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Movie Review: "Supersize Me"

The first reaction I had when I heard this movie was being made was, here's a guy who's a Michael Moore wannabe.

Thinking more in-depth about it, what Moore has done with his features "Roger & Me", "Bowling For Columbine", and the widely-anticipated, upcoming "Fahrenheit 911", is to open up the field for documentaries like these, and like Morgan Spurlock's devastating indictment of the fast-food industry.

If you haven't heard about this, Spurlock's idea was, since McDonald's is omnipresent in the USA (84 locations in Spurlock's native Manhattan alone), that he'd eat only McDonald's food for 30 days (under the supervision of three doctors and a registered dietitian), and see what happened.

Of course, McDonald's would have told you (at least before this film was made) that everything would be just fine, that their food is well-made and healthy.

The results were predictable. From a healthy, in-shape early 30's man, with weight proportionate to height, Spurlock gained 25 pounds, his cholesterol and other bloodwork spiraled out of control, and the doctors were worried about permanent damage to his heart and liver. In one of the biggest ironies, Spurlock's girlfriend is introduced as a vegan chef, and not only does she worry about this diet, but she's disgusted by it.

You'd say that no one would do this, eat nothing but McDonald's every day, for all meals. But Spurlock cites statistics of the number of people who eat fast food each day, and interviews enough people (including a family who easily quotes McDonald's Quarter Pounder slogan, but cannot recite the Pledge of Allegiance), that you easily believe that there must be some people who do eat this way.

Even more amazing is his indictment of the entire food industry in this country for filling up our schools with sugary food (one girl at a junior high school orders nothing but fries for lunch, to the oblivious disregard of adults around her), under the guise of "giving money back to our children by supporting the schools".

I'd say this movie was "food for thought", but that'll just make you groan. Seriously, this is a well-done documentary, with the use of songs and animation that makes you laugh, but also proves a point.

Spurlock ate 30 pounds of refined sugar (equivalent) during his month on McDonald's food, and in my opinion that is the biggest culprit in this country, making people obese. When I started my low-carb diet 18 months ago, one of the main things I cut out was refined sugar. It is addictive. Once you stop eating it, your body stops craving it and you can lose weight fairly quickly (50 pounds over about seven months) and keep it off, without necessarily going full-Atkins and eating large amounts of red meat and fat.

It's a good thing that filmmakers like Spurlock and Moore are around, making these films about topics important to American life. Until them, documentaries had an image as being dry, boring films that you'd watch 20 years after they were made, while falling asleep in a high school classroom. Spurlock and Moore have learned how to make these topics funny and interesting, while still making their point. In any other year Spurlock might win the Oscar for Best Documentary, but it's likely that Moore's upcoming "Fahrenheit 911", whenever and however it is released, will top it.

This movie has apparently already had an effect -- within a few weeks after Spurlock finished shooting it, McDonald's announced they would eliminate the "Supersize" option. They claimed the movie had nothing to do with this decision. Yeah, right.

Well worth seeing.

AYRating: *** 1/2