Friday, December 01, 2006

Movie Review: Fast Food Nation

When I saw that Hollywood was making a movie based on Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation," my first response was, "Will America's movie going audience be prepared for another expose documentary?" Well I can tell you they did not do an expose documentary, instead the folks in tinseltown got real creative and made a movie telling a story based on the facts in Mr. Schlosser's book. Let me also be the first to tell you they got it right.

In case you don't know the book has several sections discussing the effects of fast food on America. Teens working instead of learning, illegal immigrants, lack of safety in the meat processing industry (including lack of health safety for final product from obesity to pathogens {e. coli}), chemicals in food, and more.

So how do they do this in a movie. Very creatively that's how.

The movie starts with Greg Kinnear as Don Anderson, VP of marketing for Mickey's (a chain of fast food restaurants) sent to a meat packing plant to find out why there is fecal coliform in the meat. (yes shit in the meat, read the book...this is not unusual). As another story in the plot Wilmer Valderrama (yep from "That '70's show" and "Yo' Mama") portrays Raul, one of a group of illegal immigrants coming to America to live the American Dream. Through these two characters all the original books expose's are revealed.

Toward the end of the movie, some characters come up with ideas to change the big wheel of the fast food industry. At this point some may feel it gets "preachy." I think they covered the ideas well. From letter writing to politicians to quitting working in industry to even a little chapter from the Animal Liberation Front of setting the cows free.

While watching the movie I noticed a lot of similarities between the plights of this movie's illegal immigrants and the Eastern European immigrants from the Upton Sinclair novel "The Jungle." Now I'm not sure if this was intentional or just that the times haven't changed for the meat industry. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Another nice thing about this movie is the surprises in the other cast members. Just a short list: Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne, Luis Guzman, Patricia Arquette, Esai Morales, Kris Kristofferson and Ethan Hawke.

So go out and enjoy a good movie and as the great Bill Cosby said, "If you're not careful, you may learn a thing or two."

1 comment:

  1. just watched Fast Food Nation, it's an impactful flick to say the least... earlier today i passed up a sausage mcmuffin because of it. Evidently it is worth passing up fast food for more than health reasons.