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Food on Film: Fast Food Nation

filmfestheader B Murray is our randomly selected winner of the $25 gift card. Thanks everyone for your entries! Have you seen Fast Food Nation? Read on for a chance to win a $25 gift card! Did you make it to one of the 151 screenings of films about food shown in our Let’s Retake Our Plates Film Series? If so, we hope you enjoyed it and learned something! To wrap up our month of reviews, Lauren Craig reviews the Richard Linklater comedy Fast Food Nation.
I had to read this novel while in culinary school to set the scene for our in depth look at 21st century consumerism and food choices. The book made a big impact on me, causing me to me think about my food choices and how I could make simple changes to be healthier and make less of an impact, to be more aware of my food choices. It also painted a much better picture of the grim reality our country faces when it comes to food, and that most of us are oblivious to our downward spiral. In his critique of contemporary American life, Richard Linklater sets the scene by using characters who have a relationship with the meat industry, attempting to make it relatable.  I feel that the movie failed to deliver on what made the book a really good read for me. The movie adaptation uses the fictional town of Cody, Colorado to show the gruesomeness and reality of our modern day food crises, but Linklater uses too many characters and too many stories to get the point across, hence losing focus by starting a lot and finishing nothing. Just when you are getting to know a character and relating to them, the movie transitions to another character in hopes that by combining all of their stores and plights, you understand the overall reality.  But all it did was confuse the issues that were communicated so clearly in the book in a way that is overly preachy for its own good . With the cow slaughter in the end, all I was left with was a feeling of nausea.  The movie would have been much more impactful if it steered clear of fiction and delved into the science – the truth behind it all – instead of getting caught up in an extensive big name cast and their fake stories.
Have you seen Fast Food NationPost your review by April 30th for a chance to win a $25 gift card!

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54 comments

Comments

Sharron Ogomori says …

Wow! Everyone should see this film. They just announced in the newspaper that a city in California is now banning businesses that entice kids with free toys to eat their empty calorie laden foods. Yea...bring in the kids...and the adults will be right behind.

Princess says …

Very short and straight to the point. from cattle to table and the marketing in between. How consumers really do not know what goes into the preperation of their food. The touching point was the guy in the lab with synthetic fragrance or flavoring claiming that it was ¨perfect¨. I wonder if these guys each fast food and feed it to their families?!

cynthia madrid says …

It thought it was too gruesome! The storyline was confusing and at times I lost interest in it. The book was so much better!!!!

Maggie says …

That's great that WFM is showing these films. I have Food Inc on the DVR and can't wait to watch it.

Zlatka says …

Oh, I've read the book (like Bridget) and that's more than enough, I loved it! Especially after I watched Food, Inc. I hope more people will think about these things, because even though it seems like it does not matter, IT DOES MATTER BIG TIME! It matters to our planet, it matters to our kids, it matters to ourselves, it matters to the future (according to a study, mice fed with GMO food stop reproducting after 2-3 generations, how about that for the future of people consuming daily GMO products???). So, like Food, Inc. concluded: "you vote, 3 times a day". Make your vote a smart one, ditch the trash that big companies put in food and know what your food consists of and what impact the ingredients have on you. And the future.

EricR says …

Haven't seen 'Fast Food Nation' yet but it HAS been in my Netflix queue for some time now. I did however just watch "End of the Line" which I recommend!

MayaPapaya says …

A documentary (along the same vein as SuperSize Me or Food Inc.) might have been more impactful than a fictional portrayal.

Esther says …

I found Fast Food nation to just be gross and depressing. But it did not change my eating habits for some reason- maybe becauseit was less effective than a documentary in delivering the harmful effects the food has on our health. Watching SuperSize Me had a big effect on me though. It was gross to see what fast food can do to a very healthy person. Also- Food Inc and King Corn are the cornerstone for my newfound healthy eating habits. After reading this review though- I am encouraged to check out the book. Thanks!

