Super Size Me (2004) Poster

(2004)

User Reviews

Review this title
418 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
An entertaining and interesting movie – but those who sneer at McDonalds or fat Americans are missing the point
bob the moo19 September 2004
Living with his vegan girlfriend, Morgan Spurlock decides to try and eat McDonalds for every meal for a month. At the same time he reduces the amount of exercise and walking to match that of the 'average' American to make for a fair experiment. After an initial bit of sickness he gets to enjoy the food and eats it three times per day. However after a week or two, his doctors begin to notice significant increases in body fat, cholesterol and blood pressure. Interspersed with this are interviews with experts on the nutritional value, marketing and impact of McDonalds and fast food generally.

Several years ago I read the book Fast Food Nation and basically that ended my interest in the main fast food outlets and saw my consumption of processed foods drop quite a bit. I did not become a born again Christian and still eat rubbish food and am no role model for healthy living! However, what I have notice in the press and in the audiences for this film is a rather smug 'look at them' attitude as if this has no impact in Europe and Americans are some sort of freak show and nothing to do with us. This film may focus on McDonalds because it is the world leader in fast food which is high in saturated fats but if all you take from this film is pleasure at seeing McDonalds taking a kicking then you are missing the point. The film was challenging to me and I hope it was to many viewers – but I have not eaten in McDonalds or Burger King since 2001 and a bad bout of food poisoning in early 2003 ended my ability to enjoy KFC. So why did I find it challenging? Well, because like many others, I eat too many saturated fats and, regardless of where they come from (oven foods, ready meals or fast food) I need to cut them down. Spurlock sends this message in a really entertaining way while also having good digs at McDonalds.

His relaxed style is refreshing and allows the facts to speak for themselves. He clearly doesn't like fast food as a concept but he is no Michael Moore and is only slightly biased. He is certainly a lot more interesting than his vegan girlfriend who is one of those overbearing self-righteous types who look down their nose at anything. His good humour makes the film but it is the documentary rather than the gimmick that kept me watching. The facts on obesity do speak for themselves and they are frightening and all the more so when you actually sit and think about what you eat – sweets, colas, ready meals, crisps, processed foods; whether it is salt, saturated fats or sugar, any of these foods spells trouble if they are not part of a balanced diet. My only fear of this film is that many viewers will look at McDonalds and say 'they are to blame, lets get them' and simply ignore that it is very easy to eat an unhealthy diet – go to any supermarket and you'll find 'easy' food served up quickly but without the things your body needs. I was challenged because I can easily veg out for several days and be too tired to cook decent food and this reminded me why I need to – hopefully many viewers will take that challenge and not just turn from one fatty diet (McDonalds) to another (ready meals).

I personally didn't find the film as funny nor as shocking as many commentators have said it was but it was still consistently entertaining and interesting, true not the most scientific of experiments but that is not the point. True, very few people eat McDonalds every day but many, many people do eat foods high in saturated fats everyday even if they are not all happy meals and, in this way, maybe Spurlock's experiment wasn't so far-fetched and, lets be honest, like their own lobbyist said – McDonalds are part of the problem. That the film has had an impact is undeniable – the super size option has been removed and how many salads did you see in McDonalds this time last year? It may seem unfair and I can understand why McDonalds has been quick to counter it and call it unfair and, in a way it is unfair – why should they carry the whole blame for an overwhelming surge in unhealthy eating, but I suppose that's what you get for being the market leaders!

Overall this was a very entertaining film that mixes its gimmick well with humour but also a good core of a documentary with interesting talking heads who don't rant or rave but simply look to the figures in most cases. However, I would say this; if you only see this film to sneer at those visibly unhealthy or to tear a strip off McDonalds then you are missing the bigger point – it is easy to eat unhealthy, cheap food no matter what brand it is – eating it every day and having a poor diet is a major problem and, if nothing else this should challenge all of us to look at our own habits and not just point and laugh at others.
216 out of 259 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Not a GREAT movie, but definitely a good and important one. (***)
Ronin478 June 2004
Fast food is good. I freely admit to running through fast food drive-thrus (Wendy's, Taco Bell and McDonald's being my top 3) often, sometimes several times a week. And I'm not the only one. I'm also one of the many millions of people in the country who are, uh...not thin. Think there's a connection?

In "Super Size Me", a documentary from talented debut filmmaker Morgan Spurlock that manages to be both entertaining and horrifying, he attempts to draw a parallel between the fast food culture we live in and the rampant (and ever-increasing) rate of obesity in America.

To do this, he launched into a little science experiment. A 33 year-old New Yorker in excellent health, he would eat nothing but McDonald's for an entire month, to gauge the effects on his body. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at McDonald's and whenever they asked him to supersize, he would have to accept.

Before starting, he consulted three doctors, a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, and a general practitioner, all of whom said this experiment obviously wouldn't be GOOD for him, but that the damages would be minimal.

Instead, the results were pretty shocking. Spurlock gained almost 30 pounds (over 10 in the first week), saw his cholesterol skyrocket, and experienced frequent nausea, chest pains, mood swings and loss of sex drive.

During this month he also drove around the country, interviewing several different people on the topic (including a "Big Mac enthusiast" who has eaten over 19,000 Big Macs). His research on our fast food culture definitely yields some interesting information, especially when he interviews a group of 1st-graders, and more of them can identify Ronald McDonald than Jesus or George Washington.

"Super Size Me" isn't perfect. It's a little repetitive and has a certain thinness to it (no pun intended!) that prevents it from being one of the truly great comedic documentaries of recent years like "American Movie" or "Bowling For Columbine".

But even if it falls short of greatness, it's an entertaining and thought-provoking film (especially if you're, uh...not thin).

