Super Size Me!

Did you see this documentary (from 2004)? How did the guy pull thsi off without being sued by McD’s…let alone not kicked out of their stores with the video cameras, lights, and microphones???

What an eye-opening movie! :eek:
I’m going cold turkey! Or, make that cold salad!

To a flabby nation, I hope we all get off our collective fat behinds and start kicking butt by making healthier choices…

  • Jinx

The truth is an airtight defense, Sperlock said nothing in the film that was either untrue or defamatory about McDonalds.

When we’ve had threads on this movie before, they’ve always been overrun by posters (most of whom have not seen the movie) trying to paint Sperlock as another Michael Moore and accusing him of doing a hatchet job on McDonalds. I expect that to happen again, so I will just say preemptively that the mesage of the movie is not that McDonalds is bad, but that people cannot trust the prepared food industry to make good nutritional choices for them and that we have to take responsibility for our own health.

I liked Super Size Me. Spurlock makes some good points about fast food consumption, its effect on health, yada yada. IIRC, lots of the movie takes place in Spurlock’s car, doctor’s office, etc. I’m sure Spurlock’s lawyer went over the film with a fine tooth comb to ensure facts discussed in the movie were bulletproof, or that opinions expressed were exactly that (a doctor can give his opinion about fast food and its effect on blood cholesterol). Possibly McDonald’s also learned a lesson about suing people in England for expressing negative opinions (see Fast Food Nation.)

In fairness, despite the hype, Spurlock ate ninety meals at McDonald’s and was only offered the supersize option twice (under 3%). Spurlock was not trying to be objective (playing to the cameras, especially in the vomiting scene), did not choose diet drinks or healthier options offered, indeed was trying to gain weight (and did). The movie would have had far less punch had Spurlock not been pushing his agenda. Since some of the healthier options offered were probably the direct result of this movie, it certainly served a good purpose.

We watched half the DVD, paused it, ran to McDonalds, came back, ate our burgers and fries and watched the second half.

As **Dr. P ** pointed out, I certainly saw the spin Spurlock was giving. He clearly didn’t go in, open-minded, wondering IF McDonalds could be healthy. Rather, Spurlock went in to prove that McDonalds will make you get fat and unhealthy (well…DUH). Spurlock seemed like a nice guy though, so I didn’t mind watching him for a couple hours-- yet it is undeniable that he certainly went in with a point to prove and he did.

I know so many stoners that are just torn up over the lack of Super-sized fries now. Remember the good ol’ days? The days when McDonalds offered the “Bucket-O-Fries”? (Kidding, of course).

The movie didn’t do much for me but, on the other hand, Fast Food Nation was a real eye-opener. I’ll still eat at Wendy’s or Burger King (I don’t like McDonald’s) whenever the mood strikes but it was still pretty scary at times and has definitely made me a little more cautious about food preparation.

It seems to me like you totally missed the point if you think it was about McDonalds.

I think Sperlock’s message about McDonald’s is a lot more negative than you’re acknowledging here. The whole point of the movie, as I see it, is that this stuff can only harm you and can’t possibly be good for you (remember the bit where he calls 100 or so nutritionists and they all say the same thing, basically: don’t eat this crap!). This point becomes clearer if you watch the DVD, which includes in its special features an interview and a plug for Eric Schlosser, who makes it pretty clear that he thinks McDonald’s is pure evil…or as he says, they’re not quite as evil as tobacco companies, but still, pretty damn evil…

He also showed the guy who had been eating nothing but Big Macs for half his life and who was skinny as a rail. The movie was not about McDonalds. McDonalds was just a symbol.

And what is your point about the nutritionists? Are you saying Spurlock told them what to say?

Not to put words in Dio-Bel’s mouth, but I think you could easily replace every instances “McDonald’s” in her post with “fast food” and still have a true statement.
No, I didn’t watch the movie. Fast food is bad for you. Cape does not enable user to fly. Besides, I read Fast Food Nation so watching the movie seemed redudant to me. YMMV.

I reminded you of the nutritionist scene because this was evidence offered by Spurlock to support the point that it’s a really bad idea to eat at McDonald’s. Actually, I think the question put to the nutritionists was “what do you think of fast food?” and they almost unanimously answered “never eat it, if you can avoid it”…which is what I would expect a nutritionist to say, because it’s sound nutritional advice, ain’t it? (You seem to be addressing me as someone who thinks that Spurlock was unfairly propagandizing against McDonald’s, but on the contrary, I think McDonald’s deserves to be the focus of interrogation by muckrakers…

In a limited sense, you’re right…the underlying lesson about the dangers of a junk food diet would apply to Burger King or Pizza Hut or Doritos or Oreos, etc. etc. So, sure, I guess McDonald’s is a symbol in this film of…how bad an idea it is to eat at places like McDonald’s…which would, of course, include McDonald’s, first and foremost!