Bridget says …

Haven't seen the movie, but read the book a few years ago. It's full of information that everyone who eats in the country (and the world) should know! Some other recommendations: Eat This, Not That (series of books), King Korn (documentary), and Supersize Me.

screwdestiny says …

I agree with the review posted in this blog. I haven't yet read the book. I happened to catch the movie on TV one day and thought I could watch it and get the gist of what the book was about. But the movie was really pretty lame. I would have preferred it being more documentary-style, but they tried to make it into a fiction, with a little humor thrown in here and there, and it just fell short with poor acting, dialogue, and not getting a whole lot of the very important message across.

M. Clarisa says …

Enjoyed the book, could barely put it down. There were parts of the movie that were too cliche, and so "in your face". Agree with other posts, a documentary would have been a good complement to the book.

Alan Hodges says …

I will try and see the movie but I will definitely not pursue anymore fast food meat shops.

patti says …

i need asale on meat skinless boneless chicken breast and ground turkey i could buy food with this gift card please i never win a thing please please

Nancy Gardner says …

The film certsinly made me think about never buying non-organic meat again! The slaughter house scenes were truly sickening.

Sharli says …

Interesting yet not suprising. I am eager to see the film in its entirety although I am sure that there is nothing new under the sun in this film. America is a fast food nation. It is no wonder Americans suffers from obesity more than any other group as well as leads the nation in a number of other dis-eases. This films seems to be chalk full of information BUT if you love a fat juicy burger will you even care? It is up to the indvidual to deide to take back the plate. The only way to be true to your body is to EAT RAW or eat organic. But then the government won't make that $$ the wll they? After all there will be fewer sufferers of heart dis-ease, obeisity, etc...PLUS it would lose a lot of money it receives from those fast food gurus...now who wants that? I mean everyone loses..drug companies, governmets, fast food giants, meat producers, hormone producers...The only winners are you and the animals. Now who wants that?

little jacqui d says …

I don't eat much meat but every one in a while I want a big juicy hamburger. After Fast Food Nation, I'm a lot more selctive about where that hamburger orginates. The fast food industry is frighenng!

Eddy Robey says …

The film gave a good sense of how pervasive is the culture of fast food. It's a real wake-up call for those who forget the joys of making their own dinner.

Mary says …

Very gross and difficult to even think about.

Katey Moroneso says …

The book was great but the movie was frankly awful! The fictional account was pretty cheesy which led to many of the important points of the book being lost.

Give2Receive says …

"Fast Food Nation" was too gruesome and jumped around to much for me to recommend or purchase to share with family/friends. However, "Food, Inc." is done very well and the information easy to understand and very enlightening/impactful. I have shown the movie "Food, Inc." to friends/family and purchased at least a dozen copies that I have handed out for them to share. This is my food awareness ripple effect besides voting with my dollar. I also recommend Michael Pollan's book, "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual". It is a short and powerful read.

helen j hoang says …

sen em all b 4

Lisa says …

I like the fact that Fast Food Nation pointed out the impact of our food production system on this country and people who live here in a fictional format. I got it!

Donna says …

I did see the movie and thought it was very worthwhile. The previous night I saw What's on Your Plate. Did not go over to see Food Inc as I already have that one on DVD. I appreciated Whole Foods sponsoring these movies.

Stacy says …

I wish that it would have been more like the book - documentary style. Food Inc was better, although I think that it could have provided more info for those who are already somewhat knowledgable about the subject. My husband watched both and learned alot (new for him) but unfortunately did not change his eating habits at all.

Laurie Kirby says …

Now THIS would be a great film to watch on the night before you kick off a new diet.... Better yet, before you begin a fast! I was raised on a farm in the midwest, where animals were slaughtered as a way of life. Hearing the cries of the animals as they were killed or shipped out to be, filled me with such distress and sadness that I would cry for the rest of the day. I became a vegetarian - as I am now. This film is only the truth about what is happening.

B Murray says …

Fast Food Nation is the worst of the recent flood of movies about the food industry in the USA. Bad acting, lousy dialog, and an incoherent plot do not do much to sell the message. Stick with Food Inc or The Future of Food. These are movies that will change lives.