Spurlock is a witty and engaging host (sort of like Michael Moore but not as much of a windbag), and I also liked his girlfriend (a vegan chef!) who looks on his experiment with a mixture of amusement, horror, and dismay. Just like we do.
132 out of 164 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Like "Jaws" kept you out of the water, "Super Size Me" will keep you away from fast food restaurants
Smells_Like_Cheese21 February 2005
I had a report to do on childhood obesity, and I could use this documentary as one of my resources. May I say that I was glad that I watched this film. It is very terrifying what the fast food industry has done to this country. I'm not trying to bad rap them, they're a business. That's what they do, they try to make money. Do I agree with all the law suits going on with people blaming McDonald's and Burger King for making them fat? No, nobody is shoving the food down their throats. But there are so many people out there that are heavy users of fast food, and this documentary shows what the damaging effects can be of eating fast food. I gave up fast food, and have not had any for over a year now, and my health has boosted up majorly. Watching this film might make you want to stay away from the fast food restaurants, but if not, it'll make you think more about what you are eating.

10/10
133 out of 169 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Exposing an epidemic
0rganism21 June 2004
"Supersize Me" is an original, humorous, disgusting, shocking, and -- overall -- scary film. Spurlock takes us on a whirlwind tour of the downfall of American health through poor nutrition, padding a lot of information with anecdotal footage of his own foray into a McDonald's-only diet.

What amuses me about the negative "reviews" for this film at IMDb is how the majority of the naysayers focus on exactly one thing: Spurlock's 30-day McDonalds binge. Heck, you could pick that much out of the trailer, and write a slanted review based solely on the imperfections of that particular plot device as an overall impact study and call it a day. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that's what's happening, either. Certainly, anyone who's watched the political BS pour in to commentary for Michael Moore's documentaries knows how it's done.

However, if you actually take the time to watch the film, you'll see something quite different emerge: a pattern of childhood indoctrination, poor nutrition, inadequate exercise, and skyrocketing obesity rates, that's sweeping this nation like a plague. Spurlock's self-afflicted experiment is, as I've mentioned, a continuity device that unifies the broad range of the film within a single case study. In the total scope of what's addressed in this film, it's a relatively small part, and many decry it as unrealistic.

But Spurlock never claimed it was entirely realistic! He says as much in the film: he ate as much McDonalds in a month as *nutritionists* recommend one eat in 8 years or more. However, the problem is, a lot of Americans are eating as much fast food in a year as he ate in a month. What is the net effect going to be after five years? After 10? Spurlock further restricts himself to an AVERAGE amount of walking exercise, typical for our national population. The problems he exhibits after 3 weeks on this diet are NOT unique, they are the ones that people around the country are exhibiting in spades: weight gain, fatty liver, depression, inactivity.

It cannot be overemphasized that this condition is widespread. Those arguing "personal responsibility" have to answer the question of how it is that suddenly, over the last 30 years, so many people have "chosen" a life of sickness and self-destructive addiction over one of health and common sense. The effect of mass-media indoctrination is an obvious factor, and the film addresses it well. Spurlock also takes us behind the scenes at school lunchrooms and gymnasiums around the country, where we find out a little bit of what's been happening to the kids of America. Is the "french fry" truly the only vegetable we can afford to serve to school kids, aside from the dubious catsup? How children could be expected to show "personal responsibility" above and beyond that exhibited by their likely-obese parents in such an environment of brand franchising, 2nd-rate meal "programs", and cutbacks in PE/recess time is a matter that I invite all fast-food apologists at IMDb to explore.

For pure entertainment value, I have to deduct points for an uneven pace (especially near the end) and insufficient exposition from some of the people in the film. Still, "Supersize Me" stands as an indictment of the prepackaged food industry, its marketing hype, and its congressional lobbyists. It also serves as a warning to Americans trapped in demanding low-activity jobs which leave little time for lunch or exercise: don't eat the fries!

8/10
95 out of 121 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Please don't
DeeNine-229 November 2004
This documentary film by Morgan Spurlock asks the intriguing and topical question: What would happen to a normal 33-year-old man in perfect health who stands six feet two and weighs 185 pounds if he ate nothing but McDonald's fast food for thirty days?

Well, it is not recorded that he shrunk. In fact, Spurlock, forsaking his vegan girlfriend's healthy cuisine, gained about 25 pounds and saw his cholesterol level shoot up to dangerous levels as he huffed and puffed his way three times a day through myriad Big Macs and fillet o' fish sandwiches, milk shakes, sodas, fries and other not-so-delicate items from the menu of the world's largest purveyor of fast food. He had hired three doctors and a registered dietician to check his vital signs and give him a thorough physical exam prior to this experiment in not-so-fine dining. Before the gorging was done all three doctors and the dietician advised him in the most uncertain terms for the sake of his health to stop eating the sugar-laden, fat-smeared, nearly fiber-free "diet." But Spurlock, trooper that he is, amid the McTingles and the McPukes, hung in there until the very end.

I can report that he survived the experience. Whether the viewer will is another matter. If you yourself (God help you) are seriously overweight you might want to pass on this excruciatingly detailed misadventure under the Golden Arches. All that fat slapping against those waddling thighs (Spurlock mercifully fuzzed out the faces of his subjects, allowing us only body shots), all that jiggling flesh under those XXXL garments might be too uncomfortably close to home for some sensitive viewers.

But was this a fair test of the harmful consequences of eating Happy Meals and being super sized? After all, Spurlock eschewed exercise during the experiment, and of course nobody (?) actually eats every meal at McDonald's as Spurlock did. Furthermore he actually doubled his normal caloric intake from about 2500 calories a day to about 5000. Regardless I think we can say that his experience was indicative.

