the while, his vegan chef girlfriend, Alex Jamieson, is in the background rolling her eyes.
Interspersed throughout the documentation of Spurlock's McDiet are highly intriguing facts regarding the food industry and its somewhat less-than-benign ventures, as well as interviews with key people who have attempted to urge the public to change their eating habits for the better (such as author John Robbins and former Surgeon General David Satcher). Though this film is chock full of facts and statistics, Spurlock is not without witty repartee and humor. In other words, this is not your average snore-inducing PBS special.
I must agree with the criticism this film has received for not being as scientific as it could have been, as his personal results may not be representative of what others would experience (the Big Mac fanatic Eric Gorske is a prime example of this). Nonetheless, his results are still rather eye-opening and almost vomit-inducing. The public should be aware of the things they are placing in their mouths everyday, and the effects those things could potentially have on them.
This is definitely a movie worth buying and watching over and over again, particularly when you get the urge to go grab a meal from a local fast food joint. This film caused McDonalds to put an end to Super-sizing before it even entered theaters, and that in itself should say something. For more information on the malevolence of the fast food industry, go and read Fast Food Nation as well!
on October 11, 2010
If you have this DVD already, don't bother with purchasing this. It has only two new features, and neither one is that informative. The ten questions feature is only 11 minutes long, and it doesn't tell us anything new. The appearance at the college is about 50 minutes long, and it irritated me because Spurlock seemed to be trying to come off as a stand-up comedian. He presents a few interesting anecdotes bur certainly nothing worth $18.00. I wasted my money.
If you don't have the movie, by all means buy the original. It has more features (which, surprisingly, are not included on the new version), and it's half the price. "The Smoking Fry" and the piece about the McDonald's collectors are entertaining. When I give one away to my students, I will definitely give away this one and treasure the original. I am surprised that Spurlock would be a part of this. He at least could have included the original features on this DVD. Perhaps on Super Size Me Tenth Anniversay there will be more.
on February 4, 2005
i could not recommend this movie more highly. more than anything else that i have EVER seen, watched, or read, this movie had an amazingly profound impact on my life. i watched it because i had heard so much buzz about it. at the time, i was recuperating from a broken ankle which had kept me pretty sedentary for seven months and left me with an addiction to painkillers (i'm now in recovery). i was completely out of shape and very overweight. in addition, i was depressed to the point of suicidal thoughts; i self-medicated with whatever drug i could get my hands on. in short, i was a MESS.
i was so impressed with how the food that morgan spurlock ate in this movie affected his ENTIRE body and his well-being. it may sound ignorant, but NEVER before had i made a connection between how i ate and how i felt. i knew that unhealthy food led to being overweight and to being, well, unhealthy, but i never made the mind/body connection. for the first time in my life, i started a new eating plan that was based on getting healthy, natural, organic, whole foods into my body. it had NOTHING to do with losing weight or being skinny. it was simply about getting better fuel for the machine.
i have now, as a complete "side effect", have lost almost 40 pounds in four months. i am down four pants sizes. and i only JUST started going back to the gym, so that is WITHOUT exercising. i feel better, i sleep better, and the best part of all is that my depression has DRAMATICALLY subsided. i have never eaten fast food again and my cravings for things that are not good have pretty much gone away. i am on a wonderful healthy path and i don't think i will ever go back to my former way of eating/living again.
thank you, morgan. thank you.
on December 11, 2004
What can one say besides WOW at the very premise of this film. Mr. Spurlock has done something very foolhardy and dramatic to prove a point... we are killing ourselves with the over consumption of food that is cheap, easy to obtain, grossly over proportioned and harmful in more ways than one. Mr. Spurlock points both barrels at the McDonalds Corp. with this exercise (an obvious and widely recognized target), but it literally could have been any of the dozens of fast food restaurants that populate the urban landscape across North America. To eat only McDonalds food, three meals a day for 30 days is something not even the most die-hard McD's fan would recommend, but to do so under close medical examination is revealing to say the least. And the impact this diet has on his physical condition is stunning. Obesity is a major problem worldwide, and all you have to do is look around you to see the impending health care disaster waddling from meal to meal. I'm 47, and when I was in public school in the sixties I remember perhaps two or three girls who had a healthy amount of baby fat and one boy who was slightly obese. Today, children of this age group are phenomenally large and have already established disastrous eating habits. Eating habits and patterns which will get harder and harder to shed as they get older. The primary difference between then and now? Similar to Mr. Spurlock's experience I can count on one hand all the times my Mother and Father and I ate in a restaurant, and I wouldn't use all my fingers. My Mom made virtually every meal we ate, and there wasn't a fast food joint on every other corner and donut shops on all the others. We were not surrounded by things to eat nor where we bombarded with advertising showing us how happy our lives could be if ONLY we went to MacDonald's and ate things. Our society has been so inundated with the EAT = HAPPY and HAPPY = EAT message that we don't stand a chance when the Golden Arches come into view; "I'm having a cruddy day... but look, happiness is right there on the corner! All I have to do is get a huge hamburger, giant fries and an enormous soda... super size? HELL YEAH!". If consuming enough food to feed four people is clearly not enough to fill your considerable gullet, they'll glad give you two more portions for only 39 cents more.
