SUPER SIZE ME (Dir. Morgan Spurlock, 2004)
“Michael Moore Kicking Self For Not Filming Last 600 Trips To McDonald's” - The Onion 6/04
I went to McDonald's several days ago. It was around 9:30 AM and I was getting breakfast before I went in to work. I had an egg and cheese biscuit. It was satisfying and filling at the time and I thought it would propel me through my retail duties. A day later waking up to go in the same time to work the same shift I could still taste it. It didn't sit well with me, and I opted not to go back for breakfast there again.
You see the 3-4 block radius in which I work doesn't have many cheap options for working class food. There's a Panera Bread across the street, but a meal there runs like 5-7 bucks. So what can ya do? Morgan Spurlock decided what he was gonna do is do a Michael Moore on McDonald's ass.
So to speak, he was going to make a documentary with quick cuts, a bunch of sarcasm, and lots of graphic statistic info to catch a lot of people off guard with his damning exposé. Spurlock’s premise: eat every meal at McDonald's for one month, going for the super size option only when they offered it.
This caused unsurprising weight gain and liver troubles. Spurlock consulted three different doctors and numerous dieticians both before and during the experiment. One doctor even advised him 21 days in to stop the regiment for his own good. Spurlock wisecracked around the evidence and seemed proud to stick it out.
That's all well and good and at the time I viewed this film I found it amusing but like that before mentioned biscuit later it didn't sit well with me.
Spurlock never comes off as funny as he thinks he is, there was a preview for Michael Moore's upcoming FAHRENHEIR 911 that had the audience laughing like mad while SUPER SIZE ME in full only coaxed occasional chuckles.
Really what the film proves more than anything else is that apparently you can make a documentary about anything these days. I mean is it really that revealing that fast food is unhealthy? For years and years we've seen calorie and fat break-downs in magazines and newspapers.
Spurlock’s simple premise has merit, but a lot of the filler around it seemed like magazine news show blather.
And like many critics point out, one of the key questions Spurlock asks in the first 10 minutes "Where does personal responsibility end and corporate responsibility begin?" he never answers!
That said, it’s always interesting to see somebody follow through on an extreme physical regimen over a self imposed time period whatever his agenda.
To question a corporation's power of a large portion of the populace is a noble cause even through these crude methods (so didn’t need to see a shot of Spurlock’s vomit I have to say).
So overall with a creative use of paintings, old Ronald McDonald footage targeting toddlers, and a good ear for his choice of punctuating music (Curtis Mayfield's “Pusherman,” Ohio Express's “Yummy Yummy Yummy,” and even Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls”) this is a filling piece of film food. It just might upset your stomach and mind later.