Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock

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ces1948
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Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 8:19 AM
They were interviewing Morgan Spurlock on the radio yesterday about a new film he was doing, This was the guy who ate 3 meals a day for 30 days at McDonalds for a documentary he was filming. His new project is sports related but one interesting tidbit was when he was asked when was the last time he was in McDonalds. He replied March, 2003 which was the last day of filming. Said he's never had the desire to set foot in the place since.

buffetbuster
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 8:59 AM
I didn't eat 90 straight meals there and I still feel the same way.

Tony Bad
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 9:17 AM
Not a fan of the McDonalds, but hope his new project is a bit more honest. He picked McDonalds because they wee the biggest and easiest target and would get him the most notoriety, but had he done the same 3/30 thing at any number of places, chain or local, and made the same purposely poor menu choices the results would have been the same. 
 

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 9:36 AM
In his defense, he chose McDonald's because there are so many people who really do eat there practically every day, and he made poor menu choices (avoiding healthier options) because that's how so many of their customers order.  You think people who eat at McDonald's every day go for the salad?

Tony Bad
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 9:53 AM
I see your point Bruce, but if McDonald's suddenly went out of business do you think all those folks would suddenly eat celery and apples all day? People eat to much. People eat too much of the wrong foods. Picking one target because they are big seems dishonest to me. If he made a film about generic bad eating habits no one would know his name. He also played a few other tricks to make his point seem more valid and visually striking, which again seemed dishonest to me.

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 10:06 AM
McDonalds does the business it does because they offer things people want to eat at very low prices.  Without them other businesses would take its place.  But you said it, no one wants to watch a dry film about generic bad eating habits.  I can't fault him for trying to be a showman at the same time.  That's how you focus attention on the subject.
 
It sounds like you took the film very literally, and I'm sure many other viewers did too, but I think that's a mistake.  He wasn't indicting McDonalds specifically, he was simply using them because we all can relate.  His film WAS about bad eating habits, not McDonalds.  The Carnegie Deli could have been used to make the same point, but most people have never been there and most people don't eat that kind of food regularly.

SeamusD
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 10:25 AM
In contrast, there is a woman who ate at McDonalds 3 times a day for 3 months, and lost 30 pounds. If you eat 5000 calories of anything every day for a month, you're going to have problems.
Spurlock is also known for using misdirection and pre-planning outcomes in his "documentary" programs.

Tony Bad
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 10:47 AM
SeamusD


In contrast, there is a woman who ate at McDonalds 3 times a day for 3 months, and lost 30 pounds. If you eat 5000 calories of anything every day for a month, you're going to have problems.
Spurlock is also known for using misdirection and pre-planning outcomes in his "documentary" programs.

 
The fact he made very little mention of the fact he had not only changed his diet, but made a dramatic change in his entire lifestyle was a good example of that misdirection. Had he made an accurate film about an active person who suddenly starts eating twice as much as before and at the same times becomes totally sedentary the results would have been identical even if that doubled diet was nothing but fruits and vegetables. 

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 2:03 PM
But that's the point!  Is your quibble that he presented his case in such a way as to maximize the entertainment value?  Really?  So what?
 
I'm trying to figure out what your real argument is.  Forgive me if I'm missing it but it sounds like you are saying that if Americans are guilty of overeating they have no one to blame but themselves, and we shouldn't be pointing the finger at businesses like McDonalds.  Is that a fair characterization?
 
And that's half-true.  McDonalds isn't doing anything unlawful; they are selling what the public wants to buy.  But I think the point of Supersize Me isn't that McDonalds is evil.  It's that, as a society, we've reached a point where we can produce lots of good-tasting food that is not only appealing to many people but really inexpensive, making mass quantities of fat and sugar and calories available to almost anyone.
 
And this kind of food shouldn't be eaten in mass quantities.  Humans have evolved through the millenia in an environment where such edibles were hard to come by, so we find them irresistible and tend to gorge on them when we find them.  It's a problem with no easy answer but it is a problem worth discussion.

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 2:36 PM
I think Tony's problem with "Super Size Me" is the manipulation that went on both behind the scenes and on screen, and that may have tainted the while film for him.
 
Film is a medium of editing.  You can make something appear to be just by editing two incongruous images together. One of the classic examples came in the early days of cinema when Sergei Eisenstein (director of the silent classics "Potemkin" and "Ivan the Terrible" among dozens of others) shot footage of an old woman staring, expressionless into the camera.  He then went out and shot scenes of many different things; a happy baby, a crying baby, a house on fire, a fox chasing and killing a small animal, etc.  He then took the footage and alternately edited it together; happy baby/expressionless old woman, house on fire/expressionless old woman, fox killing small animal/expressionless old woman, crying baby/expressionless old woman.
 
