Super Size Me (part 2)

I’ve changed my mind.


Super Size Me (January 17, 2004)

Release Date: January 17, 2004
Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Lisa Ganjhu, Stephen Siegel
Genres: Documentary, Comedy, Drama
Runtime: 100 min
Original Title: Super Size Me
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Kathbur Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Films, The Con, Studio On Hudson
Morgan Spurlock subjects himself to a diet based only on McDonald's fast food three times a day for thirty days without exercising to try to prove why so many Americans are fat or obese. He submits himself to a complete check-up by three doctors, comparing his weight along the way, resulting in a scary conclusion.

Cast Super Size Me

  • Morgan Spurlock
  • Role: Himself
  • Daryl Isaacs
  • Role: Himself (as Daryl M. Isaacs MD Internal Medicine)
  • Lisa Ganjhu
  • Role: Herself (as Lisa Ganjhu D.O. Gastroenterologist & Hepatologist)
  • Stephen Siegel
  • Role: Himself (as Steven Siegel MD FACC Cardiologist)
  • Bridget Bennett
  • Role: Herself (as Bridget Bennett R.D.)
  • Eric Rowley
  • Role: Himself, exercise physiologist
  • Mark Fenton
  • Role: Himself, former editor, Walking
  • Alexandra Jamieson
  • Role: Herself - Morgan's Girlfriend (as Healthy Chef Alex)
  • John Banzhaf
  • Role: Himself (as John F. Banzhaf III)
  • David Satcher
  • Role: Himself (as Dr. David Satcher)
  • Lisa Young
  • Role: Herself (as Dr. Lisa Young)
  • Kelly Brownell
  • Role: Himself
  • Jacob Sullum
  • Role: Himself
  • Tommy Thompson
  • Role: Himself
  • William J. Klish
  • Role: Himself

I know this may classify me as a flip-flopper, but I’ve changed my mind.

After renting the Super Size Me DVD last night, and watching the film again as well as the extra features… it’s led me to retract my statement on Morgan Spurlock. The man is hereby no longer a hack.

I realize now that I fell for an old trap in my first review of Super Size Me. I got sucked into the politics of the subject matter instead of simply viewing the film as it is. And judging a film as such is not a concession or endorsement of its views. It’s just looking at the film alone and how well it tells its story.

With that criteria, I really have to say that Super Size Me is a much better film for me now. Regardless of how poorly Morgan handles himself in an interview, his film speaks for itself. To be fair, Michael Moore and Errol Morris represent themselves better off camera. But that still doesn’t render Morgan’s film moot.

His basic points are that:

  1. Americans eat too much fast food, in particular McDonald’s.
  2. Fast food companies are marketing their product an alarming amount, and primarily to children.
  3. There are distinct health risks to eating only fast food for prolonged periods of time with little exercise.

Some of his points begin to teeter on the conspiratorial, but it’s hard to argue against them, given the obesity numbers. And yet Morgan offers a small hint at the possible hypocrisy of litigation against Big Fast Food with a very brief interview of a lawyer that does just that. When probed about why he takes on the big junk food companies, he asks if Morgan wants some noble response. The lawyer trails off, never answering the question.

There’s a very good interview with Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, which only appears on the DVD. It’s quite enlightening.

On top of these, the film is very cleverly edited, making the experience a wholly entertaining one.

So there you have it. I’ve changed my mind on the film Super Size Me and bumped it up a star. But I haven’t changed my mind on fast food — I continue to abstain.

One Reply to “Super Size Me (part 2)”

  1. Some of the differences with child obesity rates in US vs EU are: Fast food in general is more expensive. No fast food served at school. Pedal your bike to school ~ no busses: 20 – 60 mins a day on a bike burns a few calories. Likely also less high calorie meals in the evening and more adult supervision towards TV + snacks.

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