The most shocking moment in this film for me was Mr. Spurlock's interview with the man about to have his stomach stapled smaller to control his adult onset diabetes and lower his body weight. In this interview he reveals the major factor driving his serious health problems was his consumption of three to four two litre bottles of pop a day... and he drank that amount until he was temporarily blinded due to diabetic complications. Whoa!!! Could there possibly be any more compelling evidence that respectable companies in our society manufacture food products that are perfectly legal, produced to government regulated standards, cheap to buy, broadly and readily available... and are highly addictive. Not so you say, it's just soda right? Well then try and imagine yourself drinking 6 to 8 litres of anything in a single day... and then go ahead an tell me it's not addictive.
This movie and the book "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser should be mandatory viewing and reading for all high school age children. If our society took more interest in what their kids where eating before school, at school, after school at the dinner table and then for snacks before bed, perhaps movies of this nature would seem totally ridiculous. Until then watch this movie and learn what "just a hamburger" or "just some fries" or "just a can of soda" can be setting you up for.
Morgan Spurlock came up with the terrific idea of using himself as a guinea pig for this documentary, even if it meant temporarily endangering his health and suffering some indigestion. Under medical supervision, he went to 20 cities and only ate at McDonald's, eating everything on the menu at least once for 30 days. Spurlock certainly has done a service in a cause I believe in, to educate people in nutrition and the dangers of digging one's grave with fast food container. Above his message of dietary abuse, Spurlock is also an excellent filmmaker, and deftly balances facts, interviews, and the progress of his personal foray into the world of greasy, sugary junk food, often with a good slice of humor. Yes, it is manipulated in parts, but there is so much information in the film for those who eat in McDonald's or any of their competitors to learn, that a little embellishment is forgivable.
What puzzles me, is where have our taste buds gone? I remember many years ago attempting to eat a Big Mac, and having to spit it out. Much of the attraction is the "idea" of McDonald's...Ronald the clown, the toys, the packaging, as well as an addictive x factor in the highly processed food, and the film clearly points all this out. Among the DVD extras not to be missed is the long interview with Eric Schlossen, author of "Fast Food Nation," and the short segment on how Spurlock's garbage increased along with his waistline. Good cinematography by Scott Ambrozy and top notch editing add to the enjoyment of this award winning documentary, which has a running time of 100 minutes.
I live across the street from a high school, and see the future of America waddle in and out. I think it would be a good idea for all the kids and their families to watch this documentary, so that they become more aware of what they are doing to their health, and what the future costs will be in doctor's bills and medications. It does seem that the film (as well as a few lawsuits) has influenced the market however, by eliminating the super sizes, and enlarging the options in the menu. Bravo! Morgan Spurlock, for his "Film of Epic Portions", which educates as well as amuses.
I highly dislike McDonald's. No, wait. I really find McDonald's disgusting! I used to feel that way before I saw "Super Size Me". But the movie actually super-sized my feelings about the world's biggest chain of bad food there is.
As strongly as I feel about them, when the lawsuits against them came out I couldn't help but feel that they were a bit frivolous, by not acknowledging the level of responsibility that we all have as individuals for what we put into our bodies. But worse than the lawsuit was the way it was dismissed, which was beyond laughable, putting the burden of proof on the people who sued McD, by partly saying that they had failed to demonstrate that the food McDonald's served was unhealthy.... Just see the movie, and you will be able to decide for yourself if this makes sense or not.
At the end of the day, the disappointing thing that becomes patently obvious after you see "Super Size Me" is that the consumer's health and best interests are not typically at the top of the agenda of the food industry as a whole, and social responsibility is a concept that seems to elude them when the interests of the shareholders and Wall Street expectations start to knock on the door.