It wasn’t just about fast food, but the entire processed/prepared food industry as a whole. People don’t prepare their own food anymore, they rely on frozen/canned/fast food, etc. and the message of the movie was that this is an industry that is interested in your money not your health. A lot of the reasons that Americans (including rising numbers of children) are becoming increasingly obese is because so many of them have come to rely on prepared or processed foods in their diets. All Spurlock was saying was watch out. Take responsibility because these food companies aren’t going to do it for you.

He used McDonalds as an iconic symbol, but it seems that people confuse the symbol for the point and think that the film is just an attack on Mickey D’s which it isn’t.

Wolfian was correct Dio, I was speaking of McDonalds because that is what we are presented with in the movie, but of course I see that Spurlock was making a commentary on “fast food” (I.E. Any processed or prepared food). As was mentioned, you can substitute “McDonalds” for any other processed and/or prepared food: twinkies, Wendys, Taco Bell, Pasta Roni, WonderBread, Snickers Bars. Either way, my point is still the same: Spurlock approached his documentary with an agenda; which is perfectly fine, but not my cup of tea.

Let me rephrase what I said, with more open-ended terminoloy:

I believe the message was not that processed/fast will necessarily make you fat and unhealthy (skinny Big Mac guy), but only that you can’t trust these industries to make healthy choices for you. You can’t assume that what they sell you is any good for you, and you have to pay attention to what you’re getting and putting in your body.

It sounds like an obvious message but a surprising number of people don’t know that. They’re feeding their kids sugar cereals and coke for breakfast and eating frozen burritos for lunch.

Remember the scene where Spurlock shows a bunch of little kids images, first of George W., then of Jesus, then of Wendy, etc…and finally Ronald McDonald (and the kids only recognize RMcD)? What do you think the point of this scene was? Did it concern the problem of people not growing their own food anymore, or the much more specific problem of McDonald’s aggressively marketing their crap to kids?

Remember one of the very first scenes of the movie, where Spurlock shows us graphics of McDonald’s restaurants springing up all over the world (even in hospitals, he tells us!)…what was the point of that? To show us the dangers of processed food in general?


I think Spurlock was taking aim precisely at McDonald’s (so maybe that’s why he eats nothing but McDonald’s food for a month…hmmm…). McDonald’s isn’t just a recognizable icon (like, say, Smokey the Bear), it’s a massively powerful institution in this country, hence the importance of examining what this stuff will do to you if you eat enough of it. This is not to say that we can’t generalize the lesson of the film and make related points about the dangers of Burger King, the dangers of Slurpees, or even the danger of Green Giant Corn Niblets over unprocessed organic corn. But to say that McDonald’s is just a symbol is indeed to miss the point of the film…

(For what it’s worth, if you listen to the DVD commentary by Spurlock and his girlfriend, he doesn’t say much about how we can’t trust the processed food industries to make nutritional decisions for us. I’m sure he would agree with this statement, but that’s not his agenda…instead, he talks about how evil McDonald’s is.

He never says that McDonalds is evil.

Well, you win this round, if only because I’m not going to spend two hours listening to see if the exact words “McDonald’s is evil” come out of Spurlock’s mouth on the DVD commentary track. I was obviously paraphrasing, in my own sloppy shorthand, what is an obviously and unmistakably anti-McDonald’s message repeated over and over again by Spurlock in that commentary track, and in the film itself.

Maybe you can tell me at what point in the movie Spurlock says (literally and directly) that McDonald’s is only an icon in the film, that you can’t trust the processed food industries, etc., and all of this other stuff that you claim is at the heart of the film…

I thought it was a great documentary. Obviously he couldn’t spend a month eating at every fast-food chain in America so he selected the most widely known one. I thought he did a good job of balancing it (i.e., finding the skinny guy who ate a lot of McD’s) but really he seemed to be condeming the choices Americans make, as much as the industry.

And at one point in the movie he (or somebody) mentioned that in the '50s and '60s moms were in the kitchen ALL the time, never seen without their aprons, as they were always either preparing, serving, or cleaning up after one meal or another.

I was surprised at how long it took him to overcome the effects of one month of solid MdDonalsd meals. And on a vegan diet, yet.

This is the only thing that bothered me about this documentry. The one kid he asks who Jesus was looked like he could have very well been of Muslim faith. Which I think is kind of misleading on Sperlocks part.

I do have to say I’m still a Sperlock fan though. I especialy like his new series out “30 dyas”

Well, in all fairness, Jesus doesn’t have a red afro, yellow overalls, and go adventuring around with his muppet buddies.* That kinda leaves an impression. :smiley:

*He…doesn’t, right? :eek:

Dude, if he does, I’m becoming a devout Catholic. Why? Cuz that is a Lord I can get behind and it would make my Italian grandmother happy.