The real question to be asked here (and Spurlock asks it) is whether McDonald's (or as some have dubbed thee) whether McDeath's can be or should be held responsible for the epidemic of obesity that is sweeping the country. Spurlock implies that McDonald's should be held responsible at least for its advertising aimed at children. I agree with this. But I also think that adults ought to know what they are doing. If they choose to chow down at a place that loves to super size and under nourish them, perhaps they themselves should be held responsible for the consequences. However, some people feel that the advertising has been so insidious for so long and the food so addictive to susceptible individuals that McDonald's ought to be taken to court just as the tobacco companies have been.

For more information on the epidemic, its consequences, and what can be done about it, I refer the interested reader to The Hungry Gene: The Science of Fat and the Future of Thin by Ellen Ruppel Shell; Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fastest People in the World by Eric Critser; and Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser. Schlosser appears in one of the bonus features being interviewed by Spurlock. This interview is one of the highlights of the DVD. Schlosser is articulate, candid, and very well-informed.

Spurlock of course is a performer as well as a film maker. His directorial style owes something to that of Michael Moore, and his playful on-camera muggings remind me of Ian Wright of PBS's Globe Trekker series.

See this as an introduction to this most serious threat to the nation's health, especially as it affects children. Morgan Spurlock is to be commended for bringing the reality of the epidemic to the attention of the general public.

By the way, "McTingles" are those highflying, scary feelings you get after rapidly injecting massive amounts of pure sugar and caffeine into your system, usually by gulping your way through a 64-ounce McCola--and to think when I was a kid, Coca-Cola came in six-ounce bottles. How ever did we survive? "McPukes" are self-explanatory.

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
128 out of 167 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
McGurgle
ferguson-616 May 2004
Greetings again from the darkness. My daughter and I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this film since first reading about it months ago. Director (and lab rat) Morgan Spurlock takes on a fast food exclusive diet for 30 days and fills us in on the painful steps and sickening conclusion. Many have attacked Spurlock for picking on McDonalds or for not selecting the healthiest thing possible at every meal. These people are missing the point. He explains in the movie that McDonalds is the selection because they so dominate the fast food scene in the world and especially in Manhattan (where he lives). He also explains his meal selection by showing that most McDonalds orders include burgers and fries. Personally, I wondered more about his numerous milk shakes and parfaits. These seem to be the items that were a bit extreme.

For the most part, Spurlock does an excellent job proving that we eat too much fast food, that it is very harmful to our bodies, and that there is evil at work conditioning kids that fast food is real food. The most frightening part of the story was the school cafeteria segment showing how kids eat when parents are not around and when school administrators pay no attention. This is the crux of our problems. The Georgetown professor compared it to the early candy cigarettes that condition kids that cigarettes create happiness. The same can be said for fast food and its happy meals and playgrounds. I did not agree too much with the doctor's comparison of Spurlock to Nic Cage in "Leaving Las Vegas". Cage's character was trying to commit suicide, while Spurlock was running an experiment and even considered quitting when the doctors were begging him to. Overall, a nice documentary without the total disregard for decency and the truth shown by Michael Moore in most of his films. I believe this should be required viewing for all junior high and high school students, as well as all expecting parents. This could be an educational tool to convince people to put a little more effort into their health.
115 out of 156 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
It's McFunny 'cuz it's McTrue!
rchadwi@hotmail.com4 April 2005
This movie is a documentary for those who hate documentaries. Funny, relatively fast-moving, and a cautionary tale without being preachy. Spurlock is a funny guy and treats his subject with good humour, making us laugh and shake our collective heads over our own poor decision-making. There is no "Ronald is Satan" message here, and no "look how bad Americans are." It is simply a down-to-earth, well paced, insightful and humorous look at how insidiously entrenched The United Corporation of America has become in our institutions and minds, and the consequences therein.

One of my favorite scenes was a peek into a school where the now-famous (and irritating) Jared Fogel (you know...fat guy becomes skinny guy !thanx! to Subway) does a "get fit" speech. Spurlock interviews a mom and her significantly overweight daughter, and the daughter actually laments that of course SHE cannot lose weight like Jared because...and this is priceless...SHE cannot afford to buy/eat two Subway sandwiches a day! So this girl walked away actually believing that the ONLY WAY TO LOSE WEIGHT would be to follow Jared's example, VERY SPECIFICALLY, and eat two Subway brand sandwiches each day. So for her, even the SOLUTION to her problem had a corporate logo! Amazingly, she could not even envision the general message of "eat right/exercise more."
24 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
WHOA WHOA WHOA here!
vcl330 July 2006
Since congress passed the "Cheeseburger Bill" which states that you cannot sue McDonald's (or any other fast-food establishment) for making you fat, here's my take: If "Super Size Me" caused McDonald's business to suffer in any way, shape or form, no way can they sue Morgan Spurlock for making this movie. No where in this film does he ever say, "Don't eat McDonald's food". What DOES he say? "I ate McDonald's food for 30 days & this is what happened to me." "You be the judge". 'Nuff said. What is your view on this documentary? If you want to eat this food, do so, but you cannot place blame on any one person or thing. If we do away with fast foods entirely, (which won't happen). people will still get obese & unhealthy by going to the supermarket! I think this problem got it's roots in 1954 when McDonald's started out. Back in those days, nutrition was relatively unheard of. Since then, EVERY single neighborhood in North America has at least one McDonald's. Now we as a people are much more health conscious that ever before. Now we have a prob because we just love burgers.
6 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Focus was/is on the kids
keeb6925 May 2005
Morgan Spurlock's documentary, "Super Size Me," is an eye-opening look at the world of fast food, and the McDonald's company in particular. Through the use of humor and statistics (some frightening), we discover how the fast food industry has ingrained itself into the American psyche and has contributed to the ever-increasing rate of obesity in our nation. The most shocking aspect of this film was seeing the effect this has on our most valuable asset: today's children.

