Super Size Me
24/02/2013 Super Size Me (DVD)
"I believe we live in a toxic food and physical inactivity environment, i.e. we live in an environment that almost guarantees we become sick."
Kelly Brownell, Professor at Yale Centre for Eating and Weight Disorders
If you haven't seen Super Size Me, it's a highly entertaining, funny and unexpectedly unsettling film.
Morgan Spurlock wanted to make a documentary about fast food. He wanted to interview eminent experts across the country about the effects of fast food on human health. But he wanted it to be personal, and entertaining. So he hit on an idea - what about if the whole time he was filming, he only ate McDonalds?
So Super Size Me was born. For a whole month, Spurlock ate McDonalds for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He had four rules:
1) he could only eat what was on the menu
2) he could only supersize his meal if it was explictly offered
3) he had to eat every item on the menu at least once during the 30 days
4) he was not allowed to quit - he had to eat McDonalds, and only McDonalds, three meals a day until the end of the experiment.
The documentary is informative as well as entertaining, with numerous talking head interviews which are very revealing about the food related issues doctors are dealing with today. It's horrifying to find out that petrol stations are selling half gallon sodas for one person which contain 48 teaspoons of sugar, while at the same time 1 in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.
What you're not expecting, though, is that the "fluffy" element of the film - the storytelling part which you expect to simply be the fun filler linking the 'serious' parts together - that is, Spurlock's amusing experiment with McDonalds - turns out to be easily as shocking and revealing as the hard science parts. The changes in Spurlock's health, fitness, psychological state, relationship with his partner and overall levels of wellbeing in as little as thirty days, is breathtaking. Even his doctors are shocked, and beg him to quit the experiment. The statistics on the changes inside his body are startling, to say the least. It's also, let's be honest, extremely funny to watch Spurlock, on day two, suffering from the McSweats and McStomachaches after his first super sized meal, and proceeding to McVomit out of the car window.
After this film was released, McDonalds withdrew the super size meal. They argue it was unrelated to the film. You may draw your own conclusions, but if you want to be highly entertained and shocked in equal parts, I recommend this for a fun Saturday night movie. Only, perhaps, not with a take away...
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