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McDonalds the movie: "Supersize Me"


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.  I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

I thought the point of the movie was the same as the point of "fastfood nation":

Make the author/film star more famous and wealthy.

I have to disagree with your take on Fast Food Nation. I haven't seen "Supersize Me" so I have no comment on that, apart from finding the premise a bit artificial. (Not to mention fairly obvious, in that performance art kind of way.)

Fast Food Nation, on the other hand, is an excellent piece of research journalism, and a fascinating read. On the whole I found it to be quite fair. Schlosser does not dismiss the fast food industry categorically, but looks at the bigger picture: how the fast food industry affects food production, children's health, worker safety etc., as well as how it is itself affected by, for example, the increase in highways and two career familes, and so on. He appreciates the very american-style inginuity of the founders of these places, and in some cases even says that these places can turn out a high-quality product. But he makes the nice observation (to this econ nerd's mind, anyways) that successes which we assume to be result of fair market capitalism are in fact often helped along by extensive government subsidies. It is one thing to feel guilty when you read a book that disparages (I don't even think it is that strong -- reproaches?) something you like, but it is another thing to simply dismiss it for that reason.

I did not get the sense Eric Schlosser was interested in self promotion, he just seemed like someone who was interested in studying how and why things are the way they are. I would compare him more to a combination of Upton Sinclair & Studs Terkel, or Kenneth Jackson.

Have you read the book?

(Edited because, while Sinclair Lewis wrote many good books, The Jungle wasn't one of them.)

Edited by Behemoth (log)
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I've discussed this with Eric, and the book he set out to write was a nostalgic history of everyday food and the unifying force of certain chain restaurants that brought different areas of the country together. What he discovered in the process of research was so horrifying that the book irresistibly turned itself into a diatribe. For information on the background on his book, see Unhappy Meals, an interview four years ago in Atlantic, the magazine that has backed Schlosser's entire journalistic career.

John Whiting, London

Whitings Writings

Top Google/MSN hit for Paris Bistros

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.  I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

I thought the point of the movie was the same as the point of "fastfood nation":

Make the author/film star more famous and wealthy.

So Edward R. Morrow was just in it for the bucks too, then?

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.  I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

I thought the point of the movie was the same as the point of "fastfood nation":

Make the author/film star more famous and wealthy.

So Edward R. Morrow was just in it for the bucks too, then?

How did Mr Murrow get dragged into this discussion?

What does he have to do with the price of tea in China?

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.  I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

I thought the point of the movie was the same as the point of "fastfood nation":

Make the author/film star more famous and wealthy.

I have to disagree with your take on Fast Food Nation. I haven't seen "Supersize Me" so I have no comment on that, apart from finding the premise a bit artificial. (Not to mention fairly obvious, in that performance art kind of way.)

Fast Food Nation, on the other hand, is an excellent piece of research journalism, and a fascinating read. On the whole I found it to be quite fair. Schlosser does not dismiss the fast food industry categorically, but looks at the bigger picture: how the fast food industry affects food production, children's health, worker safety etc., as well as how it is itself affected by, for example, the increase in highways and two career familes, and so on. He appreciates the very american-style inginuity of the founders of these places, and in some cases even says that these places can turn out a high-quality product. But he makes the nice observation (to this econ nerd's mind, anyways) that successes which we assume to be result of fair market capitalism are in fact often helped along by extensive government subsidies. It is one thing to feel guilty when you read a book that disparages (I don't even think it is that strong -- reproaches?) something you like, but it is another thing to simply dismiss it for that reason.

I did not get the sense Eric Schlosser was interested in self promotion, he just seemed like someone who was interested in studying how and why things are the way they are. I would compare him more to a combination of Upton Sinclair & Studs Terkel, or Kenneth Jackson.

Have you read the book?

(Edited because, while Sinclair Lewis wrote many good books, The Jungle wasn't one of them.)

Where to start?

Yes, I've read the book.