Until I watched this movie, I did not realize how many public schools have allowed commercial fast food restaurants to infiltrate their school lunch programs. When offered fast food for lunch every single day, accompanied by the vending machines filled with candy, chips and soft drinks, America's children are hard-pressed to find a piece of fresh fruit or a true vegetable on their lunch trays, unless they bring one from home. Parents who send their children to school without a packed lunch need to view this film in order to educate themselves about what their children are REALLY being served at lunchtime. Parents trust that the schools will feed their children well, and that trust is being betrayed on a daily basis. What adult would want to eat lunch at the same fast food restaurant every single day? What adult would think that is healthy? Yet that is exactly what we are doing to the children by allowing the commercial restaurants to provide the school lunches.

At the same time the children's Physical Education courses and recess -- i.e. exercise time -- have been dramatically slashed. Some kids get less than 20 minutes away from their desks each day. By contrast, when I attended grade school in the 1980's, we had P.E. class every day for a full hour plus three recess periods of 20 minutes each (less if we misbehaved). That's 2 full hours of exercise time during the school day! And it was a very important 2 hours; it was time to burn off our naturally abundant childhood energy, to strengthen muscles, to forge friendships with children who don't live near us, to learn the rules of new sports and games, and to build social skills like good sportsmanship, team-building, anger management, and leadership. I pity today's grade schooler who gets no time at all outside of the classroom to pursue these all-important activities.

As any parent knows, a child needs vitamins, minerals, fresh air, and lots and lots of exercise. Because so many of today's children receive none of these, it is no wonder that so many are overweight and prone to illness. Children who grow sluggish and sleepy from their fat-laden, fast food meals are often labeled "lazy" by their parents and teachers. Meanwhile, other children are anxious and restless for exercise, but they are given drugs instead of recess to help them sit still. These children need our help!

Thanks, Morgan. Your movie is both a wake-up call and a call for action.

Kelly Stuart, DietFacts.com Webmaster
15 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
XXL for the masses
tributarystu5 February 2005
I never thought I'd see a documentary as unsettling as this based on fast food products. It's so suspenseful at one point that I actually asked myself whether this really was a mere documentary or a dramatic film.

As crazy as it may sound, director Spurlock underwent a one month long "therapy", consisting of a McDonaldesque menu - at all times of the day. It may sound mesmerizing for some, but, in the end, the results are frightening.

The issue of being fat is a modern tale in America. When people are too well off and lack one or another essential trait of a normal human being strange things start happening. What's so delightful in a very grotesque sort of way is that Spurlock doesn't only sacrifice himself on the altar of junk food in order for the public to admire some devastating effects on the human body, but he does it with style. Structured on chapters and similar in the making with Moore's "Bowling for Columbine", Spurlock's film is still enjoyable and pretty to the point. It's serious when it has to be, amusing when it can and extremely captivating. All in all, one hell of a "documentarian" ride.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
enlightening and persuasive
zeliset29 November 2004
Super Size Me is a great documentary. Enlightening and informative, it uncovers the fast food industry's conspiracy, that it's not about the people they serve, but its about the money we give them. They manufacture and process foods so that we HAVE to have more. "You just can't eat one chip" isn't just good marketing - they really put stuff in the food, even in our meat, to make it more addictive! The food industry in general is just another self-seeking money making machine, no better than the big companies that outsource their manufacturing to inhumane sweatshops in third world countries. They exploit the poor to feed their gluttonous and materialistic appetites.

It took a lot of courage to go through with this experiment, risking your own body for a greater cause. This film will hopefully help change the way the fast food industry thinks and operates, exposing the conspiracy. If nothing else, Super Size Me will inspire you to eat right, exercise, and possibly become a vegan. At the least you'll be motivated to eat better.

Though the film is a bit slow at times, considering the content, it's definitely worth seeing. As a result of watching this movie, I don't want to eat fast food EVER AGAIN!!!! We need more films and books like this one.

Anyone who cares about what goes on in the world should see this film. I highly recommend it.
72 out of 107 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A National Epidemic Highlighted by a Dangerous Stunt
lawprof9 May 2004
Morgan Spurlock undoubtedly aspires to follow in the path of Errol Morris, Roger Moore, Joel Sucher and other leading documentarians. A young man with an adoring and beautiful girlfriend, he decided to unmask the evil of fast food and its impact on an increasingly obese America. That Americans eat too much fast food - too much of any kind of food - and eschew exercise is hardly news. But a full-scale documentary examining sloth by the bucket-full focusing on one major commercial phenomenon hasn't been done before.

Spurlock decided to eat at McDonald's and only McDonald's for a full month. That's three meals a day with no other food source. Before launching on what actually was a death-defying trip (literally since for variety he consumed Mickey D's food in Texas, L.A. and a lot of other places) he had a full baseline workup with a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist and an internist who gets more screen time than his medical colleagues-he gravitates between being supportive and alarmist, the latter increasingly the right response to Spurlock's bizarre quest.

Spurlock also has a nutritionist/dietician and a physical trainer to keep tabs on him. The only specialty missing, in retrospective one who might have been useful, was a psychiatrist. His girlfriend, a vegan chef no less, looks forward to the month with a mixture of humor and alarm.