When he showed the finished piece to viewers, they all remarked on what an effective actress the old woman was.  She was so delighted with the happy baby, frightened by the burning house, disgusted by the fox killing the animal, and compassionate for the crying baby.  The truth was, of course, it was all one shot of the old woman.  She never saw any of those things, but when edited together it appeared that she was having those reactions.  I contend that Morgan Spurlock similarly edited and juxtaposed certain ideas together to manipulate the way you perceived the film.
 
While I agree with Spurlock's assertions about fast food eating habits in general, there were many holes and breaks in logic throughout the film.  For instance, his experiment with holding unrefrigerated food for a prolonged period of time.  As I recall, the sandwiches got moldy and rotted while the fries did not.  So what was the point?  Was he outraged by the food that rotted or the fact that the fries didn't?
 
I've only seen "Super Size Me" once, so citing other specific examples is difficult.  However, I do remember thinking throughout the film that some of the logic was flawed and it was definitely "artificially" skewed to make his predetermined point about a fast food diet.  Again, I agree with Spurlock's assertion that Americans generally have poor eating habits, but there's enough real evidence out there so you don't need to manipulate the way you present your case to the public.
 
Buddy

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 3:31 PM
My reaction to the film was similar.  It was mediocre film-making.  Also, many of the arguments rang hollow, for me.  But the movie worked, in the sense that it's become part of the national conversation about public health.  The fact that some of those gimmicks were just that, well, I don't see the problem.
 
The guy's not producing a doctoral thesis, he's making a movie.  Even documentaries begin with a point of view - that's why docs are made to begin with.  When people complain about a documentary being biased, it means they don't understand what a documentary is.  It is not just a 90 minute version of an unbiased nightly news piece.  It's usually agitprop.  

Tony Bad
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 5:47 PM
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


But that's the point!  Is your quibble that he presented his case in such a way as to maximize the entertainment value?  Really?  So what?

I'm trying to figure out what your real argument is.  Forgive me if I'm missing it but it sounds like you are saying that if Americans are guilty of overeating they have no one to blame but themselves, and we shouldn't be pointing the finger at businesses like McDonalds.  Is that a fair characterization?
 
 
My point was simply that I found it to be dishonest, which is what I wrote at the start. 
 
He did things and made choices that would maximize the results he wanted, and then led folks down the path that all that happened was the result of him simply eating at McDonald's for a month. It wasn't.
 
Perhaps we differ in how we view things, but I think a point is better made when it isn't based on a foundation of bullsh*t. Sadly, bovine excrement seems to be a foundation for much of what is passed around as fact in our society. I get that he set out to make something that entertained, would make some money, and tell the story he wanted to tell. All I am saying is that this reviewer found his effort dishonest.

BuddyRoadhouse
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 7:15 PM
You're both right.
 
A good documentary starts with a specific point of view.  Yes, I expect to be "educated" by the filmmaker's take on the subject, but the filmmaker needs to start with a certain level of legitimacy in bolstering his case.
 
"Super Size Me" skirts the edges of that legitimacy throughout the film.
 
Being selective in what is revealed is different from purposely taking unrelated images or ideas and splicing them together to steer the audience in a certain direction.  Kind of like the difference between a sin of omission and a sin of commission.  Both are naughty, yet the sin of omission is slightly less offensive.
 
Buddy

Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 10:13 PM
Yeah, I'll grant that: Super Size Me was barely a documentary and perhaps was taken more seriously than it deserved.  Maybe it was more just a goofy reality/comedy flick.  Not that the underlying point isn't important and real, but he didn't approach it with any intellectual rigor.  I still give him credit for helping to direct the national conversation.

Tony Bad
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Tue, 10/11/11 10:27 PM
Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle


Yeah, I'll grant that: Super Size Me was barely a documentary and perhaps was taken more seriously than it deserved.  Maybe it was more just a goofy reality/comedy flick.  Not that the underlying point isn't important and real, but he didn't approach it with any intellectual rigor.  I still give him credit for helping to direct the national conversation.

 
He should have had the guys who did Spinal Tap help him. Now THAT is how you do a documentary!

senor boogie woogie
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Re:Supersize Me/Morgan Spurlock - Thu, 10/27/11 8:46 AM
 
I have seen this film. He set some paramaters. One was that he always "Supersized" if he was asked.
 
At the end of the thirty days, he was sick. His doctor even told him to stop the experiment for his health. His girlfriend/fiancee even said that he was uninterested in sex. For a man not to be interested in sex really means the guy was sick.
 
I dont think it was a very fair experiment because it made it seem that McDonalds food is unhealthy, the same can hold true of candy and alcohol. Should candy and alcohol be illegal? If the guy drank a case of Budweiser beer everyday and after 30 days is drunk, funky, constantly urinating with a lousy disposition, is that fair for the beer company?