Kurt R says …

Haven't seen "Fast Food Nation" yet, but its next in my Netflix queue ... other great food and sustainability films I've watched recently include: Our Daily Bread, The Gleaners & I, The Future of Food, Food Matters, End of the Line, and Food Beware: The French Organic Revolution ... all have given me insights into our world's "sick" food production system and ideas and inspiration to make better food choices. Thanks for supporting and encouraging healthy eating!

Susan Vogt says …

Have not seen the film yet, Fast Food Nation--but am very interested in the subject matter and hopefully will get a chance to see it!

christine parker says …

This film should make you think twice about what's being done to our food. I try not to think about it, but the owners should take responsibility & not always think of the bottom line. Saving a few pennies is not worth risking someone's health. I'll wager that they treat their pets better. It's not just limited to fast food. Even the extremely fancy restaurants have chefs that have unclean habits using things that fell onto the floor or serving food that's been around too long. I had a personal experience where the nova lox I was served was so spoiled that no amount of salt or washing could hide the foul taste, let alone smell. The owner of course said it was just delivered. My son worked in an ethnic deli where he saw someone drop ashes from his cigarette into the mashed potatoes & served it up. I worked at a nursing home where there were centerpedes floating in the bottom of clarified butter sitting on the stove, ready to be served. It's not just the exec's making decisions to cover up bad food, it's also anyone handeling the food.

dee plair says …

I saw this movie as part of my nutrition class, and mostly I was bored. My favorite line in the movie was from Bruce Willis, who said, "Sometimes we all have to eat a little shit". The Bruce Willis character really got to the heart of the matter, and was just a vehicle for conveying the message about price driving everything. Are we really stupid enough to expect quality food for a dollar? Prepared by minimum wage workers who hate their job, and by extension, you? Actually, I never really thought about it. I've been eating fast food my entire life, and only stopped because of health problems that made me more aware of the importance of a quality diet. This movie had no impact on the friends I made watch it with me. I think they went for a burger right after. Overall, I don't think the movie is going to change anyone's diet, because behavior modification takes more than just being exposed to information. You've got to be motivated to act on the information, and even then, most people don't change. So basically, the movie was just preaching to the choir. For real change, parents have got to stop feeding their kids fast food. It's like cigarettes, if you get hooked early you're probably a customer for life.

Melba Neal says …

Impactful presence, but not a clear statement is being made here. Unless this is the short version, I think a clear blunt statement needs to be made to be an effective film.

Caroline Marcos says …

I heard a lot about this movie but I have not watched it yet. Sounds quite creepy but maybe I'll learn something. I did watch "Super Size Me" and I heard that that man who did it, was never able to go back to the way he was (health-wise) before the experiment. I guess it was worth it for him to make the sacrifice to prove his point to the world. Yuck!

Ty says …

I saw it a long time ago. I think the movie was fairly good.

Kevin says …

Any information available to the public in films like this or books about really what happens to the food (especially meat products) before you ingest it, can only help to raise the consciousness of people in making better choices. I would have liked if there was some talk about how the state of the animal when it is killed will have a connected effect energetically on the person who eats that meat. We are what we eat!!!

Trudie Wang says …

Food Inc. in a nutshell.... now we just need Food Revolution in a nutshell to be the sequel!

andrea young says …

This excerpt was short and to-the-point. It was accerbick. From the moment fast food was posted, it clearly showed how unconcerned the management was, how gullible the public was, how disturbing the food practices were and how the future held nothing productive. It was impossible to accept the fast food commodity as appealing. Food on the floor that was reused says it all. Anything goes for the big buck.

Jennifer Holder says …

In high school, my sister's boyfield, worked at a fast food restaurant. When he opened a box of "hamburgers" (and they were probably closer to being hamburgers than they are today!) he spilled some of the frozen patties on the floor. He started flipping them in the garbage can and when the mgr caught him, he told him that if he threw any more away, he would be fired. Our family never ate at this establishment after that incident.

Deborah says …

lokks interesting, not crazy about the rateing

Kristin Calabrese says …

I just watched this movie a few weeks ago, I thought it was a documentary and then quickly realized it was a fictional story that related many true occurrences in our food industry. The movie was well done in how the character's lives intertwined with one another, it was a gritty look at how our fast food impacts us as a country and beyond. I hope that people will realize there is much truth to this story.