"Supersize Me" has lots of scientific information on the nature of fast food and its impact on an America that eats out more than it dines at home, a change from a past where mom or a wife faithfully prepared most meals. Nutritionists decry the change in our culture, educators point out the impact of fast food in school cafeterias on kids' health, a former Surgeon General gravely decries the menace and the usual person-on-the-street suspects shock viewers by their bumbling inability to define such terms as "calories." A food industry spokesman is blithely unaware that he is being set up to look like an ass. And, of course, there are multiple shots of Spurlock vainly connecting with polite drones at McDonald's HQ seeking an interview which never comes. Does this all sound familiar?

Spurlock's month-long consumption of McDonald's products gets old fast although he and the director try to add some novelty like showing him vomiting after downing a supersized meal. Periodic visits to get his bloods and body checked reveal the insidious impact of a bizarre diet. His puzzled internist tells us several times he's never before seen a liver compromised by a high fat diet.

The problem, though, is that Spurlock is like those laboratory rats who develop arcane tumors after consuming the equivalent of something that no human could ingest in ten lifetimes. His peregrination from one Mc D's to another becomes boring as his health is clearly threatened and he stubbornly refuses medical advice to give it up.

The best part of "Supersize Me" is the well-presented information on schools and fast foods and how a few are resisting the commercial tide that aims junk at kids from kindergarten through high school. Even inmates, we're told, can be well fed at no greater cost than the fat-laden diets these essentially sedentary wards of the state have shoveled at them.

Technically, this is a well-filmed documentary with creative use of multiple images and graphs.

I hope Spurlock has more ideas for documentaries. He's had a lot of time to think about it-an epilogue informs us it took him almost a year to regain his former fitness and health thanks, partially, to his vegan lover's detoxification diet.

Oh, and McDonald's is phasing out supersized meals, a minor withdrawal in a serious public health war.

7/10.
57 out of 84 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Better than I thought it would be
FilmOtaku8 February 2005
When I first heard about Morgan Spurlock's 2004 documentary "Super Size Me", I was pretty jaded, because common sense would dictate that if one eats fast food, they are going to have weight and health issues. Indeed, this is what happened to Spurlock, however the magnitude of the health deterioration was astounding.

Presented in a sometimes humorous format, "Super Size Me" is an experiment conducted by Spurlock in which he would only eat McDonald's food, three times a day, with the caveats that he would have to eat everything off the menu at least once, and that he would limit his exercise to the amount of exercise the "average" American gets per day. Therefore, if he is nearing his walking limit for the day (measured by a pedometer he wears) he would have to grab a cab or find another way to get from A to B without walking. Predictably, he gains a lot of weight, (though the rapidness of the weight gain is alarming – at first, 10 pounds in one week) but it is his actual health tests that are the most frightening. By the end of the second week, his doctors, who originally approved his experiment (with some reservation, naturally) were practically begging him to stop. Other than the experiment itself, "Super Size Me" is peppered with facts about the fast food industry and various interviews with industry insiders.

I definitely found the film enjoyable, and somewhat informative (though having read Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, a lot of the information was old news) but there was something missing that is hard to grasp; perhaps the film needed a little more substance and cold hard facts instead of watching him constantly eat. However, it is my understanding that the supplemental materials on the DVD are extremely informative and even include an interview with Schlosser, so perhaps more insight could be found there. Spurlock is a great presenter, however, because he is just a regular guy who has a great amount of charm and good camera presence. He was entertaining and likable enough to really illicit concern when his health was so obviously starting to become effected. Ironically, his girlfriend (and now wife) is a vegan chef, so it was mildly humorous to watch her preparing a detox menu for him using the most apropos vegetables to clean out his system.

The aim for most documentaries is to present a thesis and then not only prove it, but provide supporting evidence. Though the thesis of "Super Size Me" was kind of a foregone conclusion, Spurlock manages to provide us with supporting evidence that doesn't make the entire film one big "Well, duh!" which is what I kind of expected, going into the film. If you have seen or plan to see this movie and are interested in the subject matter, I would highly recommend reading Schlosser's Fast Food Nation to gain even more insight on the business of fast food. It's a very interesting read and would make a good companion piece to this documentary. 6/10 --Shelly
50 out of 78 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Changed my Life!
SusanVette19 November 2004
I'll never be able to THANK Morgan for this documentary! It has changed my life. From the last second on the DVD, I went in to my kitchen, threw out all the crap and tore up any coupons I had for ANY fast food restaurant. I went back to Bally's to work out and FEEL GREAT! Not sure why it took this movie to inspire me, but after YEARS of abuse, I finally decided this was my body, and I was REQUIRED to take care of it. I have had my sisters and brothers rent it and show it to their families. The kids who are relatively young (12, 6, 5) are avid lovers of "Happy Meals". Even at their young ages, they told me they will never eat at McDonald's EVER AGAIN! It is truly incredible. THANK YOU MORGAN! Hats off to you for your efforts.
13 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Why'd you think they call it junk?
paulnewman200112 January 2005
Excepting an obsolete form of Chinese boat, the word "junk" is generally applied to only three things: heroin, rubbish ... and fast food.

Determined to get under the sagging skin of America's dysfunctional eating habits by existing on a McDonald's-only diet for one entire month, Morgan Spurlock deftly shows how closely these three are related.

Eating three squares a day from the chain's menu and going super size whenever he's invited to do so, it's a long and painful odyssey as he throws up his first lunch and surfs downhill on a tide of grease from there.

Even with regular medicals, it's not long before the processed fats, sugar and salt are turning his liver to paté, piling on the flab, killing his libido and leaving him depressed, lethargic and fighting off headaches relieved only by the next fix of junk food.

In fairness to the Golden Arches, Spurlock guns for America's eating habits and the fast food industry as a whole, but there's little doubting McDonald's is among the worst offenders – the way it ruthlessly markets itself at children is perfectly captured with a montage of Ronald McDonald capering with the kids to Curtis Mayfield's Pusher Man.

