"McMust-See!" That is what I say about the engrossing documentary about Mickey D’s. "Super Size Me," created by Morgan Spurlock, was recently released on wide-screen DVD. There is no doubt that Spurlock earned his best director award at the Sundance Film Festival by risking his life to prove a point to all Americans.
Inspired by a lawsuit that two overweight teenagers filed against McDonald’s, Spurlock decides to travel to McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S. to perform an experiment: show what happens to him after 30 days of eating McDonald’s food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He can consume nothing that does not come from McDonald’s - including water - and must try everything on the menu at least once. He must also always accept and consume a "super-sized" meal when it is offered. He also decreases his activity level to that of the average American. The results are astonishing!
Spurlock goes on to attack the methods that McDonald’s uses to lure kids, including playgrounds, birthday parties and Happy Meal toys. Would you believe that first graders who didn’t recognize a photo of George Washington could easily name Ronald McDonald? A group of people in Washington, D.C. could not recite the Pledge of Allegiance, but could sing the entire "Big Mac Jingle!" What has happened to our country?
Spurlock comes across as an extremely likable guy. It is easy to put yourself in his place as it takes him 22 minutes to finish his first super-size meal and then moans, "Oh, McStomachache ... McGurgles ... McGas!"
Luckily, Spurlock is intelligent enough to be closely watched by a cardiologist, a gastroenterologist, a general practitioner and a dietician. The doctors are amazed at the drastic decline in his health and urge him to stop, but he vows to continue.
With cool, colorful graphics and entertaining cartoon pop-ups (like one showing how chicken nuggets are nothing more than a McFrankenstein creation containing hardly any chicken yet lots of preservatives), the film manages to present many medical facts and statistics in an easy- to-understand and enjoyable format. The catchy music with hilarious lyrics (i.e. "Super Size, Super Size, the American way. Getting fat, getting broke, either way you’re gonna pay!") is sure to make you chuckle, and interviews with doctors, lawyers and overweight people really keep this movie from becoming a boring documentary.
"Super Size Me" is not only extremely entertaining but also highly educational. I now have a serious beef with McDonald’s and am actually sickened by the thought of eating their food. After seeing this experiment, I think this film should be in the horror section of video stores. The results are truly scary and hopefully this documentary will cause people to talk about the growing problem of obesity.
I think schools should be required to show this in health classes. While kids may find the facts hard to digest, they need to learn to take responsibility for what they put in their bodies and that their choices in life have serious consequences. I highly suggest you spend your money renting this video instead of sinking your teeth into even one more "heart attack on a bun." It might just save your life!
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.