I have two problems with it.

1) I think he makes some leaps of logic in blaming fast food for the downfall of many things, and i just don't follow along.

2) In spite of what he says about writing some sort of nostalgic history, I got the sense that he had an angle he wanted to play up, and he never gave up that angle.

That said, I think if his book makes one person eat less fast food, I think that's probably a good thing.

It never hurts to mix in a salad now and then.

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.  I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

I thought the point of the movie was the same as the point of "fastfood nation":

Make the author/film star more famous and wealthy.

So Edward R. Morrow was just in it for the bucks too, then?

How did Mr Murrow get dragged into this discussion?

What does he have to do with the price of tea in China?

Edward R. Morrow got dragged in when someone implied that monetary gain was the only reason for someone to have done a piece of investagatory journalism.

In hindsight, I could have chosen my words better, as Edward R. Morrow is on a different scale than Spurlock -- but then again, no, because that's kind of my point. For some reason, even though Spurlock and Morrow were doing the same sort of work, one is lauded as a journalist of integrity and the other is decryed as "just in it to make a buck". The question is, why? Where do you draw the line between one and the other, how do you tell the difference? Is it because one is reporting on "real news" and the other's just dealing with fast-food restaurants? One has Major News Media behind him and the other doesn't? Is it a matter of who's more talented?

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I think someone mentioned somewhere in this thread that the guy was eating 5000 calories a day. The average man in the US eats about 2500 calories a day - and that's probably too much. One pound = 3600 calories. So if you eat 2500 excess calories a day - that's a weight gain of .69 pounds a day - or about 20 pounds a month - no matter what you're stuffing your face with.

I don't eat fast food - but I don't stuff my face with good food either. You'd think at some point people would exercise a bit of self-restraint instead of blaming everyone else in the world for their piggish habits. Robyn

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(Admin: merged into main thread)

Seeing as this is a food board, I would say that there is some relevance to this movie here.

I saw the movie last friday at Angelika and the director was there to answer questions.

The documentary was funny, full of facts and very entertaining. I highly recommend it!

Has anyone else seen it yet?

Apparently 1/4 people is obese now, scary stuff.

Edited by slkinsey (log)

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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Junk tastes good. It's fast and cheap and it fills my gut, which is the point of eating. There's no better junk than McDonald's.

An article in the Chicago Daily Herald Suburban Living section claims that the author lost weight, felt better eating McDonald's every day. Disses French cuisine. Shill or honest truth? You be the judge.

Don Moore

Nashville, TN

Peace on Earth

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It's amusing how so many people feel they need to come to the defense of some big corporation.

As if these same big corporations don't already have their own Public Relations departments and, barring the lack of success of the former, lawyers to do their legal defenses?? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Junk tastes good. It's fast and cheap and it fills my gut, which is the point of eating. There's no better junk than McDonald's.

An article in the Chicago Daily Herald Suburban Living section claims that the author lost weight, felt better eating McDonald's every day. Disses French cuisine. Shill or honest truth? You be the judge.

McDonalds corporate offices are in suburban Chicago. Coincidence?

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I just saw this film yesterday--and am surprised more people haven't posted about seeing it and what they thought of it.

I thought it was rather well put-together. To dispel a few myths earlier in this thread: Spurlock only supersizes when somebody asks him if he'd like to, and this happens only 9 times during the month (5 of them in Texas!). He does try every item on the menu once as one of his ground rules, so you see him eating a McSalad Shaker at one point for example. And he talks to one guy who eats at least 2 Big Macs every day...who is rather healthy-looking, interestingly enough.

Spurlock touches on a lot of issues that, while important, are not necessarily germane to the McDonald's story...like school lunches, which so far don't seem to be catered by McDonald's. (I'm interested in these side stories, but they aren't a McDonald's story.) One thing that really surprised me about the film is that, early in his monthlong experiment, he actually seems enthusiastic about eating at McDonald's. He admits this is "every 8-year-old's fantasy," and the sandwich he ends up ralphing up is a sandwich he KISSES before he starts eating. (hmmmmm...)