In a gluttonous First World intent on filling its boots with unhealthy, unethical garbage, Spurlock's is an intelligent, perceptive and often droll plea for sense and moderation – not to mention essential viewing for parents and anyone else who thinks the siren song of fast food is just a bit of harmless fun.
16 out of 22 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A documental to raise awareness
gonzaboca1515 November 2018
It's not just stating the obvious; yes, we all know that eating McDonald's more than 3 times a week is very unhealthy. But it also shows the power and greed of the big food companies, who spend millions in advertising to create a false need of their crappy products and force most schools to sell their garbage food to kids.

On the other hand, having watched it in 2018, I must say that It didn't age very well, we don't have great image quality and editing, but for a low budget production is just fine.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Pretty good.
We had to watch this movie several times at school. Though most of my classmates are too stupid to understand the concept of fast food being unhealthy, this movie is well made and entertaining.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
A shocker
crossroads839625 August 2007
What a stunning revelation...you mean companies are actually in business to MAKE MONEY? Shocking.. You mean, if you eat McDonald's food EXCLUSIVELY (and tons of it, at that) you'll become unhealthy and overweight? Incomprehensible!... It always seemed to me, if you think fast food isn't good for you, well then the obvious solution is not to eat it. Guess I was wrong. Apparently, people don't have free will. Apparently, we are somehow forced to consume copious amounts of junk food. We have no will of our own... at least according to this incredibly ridiculous movie... I recently read that Scarlett Johansson was so moved by this film that she vowed never to eat McDonald's food again. I rest my case.
29 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Interesting film on the state of nutrition in America
AlsExGal31 January 2010
Morgan Spurlock's film is based on an experiment that uses himself as a guinea pig in which he ingests nothing but food and beverages sold by McDonald's for 30 days to see the results. Spurlock is a healthy man in his early 30's who - prior to this film - has eaten a healthy diet, maintained a healthy weight, and gotten plenty of exercise on a regular basis. He is embarking on this experiment because apparently McDonald's has made the claim that you could eat their food daily as part of a healthy diet. Spurlock's rules are he can eat nothing but McDonald's food for 30 days, he must eat three meals a day, and if asked if he wants to supersize something he must always say yes. On top of this, he simultaneously cuts back on his exercise to be something corresponding to what the average American gets. Also, though not part of his official rules, he never orders a salad or bottled water. He always goes right for the greasiest food offered. It should be obvious to anyone that this is not what McDonald's meant in their press release as Spurlock goes on a month long fast food binge. At least part of the results were not that startling to me. If you are over thirty and you do this to yourself, even for just a month, you should expect to gain a lot of weight and feel awful - which he does. He gains about ten percent of his original body weight over the month. What did surprise me was that the diet did so much damage to his internal organs so quickly. Spurlock's blood pressure shot up, he began to show signs of liver damage, and all of his blood tests frightened his doctor so much that he told him to go to the emergency room if he should begin to experience shooting pains in the middle of the night.

Actually, Spurlock's experiment doesn't take up probably more than half the film. A large part of the documentary is spent talking about the state of nutrition in America, focusing particularly on the food served in the public schools. He visits several typical public schools in which kids can order anything they want at the cafeteria, have ready access to candy and soda via vending machines in the halls, and have greatly reduced physical education classes due to budget constraints and, although not mentioned, quite probably the greater emphasis on teaching to the standardized tests that students have to take in most states that takes up a great deal of school time. For contrast, Spurlock visits a school in Wisconsin for troubled kids in which organic food is served and notes that the behavior problems in these children is vastly reduced, most likely the result of this diet. This part of the film really made me think. I'm almost fifty, and when I was a child in public school we had to eat a balanced diet if we ordered one from the cafeteria, had limited access to desserts, and had no vending machines. There were no soft drinks served at lunch - only milk, iced tea, and water. Finally, we had daily P.E. classes in which we all had a period of mandatory calisthenics. I also remember that obese children were a rarity, and now if you look around they seem to be everywhere. Spurlock doesn't limit himself to examining the health habits of children, though. He also points out how the portion sizes in restaurants have grown tremendously and so have the waistlines of adults. Spurlock does come across one very interesting human oddity of an exception that proves the rule. This fellow has been eating an average of three Big Macs a day for years, is obviously in at least his late 30's or maybe even 40's, and is as thin as a rail. I'd love to find out if this behavior ever catches up with him.

Basically, Spurlock's experiment on himself is used as a kind of Frankenstein horror tale to hold your interest while he talks about the crisis brewing in America from a combination of bad eating habits and greatly reduced physical activity. He doesn't seem to have any answers, though. People have to work longer hours to pay the bills, giving little time for exercise and home-cooked meals, and public education budgets have gotten tighter. The high price of housing has meant people with families live further from the center of cities in order to find affordable homes in safe neighborhoods and thus spend more time in traffic and less time walking. Since Spurlock himself is living the life of a single guy in New York City with no family pressures and can walk to the office every day, he would probably have a difficult job seeing that for many people just recognizing this problem isn't enough to solve it. However, it is a start.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
3/10
Super Sized Ego
rmax3048237 March 2005
The startling conclusion of this documentary is that if you stuff yourself with nothing but junk food and take no exercise for 30 days you'll get fat, and your body chemistry will be so banged up that on paper you'll look more like a flashlight battery than a human being..

Spurlock must be an interesting guy. The first time he tries to eat a super sized meal at McDonald's he pukes out of the car window. I thought the air remained tangy throughout the rest of the movie.

