Unless you were living under a rock in 2004, you heard there was a new movie about a guy who ate McDonalds for every meal for an entire month. Super Size Me was a movie everyone was talking about and everyone went and saw. It was a movie that health classes began showing and to this day, people still look back on. Even people who don’t like documentary’s will often say they enjoy this movie. It was a movie that really kickstarted America into looking into the obesity epidemic.
The documentary follows Morgan Spurlock a he goes on a quest to learn about the obesity problem in America. He decides for one month, he will eat nothing except for McDonalds for every single meal. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will all be McDonalds meals. If McDonalds doesn’t sell it, he can’t eat it. If they ask him to super size, he has to super size. However, the movie is much more than this. It’s about obesity, it’s about eating habits, it’s about addiction, it’s about fast food in general. This movie is about a lot of different things and it is absolutely fantastic. It’s one of my favorite documentaries.
One of the biggest eye openings of the movie is when they show how bad the school cafeterias are. There is a great segment in the movie that takes place in a high school. It’s lunchtime and all the kids are getting lunch from the cafeteria. It’s quite shocking. Some kids get two bags of chips, a soda, and a candy bar and that’s it. That’s their lunch! Some kids only get fries. That’s their lunch! They have slices of pizza in a rotating oven for the students to grab, and the slices are huge! Another great moment in a school happens in a middle school. The camera is closeup on a lady filling a soda machine and the camera zooms out and focuses on a middle school banner. It’s quite shocking when you realize this soda machine is at a middle school. It’s a great commentary on school cafeterias and what children are being presented with.
Morgan Spurlock really crafts a great narrative. The movie is nonfiction yes, but there is great storytelling being done here. He perfectly balances his story of eating the food with different facts about McDonalds, or about the obesity problem, or with other health issues. He’s often able to correlate parts of these two narratives together to make it even more engaged and focused. He has a great comedic tone as well throughout the movie and while this is a very serious topic that he is exploring, there does seem to be a light-hearted feel to it and Spurlock handles it perfectly and never goes overboard with the humor.
The narrative takes a great dramatic turn as well in the last 20 minutes or so. Spurlock wakes up one morning and feels awful and it’s here when he, his doctors, and we all realize that his life is starting to be at risk.The movie suddenly becomes a lot more serious and a lot of the light-hearted moments go away. It’s quite interesting, especially for a nonfiction piece to have such a tonal shift from light to serious. It’s hard to make it work a lot, but Spurlock handles it very well.
There isn’t much to not like about the movie. I mean there is a scene that feels kind of random where his girlfriend is getting on him for eating meat because she’s vegan or something and she compares meat with heroin. I didn’t really understand the point of the scene, it’s really strange and not really needed. I do really like that he never really comes out and says never eat fast food. He just says to be careful and be more aware of what you eat. Now his experiment is a little extreme. Not many people eat it everyday for every meal but, like he said, many people do. It’s a problem that is still ongoing today.
Super Size Me is a movie that everyone should see and needs to see. It’s a movie that is becoming even more relevant today. With Michelle Obama’s recent crusade against school cafeteria’s, this movie will shed a lot of light on the continuing problem of young adult obesity. The move has not gotten old and will continue to become even more relevant. If you haven’t seen it then grab a Big Mac, turn on Netflix, and settle in for one of the best documentaries of the 2000’s.