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King Corn

4.3 out of 5 stars 359 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Engrossing and eye-opening, KING CORN is a fun and crusading journey into the digestive tract of our fast food nation where one ultra-industrial, pesticide-laden, heavily-subsidized commodity dominates the food pyramid from top to bottom - corn. Fueled by curiosity and a dash of naivet‚, college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis return to their ancestral home of Greene, Iowa to figure out how a modest kernel conquered America. With the help of some real farmers, oodles of fertilizer and government aid, and some genetically modified seeds, the friends manage to grow one acre of corn. Along the way, they unlock the hilarious absurdities and scary but hidden truths about America's modern food system.

Product Details

  • Actors: Bob Bledsoe, Earl L. Butz, Dawn Cheney, Ian Cheney, Don Clikeman
  • Directors: Aaron Woolf
  • Writers: Ian Cheney, Aaron Woolf, Curtis Ellis, Jeffrey K. Miller
  • Producers: Curt Ellis, Aaron Woolf, Curtis Ellis
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (359 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001EP8EOY
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "King Corn" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Verified Purchase
King Corn tells the truth. No one in my area wants to rent a farm with farm buildings. Farm management experts at [...] advise tearing down most, if not all, buildings. At one time there were neighboring 'ghost farmsteads' with trees, orchards, but no mailboxes. Most of those remnants are now gone.

I've burned down all my wooden buildings, except for the 'century house'. I'm 75. When I'm gone someone else can raze that.

The impoverishment and de-humanizing of Iowa is deliberate government policy, the opposite of some European countries. Our present system does work well for huge agricultural supply and commodity conglomerates.

High tarrifs on imported cane sugar exacerbate the problem. The goal is to keep Americans eating inferior corn sugar products at protected prices.

It takes a lifetime of on-farm experience to successfully operate a viable 'sustainable agriculture' farm. Such expertise is dying or dead. Iowans raise 'export kids' to find careers in other states.

The DVD 'King Corn' tells the true story on many levels. The rationale for providing much food at low cost is deeply flawed and unsustainable, but highly appealing to the 'sound bite' crowd. Food that is truly 'good for you' may cost twice as much in stores and four times as much in restaurants. Are you ready, willing and able to pay for good quality rather than poor quantity?
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King Corn is kind of like Super Size Me's little brother. It traces the pervasive influence of corn on modern America, including the obesity epidemic and the fact that Iowa is growing trillions of bushels of *non-edible* corn to continue receiving lucrative government subsidies. College buddies Ian and Curt, both from the east coast, discover that they both had distant relatives from the same small town of Greene, Iowa. Ian and Curt decide to go to Iowa and plant one acre of corn, following it through its lifecycle, including where it goes after the harvest.

The film starts off slowly as the reasons for the trip are explained. The prerequisite talking heads introduce some scary factoids about how Americans are literally made of corn; if you do a hair analysis, it's like a diet diary, and the vast majority of the American diet (corn-fed beef, fast foods and processed foods) contains corn derivatives. Much of the corn we ingest is in the guise of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), a cheaper alternative to sugar that is produced via a scary chemical conversion involving several toxic acids. HFCS has been directly linked to the current obesity crisis and its impact on Type II Diabetes (the body processes HFCS differently from table sugar). Prior to the 1970s, hardly any company used HFCS due to its high cost. But after then-Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz did away with the old New Deal market control policies in favor of rapid expansion in 1973, there was a constant surplus of cheap (and non-edible) corn, fueling the rapid expansion of the corn syrup industry. Here's a quick test: walk into any convenience store and count how many items contain corn, specifically corn syrup.
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Whether you are well versed in the ways of the industrial food chain or just beginning to learn about it, King Corn is an entertaining film that delivers a lot of information. 2 friends plant an acre of corn, giving the viewer insight on the entire process. There are many other subjects touched upon, including the far reaching impacts of conventional agriculture, the disappearance of family farms, the economic impact of corn on small town America. This film would be a great starting point for people just learning about the current state of the food system, or the film the well versed person might lend to their less than knowledgeable friends. Much of the truth in The Omnivore's Dilemma delivered by 2 nice guys, Fischer Price stop-motion animation included.
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This documentary film is a sort of prequel to Fast Food Nation, and does for film what Michael Pollan has done in his two books, The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Best friends Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis relocate from the east coast to Greene, Iowa (population 1,015) to grow an acre of corn and then follow its fortunes after harvest. Planting an acre of 31,000 genetically modified kernels takes eighteen minutes. Fertilizers, sprays, water and time will yield about 200 bushels or 10,000 pounds of corn. That's why there are literal mountains of corn in Iowa. But none of it is edible, and was ever intended to be, until it is artificially processed. Over half of the crop goes to feed cattle, another third goes for ethanol and exports, and then a significant minority of it goes to make high fructose corn syrup and similar sweeteners that you'll find on virtually every label of processed food. In short, this is corn that is not really food. Cheney and Ellis netted a loss of $19.92 on their acre of corn, but that's before massive government subsidies put them in the black. Not even the farmers in this film were happy about agribusiness as usual, but that's the story of corn to date.
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