He drives himself and his crew around the country, seeming to enjoy being on camera, winking and smirking at it as he eats. But soon enough the diet begins to get to him. He's just not the same energetic guy he used to be. He complains of headaches, of a gassy feeling, of depression. His girl friend tells us he no longer has the sexual energy he used to have. (She has to get on top.) It isn't that Spurlock can't have erections anymore. Oh, they're there alright -- and solid too. But, somehow, he's just not the same guy he used to be. By this time I was laughing so hard to was a little difficult to follow the on screen spiel.

The PR people at McDonald's get a few minutes of screen time trying to explain that people should be free to make choices. They make asses of themselves, of course. Kids are shown as limp airheads who gobble down junk foods at school lunches and afterwards can recognize Ronald McDonald but not Jesus.

Everything looks pretty bad for McDonald's. But the movie is a fraud, to an extent that only its makers can determine. What is a "calorie" he asks a dozen or more people. Nobody knows. A dozen people who are asked what a calorie is -- from prepubescents to mature adults -- do not have any idea what a calorie is. He must have asked two thousand people to identify a calorie before finding twelve who were dumb enough to have no idea.

There was one talking head that I listened to with real interest, a man whose identity I now forget but who was on screen for a minute or two. He observes that smoking was once epidemic and that now smokers are being "hectored" constantly. How long, he wonders, before we begin to hector the large people among us? It's a question with some point. It's corollary is: Why do we hate people whom we define as weaker than ourselves? Why do some of us enjoy humiliating and punishing others who are defenseless? Why do we buy supermarket tabloids and gloat over pictures of celebrities now grown old or fat? I have a feeling the answer lies deep in human nature and if anyone ever looks into it, it will taste worse than prune yogurt.

I also found the statistics kind of enlightening. God, we collectively put away a lot of sugar and salt! But one of the nutritionists had me puzzled, saying the most of the sugar Spurlock had put away was refined, implying that this is the worst kind. I'm no nutritionist but I'd thought that all starches -- as complex as pasta or as simple as raw sugar -- were broken down into monosaccharides in the gut before being absorbed. What I mean is that the body can't tell organic Tupelo honey from a Moon Pie as far as its sugar content is concerned.

I may be wrong on this point but it really doesn't matter in context because Spurlock's movie is rather obviously so wrong on so many others. I hope nobody is going to call this an "experiment." Let's call it a "stunt," which is what it is. An engaging one, but a trick nonetheless. So Spurlock feels depressed after so many days of McDonald's. You want me to feel depressed? Tell me that I will be applauded by an audience of alfalfa sprout mavens at Sundance, make a million dollars, and become famous, if only I can truthfully say that I feel depressed. I guarantee you that at the end of a few days I'll be on the brink of tears. As insurance, I can even manage to dig up a girl friend who will testify that although I have erections with the dimensions of Sequoia trees and the tensile strength of titanium, they are somehow, I don't know, just not the same as they used to be.

Sometimes I wish Michael Moore had never made any successful movies. The imitations are beginning to roll in. What next? The TRUTH behind the Miss America Pageant? For what it's worth, I've spent thirty years doing research in the behavioral sciences, and in my opinion this guy not only cooked the books but did a much clumsier job of it than I've ever done. Gives me a warm glow to be able to say that. Feel as if I'd just eaten a raw free-range organic broccoli spear.
29 out of 46 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
More than what it seems
Aberlass2 October 2004
This film is not just about what you would think (over eating). If you look closely you will see the conscious attempt to edit objectively to present, for the 1st time ever, a range of new/candid opinions from experts. This is the real shock and what sets it apart from anything Michael Moore has tried to rock the world with (his work can be subjective and forcefully moralistic).

When you look at the categories presented in 'Super Size Me' (represented by clown paintings), you glimpse a personal opinion, then the following footage shows simple images that can be linked with the caption, without forcing any ideas. He never preaches, which is refreshing and startling, as it leaves you wanting to know more after the film has ended.

This film is a gem because it lets you think what you want from an array of tasty choices. The audience I was with all responded with laughing, gasps, choking, coughing, and squeaks at different sequences, as well as some of the same. This is unusual for cinema, since films are normally engineered to make audiences react in the same way to the same stimulus, but not this one.

Depending on who you are, what stage in life and what your personal battle is, you will see what is relevant to you. It has a fortune cookie ability to gift you what you need, right now. It's more about fast insight, than fast food.

My Rating: 10/10 at every level. The editing, especially, displays superior understanding of psychology.

Who should see this film? Everyone! Even people who don't eat fast food, because of the presentation, it can be seen as metaphorical for other issues (personal and social) that need addressing. But... there are discussions directly relating to sex, so it may be unsuitable for younger children.

Why should you see this film? You will know why, once you have seen it!
11 out of 15 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
1/10
Mildly Interesting Propaganda
nahdogg123414 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Warning May Contain Spoilers

I don't think Super Size Me was intellectually honest. I think the "rules" that he used in the 'documentary' were used to exaggerate his results. Everyone knows that McDonalds is generally unhealthy and that if you were to eat every meal at McDonald's and Super Size them every time it was suggested you would gain weight and suffer from a variety ill effects.

Super Size Me works from the presumption that people are incapable of choosing what to eat on their own and that, if given the chance to spend more and eat more that they always will - even if that means overeating to the point of vomiting.

