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This week:
Supersize Me

Filthy says:
"It's arthouse junk food.

This guy Morgan Spurlock is a fucking pussy. For those of you who don't know him, he's the writer/director/star of Supersize Me, a documentary of his thirty days eating nothing but McDonald's. He ate three meals a day and tried everything on the menu at least once. He consulted physicians before, during and after his 5,000 calorie-a-day fast food binge and tracked the impact on his system of consuming all that shit.

It's a pretty good gimmick, and it personalizes all the abstract idea of how bad fast food is for you. He gets really sick; his liver gets fucked, his cholesterol is higher than Courtney Love. His band of doctors and nutritionists to tell him to stop eating McDonald's or else he could do as much damage to himselfas a heavy drinker. After the thirty-day experiment, he does quit.

Like I said, Morgan Spurlock is a fucking pussy. First, he only took on one vice, when it's common knowledge that you need to counter one with another. Like drinking is healthiest when you smoke. Or a crack addiction is optimized with a delusional paranoia. As a heavy drinker with a hell of a lot more than thirty days under my belt, I've got a little advice: push through the pain, you baby. Get past the depression, the illness, the shakes and diarrhea. Sure, that first month is full of ups and downs, but after that you reach equilibrium. You don't feel so sick or queasy, and you learn to love your captors. It's like the Stockholm Syndrome, except with cheeseburgers for you or $1.50 drafts for me. When you have your bad days, you learn to self-medicate; hit the fries or hooch until the sadness goes away. On a really shitty day, hit the trifecta: Supersize Fries, a fifth of Old Mariner vodka and a soft bed of dirt under the junipers behind the ice skating rink.

Next time you stick with it, Spurlock, instead of quitting. Keep binging unhealthily for months and years, and you know what? Eventually, the doctor's dire warnings of death and disease stop. I never get alarming cholesterol tests or reports that my liver is turning into pate. Mostly that's because I stopped going to doctors. Bunch of fucking quacks. If I were going to drink myself to death eight months ago like they said, well, hell, I wouldn't be here right now feeling that deep burning in my chest and shitting blood, would I? I've got gallons to go before I sleep, and gallons to go before I sleep.

Spurlock's low-budget digital video movie is sort of entertaining. It's by far at its best when we get to watch him subjecting himself to giant, greasy meal after greasy meal. He does change a lot of 30 days. He gains 25 pounds, he can't perform as well sexually, and he's as pasty as a basement-dwelling Hobbit fan. We see him digging into burgers, chicken, salads, shakes, and a hell of a lot of fries. When it's one man against the food, it's funny. And we can see in concrete ways how fucking bad for you junk food is.

But that ain't enough to pad out Supersize Me's 96 minutes. The rest is filled with a hodge-podge of statistics and arguments about diabetes, heart disease, obesity, the amount of fast food Americans eat, and some scenes that are barely linked to anything else. One is of a fat man getting his stomach stapled, tritely done to "Blue Danube," because he drinks a couple gallons of soda a day. The fat guy never says anything about McDonalds or fast food.

But that's the way half the movie is: a sort of shambling, disconnected indictment of food producers for making people fat. In fact, when it's not about Spurlock, Superize Me is a Michael Moore-style documentary: angrily pointing a finger at a lot of easy, somewhat-related targets, totally certain that the elitist assholes watching will nod their heads and agree because it makes them feel better about themselves.

The arguments Spurlock makes aren't coherent or convincing enough. Is it about McDonald's specifically, about obesity or about junk food marketing? All are targeted, and none are focused on. The movie would have been a shitload better if Spurlock would have gone deep on a single target, and not just lashed out at whatever seemed easy. As it is, the movie meanders from rehashed damning fact to damning fact without connecting dots. At one point it documents Spurlock's numerous attempts to interview the CEO of McDonald's. The implication is that if the top executive of a multi-billion dollar corporation doesn't have time to be interviewed by a struggling filmmaker he must have something to hide. What a crock of shit. That's a Moore tactic: lazy, inflammatory and too obviously one-sided to prove anything to anyone but the people predisposed to agree with him.

Another example of the movie's lazy targeting: Spurlock interviews a lobbyist for Grocery Manufacturers of America who admits that the packaging and marketing of foods is part of the obesity problem. Spurlock even emphasizes and points out the man's admission. In the movie's coda, Spurlock takes particular glee in pointing out the man lost his job. You can sure as hell bet that the guy who took the job won't admit that the food industry is partially to blame. But Spurlock is happier getting a laugh than promoting his point. That's fine, only if he shuts the fuck up and entertains us rather than keep trying to educate us.

Spurlock also makes his case that people are fat and unhealthy because they are tricked into it by the fast food companies. He thinks those fat kids who sued McDonald's should win. What a load of horseshit. If you don't know McDonald's is bad for you, you're criminally stupid and deserve to be morbidly obese. If those kids couldn't figure out the link between Big Macs and weight gain after the first 50 pounds, then they got what they deserved. It's not an issue of anything but self-control. Stop eating, you fat fuck.

While Spurlock's 30-day gimmick is clever, it's self-imposed. The movie tries to generate sympathy for a guy who is voluntarily eating this shit, and hoping to get really sick because it'll make a better movie. He also got rich from doing it. Obviously, he decided it was ultimately more beneficial to eat at McDonald's for 30 days than it would have been not to. Well, good for him, but he doesn't get money and sympathy.

Who the fuck is this movie for, anyway? I saw it in a small arthouse theater with assholes who applauded when it was over because it validated their sense of superiority. Is the movie supposed to be entertainment for skinny, educated people? Or is it supposed to be a wake up call for the poor, uneducated and obese who eat the most fast food because it's cheap, easy and provides a highlight in a depressing day? If it's the former, then the movie needs to shut the fuck up on the statistics and be more consistently funny. If it's the latter, the makers need to get it out of the arthouse and hand out VHS tapes in front of McDonald's.

The producers say they are giving a discount at the box office to anyone who works at McDonald's. What's funny is, I know this, but nobody at the local Mcdonald's did. Sounds like a piece of shit dreamt up by the distributors, and not a sincere gesture. Besides, if the employees saw it, what are they supposed to do? Find another job? I doubt they'd be working at McDonald's if there were anything else available.

Maybe there's a good movie in Supersize Me, but hell if you don't have to get through a lot of shit to get to it. Two Fingers.

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