What do I think about "Super Size Me"? It is a great documentary that puts the facts about this critical issue on the table, in a balanced way (actually attempting to incorporate McDonald's comments into the movie, without success). Hopefully a heads up and a call to action: watch what you eat and don't entrust your health to the food places. They owe allegiance to their owners, not to consumers.
on November 1, 2004
Morgan Spurlock creates a funny, informative documentary about the health issues with poor nutrition, fast food diet and soda. It is not realistic, as many people do not have a pure diet of fast food, but it emphasized the point of the unhealthy aspects of fast food.
I asked my doctor who saw the movie what he thought of it and he was amazed by the elevated liver enzyme levels and dramatic changes in Morgan's cholesterol after only one month. He said that he would've told him to stop because permanent changes to the liver could happen with sustained elevated enzyme levels.
The information about school children and school lunches was very informative especially after he interviewed the school for troubled students whose behavior seemed to change with the assistance of a nutritious diet. It was also more interesting when showed that there was no cost difference between the healthy and unhealthy meals. It makes you wonder why a school would not pick the option for nutritious food.
Morgan's portrayl of satiation is right on as the noises that he made after a fatty supersized meal are the same ones that I find myself making.
Check out the extras where he shows the decay rate of the fast food.
Overall a very funny and informative movie exhibitting the growing epidemic of obesity in America. Anyone see "The Biggest Loser"?
I would recommend High School Health classes show this movie as part of their education.
on August 20, 2004
This is a very, very funny movie. I was lucky to see it in movie form, so I can't tell you about the extras, but it was outstanding. I personally do not see the movie as an attack on mcdonalds, as an attack on the commericalization of fast food. the director does a great job detailing the attraction of fast food. I was also amazed at the damage he did to himself during the movie. eating the number of calories in both carbs and fat was enough to kill a horse!!!! He also made a star out of the gentlemen from nevada who eats nothing but big macs. the guy is skinny as a rail, but he only eats big macs. He skips the fries, and drinks diet coke!!
so remember moderation is a good thing:-)
on October 30, 2004
I love the people who attack this movie and say "No one thinks McDonald's is health food!" and "You can eat healthy at McDonalds' BLAH BLAH BLAH. Sounds like the movie hits too close to home, or more like it, to the waistline. Sure, you can eat healthy at McDonalds and exercise more. BUT AMERICA DOESNT DO THAT!!!! That's the point of the movie. And corporation's won't spend a dime to see that we change unless they can see a profit in it. Spurlock does not deny that 3 squares of Mickey D's a day is going overboard and people have to be responsible for their lives. I love the pinheads also say, "You can eat burgers and fries at fine dining establishments and get the same results." How many of us visit a Wolfgang Pucks's daily? Are they on every corner in every American city? SUPER SIZE ME is also about the marketing of fast food. The food, as McD's shows us on a daily basis, is secondary to that happy feeling we are supposed to get from the whole McDonaldland experience. The most sinful thing of all is that the marketing is not directed at adults who can see past the Golden Arches, but at children.
Also, why doesnt McDonald's ever show Ronald actually eating the food? Hmmmm?
on October 27, 2006
The film maker sets out to find out what would happen to a person if they ate Mc Donallads for all meals and did not eat anything that was not on their menu. His diet was entirely Mc Donnalds. This movie is approachable on so many levels for so many people. He uses an orderly process to show this resembling the scientific method if you are familar with that. It does not matter you do not. He has his health evaluated prior to beginning this experience and during the process. The health care providers who are monitoring him are shocked at what exactly is happening although possible. He also lets us into his life and his relationship with his Vegan Chef signifigant other. Her fears for his health and the changes in their relationship given his lack of function in the bedroom following his new diet. It is obvious that he is willing to sacrafice himself for the movie. He does recover after the documentary because his signifigant other has planned how to help him afterwards. She actually is contacted and gets a book written about his diet to recover from this Junk food only diet. This is not covered in the documentary, but happens later. With a great deal of determination and work he does recover from his experiment, but not without showing what it did to his health in a very short time.
This helped me with my cravings for fast food for a long time. It would be a great way to jump start a diet of healthy living. It is very inspiring.
I love documentaries and this one is a must see if you love them too.
Anyone can get something out of this movie. It is funny at the same time if that is possible. But it is. It is the filmakers personality. Not a dry documentary.
This one is okay for kids and teens as long as you do not mind hearing a little bit about impotence. Very little. It may go over their heads when they hear he is not as good in the bedroom after his diet. That is the only thing I can think of that might be objectionale to some people. I like to add these kid notes just in case because some people shelter their kids about certain things. If you are a teacher you may be able to edit this part out if needed not to upset parents. It is really small.
Incidentally Mc Donnalds phased out their supersize terminology after this movie. Their foods are now refered to as large size.