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Super Size Me (2004)Super Size Me (2004)

           Before I saw this film I had dismissed it as a piece of lightweight pop cinema. In a sense it is, but in another sense it is a serious documentary about a national epidemic whose name is obesity. Here in California, a recent newspaper article reported that only one quarter of 1.3 million school children tested could pass minimal physical fitness requirements. At the current rate, obesity will pass smoking as the leading cause of preventable death. Perhaps it is unfair that Super Size Me picks on McDonalds, but it is, nevertheless, far and away the largest purveyor and most powerful icon of junk food morbidity. What would happen, wondered Morgan Spurlock, if he ate three meals a day for 30 days at McDonalds? This film shows you. He followed three rules: everything he ate had to be on the Mickey D menu; he had to sample every offering at least once; and he would only order "super size" when prompted by the cashier. Spurlock consumed about 5,000 calories a day of sugar, fat and salt, added 25 pounds, jacked his blood pressure and cholesterol numbers into the stratosphere, experienced head aches and chest pains, and came pretty close to killing himself. McDonalds denies any cause-effect relation, but after this film it discontinued its "super size" option. The humor in this film makes it an excellent vehicle to communicate to kids, but also adults, the serious consequences of our junk food epidemic. In the end, Spurlock survives his experiment, and his vegan girl friend, who had complained that even their sex life suffered, restores him to culinary sanity.

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