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I also saw this film yesterday. Several parts were quite humorous, particularly when they asked if he wanted to supersize it and he enthusiastically responds "well yes, I think I will!" I'm actually surprised how infrequently they actually asked him that - I seem to get asked more often than not. The contrast of his girlfriend being a vegan chef was quite interesting. She wasn't nearly as rabid as I thought they all were! :biggrin:

On whole, the movie certainly made me think about the crap I eat (which really isn't all that much). In the lobby of the theatre, there is a Burger King outlet. No nutritional information posted, and looking at the menu I was struck by how little extra it actually cost to add bacon and/or cheese to your double whopper. I could only shake my head. We later went out for Thai food, where I found I was more aware about what I was ordering - nothing deep fried. I'm curious to know what other peoples' first meal was after seeing the movie, and if they think their choice was affected.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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I thought this was a very entertaining and thought-provoking film.

As far as the criticism thusfar (mostly, I'm guessing, from people who haven't seen it yet) I think the focus on McDonald's specifically does the film a disservice. As the king of fast food, McDonald's is a convenient device to examine the obesity epidemic. Just as "Bowling for Columbine" wasn't just about the tragedy in Colorado, Spurlock goes farther afield. The film's own website says:

"Why are Americans so fat? Find out in Super Size Me, a tongue in-cheek - and burger in hand -- look at the legal, financial and physical costs of America's hunger for fast food."

With that in mind, I didn't think that subjects such as school lunch programs and the increasing incidence of diabetes were out of place.

I just feel that the ultimate point of SUPERSIZE ME was to point out that the public's health was not McDonald's ultimate interest -- their interest was in selling as many burgers and fries as they could, and that they were subtly encouraging us to buy as many burgers and fries as we could.

While I think it can't be emphasized strongly enough that McDonald's only interest is to sell as many burgers as possible, I think Spurlock's intention was to educate and encourage people to take personal responsibility for what they eat.

"Supersize Me", in the best tradition of satire and muckraking journalism, *should* be pissing people off and spurring conversation. Before I read Jeffy Boy's post I was going to say that if it convinces one person to stop and think before they shove a Big Mac in their mouth without considering what it will do to their body, then it has a done a public service. Thanks for making the point for me :smile:

Edited by Blondie (log)

Sometimes When You Are Right, You Can Still Be Wrong. ~De La Vega

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when I worked at for Sundance this year, I worked the VIP party on the night of the awards ceremony and met MOrgan Spurlock, he was a very nice guy (especially compared to some of the assholes that show up at Sundance functions). He was down to earth and funny.

I think it's true that he had to by contract in the movie say yes when they asked if he would: Like to supersize it, like to add a cherry pie, like fries with that...

funny...great concept.

"Make me some mignardises, &*%$@!" -Mateo

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We went out for dinner at Firefly afterwards. We wanted to walk, but it was over 20 city blocks from the theatre to the restaurant and we had only about 20 minutes to make it. We felt guilty taking the Metro to get there in time. We've both been doing the low-carb thing for months now and didn't make any exceptions over dinner. And we've only had fast food once since January 1...a breakfast drive-through from Mickey D's...so we felt somewhat self-righteous. :rolleyes:

He acknowledges that fast food joints serve what people want to eat, but "at least you could offer a choice besides fries and fries." Amen.

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Interesting article here (pdf): From Wallet to Waistline: The Hidden Costs of "Super Sizing". Presents similar data to that discussed in the movie, and for many of the biggest fast food eateries.

Check this out: a 16 oz "Gulp" from 7-11 costs 89 cents, but for just another dime you can double the size. Double it again for another 27 cents. That "best deal" 64 oz Double Gulp (assuming Coke) contains 600 calories.

I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself. - Johnny Carson
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