Helen Brown says …

I don't agree that the movie Fast Food Nation failed to deliver because there were too many stories intertwined. I thought it portrayed the issue from the prospective of the many kinds of people involved. I could not watch much of the scene on the killing floor. It nauseated me too, but I think that was the intention. What goes on is disgusting! I thought it was a nice touch of irony at the end when the coyote handed the children the fast food bags for their first meal in America. I saw all of the films at the Plam Beach gardens location. I enjoyed them all but I felt that Food Inc. was the most informative. I wish it had been possible for them to go into a little more depth about the corn subsidies and the evil things that Monsanto and other corperations have prepetuated upon the smaller farmers and the American people by taking away the diversity of our food supply and forcing genetically modified crops upon us. But this film covered so much territory. I wish everyone would see it.I would have loved to see King Corn and Fresh. I hope there will be more film series.

eva says …

good luck

Vicki Print says …

THIS SHOULD BE A REQUIRED FILM IN SCHOOLS FOR KIDS TO WATCH, PARENTS INVITED. I BELIEVE OUR CHILDREN CAN MAKE A GREAT IMPACT ON WHAT GOES ON IN THEIR HOMES BUY WHAT THEY CAN BRING HOME FROM HEALTH AND DIET EDUCATION IN THE SCHOOLS. LET'S FACE IT, MOST PARENTS ARE TOO BUSY TO EVEN NOTICE WHAT IS GOING ON OUT THERE WITH THEIR FOOD CHOICES (ESPECIALLY FAST FOOD) BECAUSE OF THEIR OVERSTUFFED SCHEDULES. KUDOS WHOLE FOODS FOR CONTINUING TO EXPOSE THE MONEY GRUBBERS.

ann m says …

over 23 years ago, i read "Diet For a New America" written by the then heir to the baskins-robbins dairy/ice-cream company. i never ate flesh again. not sure if this book is still in print, but so worth reading. not only is it revealing, even by today's standards, but it also looks at what we eat from a historical, spiritual, philosophical, and green perspective.

Karen says …

I watched Food, Inc. last week when it was on PBS and continue to be amazed! I will have to view this film as well.

deb keilen says …

This film accomplished putting a face to all the players in the meat industry, from the public consumer to the corporate giant. This hollywood version of the novel came across a bit hokey, but getting the message out about the horrors of the meat industry is appreciated in any form. And who doesn't love anything Greg Kinnear?!! I recommend this movie to all the eating citizens of the world.

DoctorBotany says …

I have not read the book and so have no comparison to make to it. What I did notice was the exploitation of the illegal immigrants who have no recourse to fight injustices. Also- Having witnessed the slaughter of cattle in a packing house, I can attest to the accuracy of the realistic depiction in the movie. The screenplay with it's multitude of characters is confusing to the issues that I think the movie was trying to get at-namely the deplorable conditions experienced by our food animals, the people who process them, and our planet, all because of our insatiable addiction to the consumption of protein.

Marlene Inman says …

A really truthful documentary would be much more effective.I, for one, am always leary of "movie stars" commens on anything, because for the most part "actors" are reimbursed for what they recommend or do not recommend. I would much rather see a "man on the street" give a blurb about anything. The film was too slick.

Anthony Angelo says …

"Fast Food Nation" the book, was very informative. The movie, however, should have been more of a documentary -- especially to be shown to students. The fictionalized parts of the story are just not appropriate for this to be used educationally. As an adult, I could watch past the sensationalized parts to get the information. All in all, ok, but had potential for more.

kim says …

Makes me want to eat a orange.

mimi schirber says …

the information is critical. for a nation that needs to know about everything, food seems to be one area we have been content to play ignorant. the film itself seemed a little dorky. the acting and drama of the storyline made the reality of our situation seem like a joke. what is going on in our country is serious and i wish this film had more of a serious tone. Food Inc, on the other hand, had equally important information and seemed to address the viewer as an intelligent person rather than someone to entertain.

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