Super Size me tries to be to McDonalds what Silent Spring was to DDT only to less effect because it works from a false premise.
19 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Super Size This!
Nozze-Musica30 November 2004
This is a landmark documentary I think every American should see Supersize me is an incredible chronicle of fast food and junk food in general in America. Morgan Spurlock is the documentation who is behind all of this. I knew McDonalds was bad for you, but I did not realize this bad, but aside from the McDonalds aspect of the film there is a lot of good information in here on how ingrained unhealthy food is in this country, the film is quite incredible. I knew that lobbyists and the like controlled much of the law making process. But I never knew how ingrained they were. The film is centered around an experiment by Morgan Spurlock. What he did was spend a month doing no exercising, and eat McDonalds for the entire month. The rule he had was he has to eat everything on the menu, and every time he was asked if he wanted it supersized he had to say yes. He enlisted the help of a number of different doctors, to look at his progress. Also in the film are various facts about the food industry in America, and various interviews, ranging from health food advocates to lobbyists for various restaurants and stores. Not only is the documentary very informative it is well produced. And in a time when obesity is an increasing crisis this movie is so important, it shows the problems that are out there, and how it sadly seems like these restaurants and stores want us to get fat, and sadly after watching this movie, you have to wonder if that's the case.

A lot of people that are critical of this movie say that it is inaccurate. I disagree. I know a lot of people that are or were like him, I was. There was a time when I did little or no exercise, and I ate a lot of fast, or unhealthy food, food that was from McDonalds, or other bad food. A lot of America is like this, and this is a problem that needs to be corrected. There are stories in this film about people that were like him too. There are other facts about fast food that I can identify with, but I will not give it away as I do not want to spoil the film for anyone. Also a lot of people say why is it that he did not cover Taco Bell, Burger King, and other similar fast food restaurants. He said in later interviews that all fast food is as unhealthy as McDonalds. The reason it is so critical of McDonalds is because it is the largest and most recognizable fast food chain in the world. And in America the food is the most unhealthy compared to food served in other McDonalds restaurants around the world, and I know this from experience as well, haven eaten at McDonalds' in Germany, and what can I say? The food was actually good! What a surprise. McDonalds has by far the largest profit of any fast food chain, so the largest fast food company is definitely the most important. Even if you disagree with what the movie is trying to say, it is an interesting movie to watch.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
A McGood Documentary
CitizenCaine21 June 2004
Warning: Spoilers
The latest statistics say that two out of every three Americans are overweight, and about one out of every three of those persons overweight is obese. Morgan Spurlock, an MTV alumnus, decides to eat three meals a day at McDonald's for thirty days to see how it will affect him. He must eat every item on the menu at least once during the thirty days, and he must super size anything he orders when suggested to by employees. A lot of people are criticizing Spurlock for setting up a situation where the predetermined outcome is maximized by his decidedly biased decisions. He doesn't exercise, and he limits his incidental walking to a mile per day. This may be partially true, but Spurlock wisely chooses a humorous approach to his topic; because, the reality is few people really want to discuss or listen to how overweight they are and why.

Taking a more serious, preachy tone would wear down audience interest quickly. Besides, the film isn't just about what happens to Spurlock after eating at McDonald's for thirty days, the results of which far exceed his three medical consultants' worst expectations. The film also attacks corporate America in general in the way it tailors its advertising to influence the most vulnerable Americans: children. From kids that know Ronald McDonald better than Jesus and George Washington to school lunch programs that mercilessly serve junk food to the nation's children, Spurlock illustrates how we are our own worst enemies.

As in any good documentary type film, there are always incidental moments that reveal more truth about its subjects than the filmmaker could script. One such moment is a conversation with an obese fourteen year old girl and the Subway advertisement guy. In between each humorous episode or interview, Spurlock serves us some facts and statistics about our love affair with and ignorance about fast food in small portions, along with a side order of humor. He doesn't let us off the hook, as he repeatedly demonstrates that personal responsibility must play a role in our lives when it comes to nutrition, just like it does in anything else we do. Spurlock stops short of a Michael Moore, "in your face" approach, and is successful on his own terms in persuading the audience to take heed about fast food without being heavy-handed. McDonald's scaled back its super size menu shortly after the film's release, although corporate bigwigs claimed it had nothing to do with this film. *** of 4 stars.
34 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Entertainment attempting to be educational
ant_reel2 October 2004
Morgan Spurlock created this documentary as a commentary about obesity in the United States. He does this by eating only McDonald's for 30 days. He lines up a few physicians to help him with his experiment. Morgan then attempts to document his display of how unhealthy and toxic fast food is.

It was entertaining and had glimmers of information. However, he presented his little experiment's results as being proof of the extreme harm of fast food. The fact is that he did a few things in his methodology that are highly questionable and lead to exaggerated results. (And I am someone who eats often at McDonald's.)

One, what exactly did he eat day in and day out? Did he intentionally eat the worst of everything? Shakes seemed to be an overly regular item in his diet. Look at the Big Mac lover.

Two, his level of sickness through his blood work may also have been a result of toxic shock in essence. He went from a highly health conscious diet to immediately binging on McD's. The body does not take that kind of drastic change well at all regardless of what the change is. My own blood work does not come anywhere close to those numbers in the movie. I'm not saying they are wrong, I'm saying that he shocked his body and it rebelled.

Three, he went from staying actively in shape to doing nothing. Again, the body does not react well to immediate changes. This is the same concept that runners use when they carbo-load. The body overreacts to drastic changes. Anyone who lives in places like Minnesota, North Dakota or other states that have drastic weather changes also understand this. When the temps change quickly the body does not accept those changes easily, but when the change is gradual the body can adapt.

Morgan shocked his body in a number of ways thus compounding any results AND ruining the validity of his evidence. The result is almost shocking. What I did learn is that Morgan is a drama queen, his girlfriend is a "granola" vegan chef (ick) and that expose documentaries are getting worse by the year.

For entertainment this was a decent flick. But, since it calls itself a documentary it has to be downgraded.

Grade: C
12 out of 18 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed