Saturday, July 17, 2010

Super Size Me

In response to a lawsuit accusing McDonald’s of causing the morbid obesity of two teenage girls, Morgan Spurlock decides that he will embark on a month-long McDonald’s-only diet to determine how eating McDonald’s meals might affect a healthy person. The results are staggering: in thirty days, he gained 24.5 pounds, his cholesterol rose by 65 points, and his body fat increased by 7%; in addition, his liver became fat, he felt depressed and exhausted, he had massive food cravings and massive headaches and mood swings, he doubled his risk of heart failure and heart disease, and he lost his sex drive. One statistic is quite telling: in the course of 30 days, he consumed 30 pounds of sugar!
The film depicts most of the offerings on the McDonald’s menu in excruciating detail. Fortunately for the viewer, Spurlock does depict one healthy meal, his “last supper” before embarking on his experimental diet. Prepared by his vegan girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson, this meal consists of a vegetable tart, quinoa and roasted veggie salad, artichokes, and simple green salad—“all beautiful, organic, fresh vegetables that you’re gonna miss so much.” Luckily for Spurlock, she also prepares his “detox” diet: “The biggest thing is taking the crap out and putting the good stuff in, really focusing on nutrient-dense food, organic, seasonal fresh food … getting as many cleansing vegetables into his diet as possible.” As any nutritionist would agree, that’s good advice for anyone.

Fun Fact:
Shortly after the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, McDonald’s eliminated the “super size” option from its menus, denying that Super Size Me had any influence on this action.

Released 2004
Written and directed by Morgan Spurlock

Featuring Morgan Spurlock, Dr. Daryl Isaacs, Dr. Lisa Ganjhu, Dr. Stephen Siegel, Bridget Bennett, Eric Rowley, Mark Fenton, Alexandra Jamieson, John F. Banzhaf III, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, Dr. Lisa Young, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson, Subway spokesperson Jared Fogle, Dr. Margo Wootan, Marion Nestle, GMA Deputy CEO Gene Grabowski, McDonald’s spokesperson Lisa Howard

Awards: 2004 Edinburgh International Film Festival New Director’s Award; 2004 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival MTV>News: Docs: Prize; 2005 Golden Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture, Documentary; 2004 Sundance Film Festival Directing Award, Documentary; 2005 WGA Documentary Screenplay Award

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