Fast Food Nation
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Inspired by the incendiary New York Times bestseller that exposed the hidden facts behind America's fast food industry, Fast Food Nation combines an all-star ensemble cast lead by Greg Kinnear, Wilmer Valderrama and Avril Lavigne with riveting, interlocked human stories to serve up "a firecracker of a movie that jumps off the screen" (Rolling Stone). When a marketing executive (Kinnear) for the Mickey's burger chain is told there's a nasty secret ingredient in his latest culinary creation?"The Big One"? he heads for the ranches and slaughterhouses of Colorado to investigate...but discovers the truth a bit difficult to swallow.
If you're still eating that fast-food burger after watching Super Size Me, you might not feel too hungry after watching Fast Food Nation, a fictionalized feature based on Eric Schlosser's bestselling nonfiction expose. Director Richard Linklater, who cowrote the screenplay with Schlosser, guides a topnotch ensemble cast through a peek behind the veil of how that Big Mac is born. Much of the film focuses on the illegal immigrants who work in the loosely regulated meat-packing industry, and actors including the luminous Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full of Grace), who plays a desperate but outraged laborer. Greg Kinnear also delivers a spot-on performance as a fast-food chain marketing manager, trying frantically to discover the source of stomach-turning contamination in the company's meat. Stories are woven in unexpected ways, and cameos by the likes of Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, and especially Bruce Willis keep the narrative fresh. The film has a point of view, but thanks to Linklater's deft touch, is never didactic. As Willis's character slyly says, "Most people don't like to be told what's best for them." Agreed, yet Fast Food Nation likely will help the viewer be more conscious of what's on the end of that fork. --A.T. Hurley
Extras from Fast Food Nation
Fast Food Nation Arcade-Style Game
Beyond Fast Food Nation
Super Size Me
Fast Food Nation (Paperback)
Fast Food Nation: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Stills from Fast Food Nation
- Commentary with Director Richard Linklater and Writer Eric Schlosser
- Manufacturing Fast Food Nation Featurette
- The Meatrix Flash Animation Short
- The Meatrix II Flash Animation Short
- The Meatrix II 1/2 Flash Animation Short
- The Backwards Hamburger Flash Animation Short
- Photo Gallery
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However, upon reflection, you really do get the necessary resolve, albeit not a BIG dramatic movie one. (Spoilers ahead)
Kinnear starts off with integrity, but in the end, does the practical thing and basically sells out so that he doesn't lose his job. To the character's credit, he does mention that further study is needed, but it's a deferral to someone else, passing off the buck so that he doesn't have to deal with what he's discovered. And yet, despite this, you empathize with the character, which shows us just how it is that the evil corporate machine continues unabated. Kinnear's character is no hero. But it's hard to say he's a villain either. He's ultimately weak, which is a trait that's all too common in a society beset by pressures and choosing compromise.
The Mexican girl, who up till the end, manages to maintain a measure of integrity, is suddenly forced to comprise everything, including her very person, for the sake of saving her husband after an plant-accident leaves him with hospitals bills they can't afford. Her story is the darkest and most tragic and the one the film ends on. She, in many respects, is, like the cattle, prodded and pushed to their eventual slaughter and dismemberment. Her tears at the end are for the poor creatures, herself and really all the migrant workers who are exploited by a corporate/political machine that doesn't care about them, and will use them up in the belief they're actually doing them a favor.
The teenage girl is the story's hopeful side. She yearns for a life of integrity, and is wise enough to learn the lessons imparted upon her from an uncle (who has past regrets), using it to make some courageous stances, one that fails, but one that succeeds. She leaves the film on a new life path of proactive movement, away from the trap, and with like-minded individuals.
Everything about these three characters is extremely realistic and human. It's a great film that will benefit from discussion afterwards.
It is a dramatic feature film geared around some of the concepts mentioned in the book of the same name (author, Eric Schlosser).
I do appreciate movies with thematic or social significance, but they're better flicks if they subdue the overt message. Provoke thought without dictating thought. Or otherwise, make a documentary...
Most of the subplots failed to engage. I've already read the book, and watched Food, Inc. -- both of which I highly recommend instead of this. Drama-wise, probably the best scene in the movie happens just about at the very end: without giving it away, the illegal woman from Mexico who first found employment in a motel has financial need to switch to working for the slaughterhouse. She's a fine actress. I also appreciate the crusty old cattle rancher, but he gets about 5 minutes of screen time. There's one other moment (which would really give too much away) that I appreciate. But overall -- give this film / video a pass.
This is a graphic and shocking film, I am not a keen admirer of American shock tactics for fun, but if the events are accurate- then people need to be aware. Really, what can be said? If people open their eyes, they will see that people are fat and sick, and older people can remember that food doesn't taste the way it probably used to. The film was not an enjoyable thing- but eye popping, to say the least. I held on til the end, I did leave a few times, however, as I am not as jaded as my spouse.
As a chef, I am involved in what my food is made of, I also spent all my life in another country and have a totally different food relationship than what I have seen here.
You are what you eat. End of.
Happy cows are healthy cows, eat sensibly. Eat responsibly. If one must eat meat, do your best to eat organic and ethically killed meats. Research this stuff for yourself- it info is out there. Research Kosher food laws, and try to seek out Kosher foods, as it won't be filled with stress adrenaline.
This is more of a commentary than a review but take what you will from it.
I read a review that said they wished for closure on the Greg Kinnear story arc... The closure was, that there was NO closure to his thread... or any of the other threads.
I think many viewers wanted something (ironically) neatly packaged for easy consumption... maybe spoonfed?
The whole movie was basically a "six degrees of separation" of the fast food industry.
Yes, for the most part illegal aliens do work in meat processing plants... yes the women may or may not have to do things to get ahead (but that happens EVERYWHERE).
Impressionable youths go off and become crusaders, and people that know what really goes on in the industry stay in there cushy jobs collecting a fat check, and turn the other cheek.
That's it for now. I'll add more later.