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Director Morgan Spurlock takes on McDonalda€™s in Super Size Me, a biting look at the hazards of fast food. Morgan Spurlock initially scoffed at the lawsuit filed against McDonalds by two obese school girls.
Spurlock documented his month-long McDonalds binge in Super Size Me: A Film of Epic Portions. On top of that, Spurlock confronted incipient diabetes, achy knees, a limp libido, and intense cravings. Spurlocka€™s goofy streak turned to gold when he created the webcast series I Bet You Will during the height of the dot-com craze. When that contract ended in 2002, Spurlock had some money in the bank and a hankering to direct a feature. Much in our culture works against healthy habits, and Spurlock has a litany of items he would have covered had Super Size Me been a super-long film: a€?Urban sprawl, how there are no sidewalks, and how this has continued to cut down on our physical activity,a€? he ticks down the list.
Opening in theaters this month and on DVD by fall, Super Size Me might make a tiny dent in the obesity epidemic. For his part, Spurlock has shed most of the weight he gained with help from his girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson. While a mouthwatering McVeggie may still be a long way off, it seems Spurlock will get his other wish. PATRICIA THOMSON writes about film and food a€“ two interests that dovetail in the documentary Super Size Me.


The hottest ticket at the Sundance Film Festival and winner of its Best Director award, this feature is a funny, subversive, and convincing rebuttal to McDonaldsa€™ posture of innocence.
The goateed East Villager a€“ a transplant from West Virginia a€“ has a quick sense of humor, a contagious laugh, and an appreciation for the fine practical joke.
When Spurlock visited Houston in Super Size Me, he found that the vast majority of McDonalds customers opted for Supersize portions (possibly one reason why Houston is the fattest city in America). A vegan chef, Jamieson endured Spurlocka€™s burger bonanza with rolled eyes and borderline tolerance, then put him on a nutritious detox diet immediately afterwards.
In March, just six weeks after Super Size Mea€™s premiere, McDonalds announced that it will eliminate its Supersized fries and soft drinks by the yeara€™s end. Her film articles have appeared in the New York Daily News, Village Voice, Variety, and numerous magazines, while her features on food and wine have been published in Tastes of Italia, Pasta, Budget Living, and Gastronomica. It also attracted the notice of MTV, which hired Spurlock to turn the webcast into a 53-week television show. But when the judge dismissed the case, stating in his ruling that no one had proven McDonalds food to be a€?unreasonably dangerousa€?, and a McDonalds spokesman appeared on the news smugly telling reporters that fast food could be part of a healthy diet, Spurlock could hardly believe his ears. Monitored by a cardiologist, gastroenterologist, and internal medicine doctor, he wanted to see whether heavy intake of burgers, fries, and shakes would put him on the fast track to obesity.
An obese Ronald McDonald doll sits on his desk, and the filmmaker cracks himself up when recounting how he and a fellow producer used to hide food in each othera€™s office and leave it there until the putrefying odor gave its location away. But on Thanksgiving day, Spurlock was lying on the couch, stuffed to the gills, and saw the news about the McDonalds lawsuit.


A regular Big Mac, fries, and Coke has 1,200 calories a€“ almost half the calories a normal male needs daily. Spurlocka€™s vital signs are now back to normal, and he has lost all but the last four pounds. We have to start with the kids, and the parents have to get involved,a€? Spurlock counsels. She divides her time between New York and Italy, where she prefers to eat anything from the Slow Food movement, Italya€™s response to McDonalds. In medical terms, Spurlocka€™s fatty diet induced non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, which can lead to cirrhosis. To burn off that inflated meal, says Spurlock, you would need to walk seven hours straight.
How all the kidsa€™ candy cereal are stacked right where kids can buy them, while all the healthy options are way up on the top shelf.a€? He shakes his head.
Our fooda€™s nutritious,a€™ I thought, a€?Well, you guys are getting a little ahead of yourselvesa€™,a€? Spurlock recalls. Ia€™m like, why is this happening?a€? He immediately adds, a€?Therea€™s definitely a twofold problem here.




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