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Super Size Me (2004)

June 7, 2010

7/10 Fat Bastards

A lot more effective when it first came out, still ain’t bad though.

Super Size Me is a documentary about one man’s mission to go from a vision of immaculate health to a vile excuse for a human being by ordering off the McDonald’s menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner for a month straight, supersizing his meal every time he’s given the option and eating every item on the menu at least once.

In short, it’s an hour and forty minute rundown of why no one on Earth should be eating fast food. Being that I’m not the biggest fan of McDonald’s to begin with, I gotta say I’m with the guy on this one, but lord knows does my mouth start to water when I walk past a Wendy’s. What can I say, it’s the Cadillac of fast food restaurants. How can I possibly resist The Baconator.

Something tells me I’m gonna come back and read this again somewhere down the line after my superhuman metabolism has completely broken down and seriously hate my twenty-something self.

But back in ’04, this movie was a pretty big deal. In a move that completely one-upped that old lady who sued the sonsabitches at Mickey D’s because their coffee was too hot, the whole idea for the movie started when the golden arches got taken to court by two wildly obese teenage girls because they claimed it was the Double Quarter Pounders that got them break the scale by the time they reached High School. Long story short, the case got thrown out because there wasn’t exactly physical proof that a McDonald’s diet was the sole cause of their physical degradation, so Morgan Spurlock – our world’s biggest French fry enthusiast up there – decided to hop to it and do the test himself.

A crazy and intriguing idea if there ever was one, but keep in mind that this was also before Whole Foods got huge, before everyone started buying organic as though the stuff our parents have been buying all these years was laced with Agent Orange, before vegans weren’t chased out of town like Frankenstein when they walked into a Roy Rogers, before everyone started facing up to their suspicions that fast food really wasn’t doing our bodies any favors. I remember walking out of the theater when I first saw this (and after Spurlock actually showed up to do a Q & A with the audience, which was a cool little bonus) and shunning that damn ginger clown and all his evil products with my head held high, and so did everyone else I knew who saw this.

Maybe I’m mistaken, but Super Size Me was the first time this kind of conversation was brought into the spotlight and I for one was pretty floored by all the new information I’d just taken in. But here we are six years later, well aware that you probably shouldn’t eat processed burgers that weigh as much as a small child – even if they are named after killer robots from the future – and a lot of the stuff that at one time seemed shocking now comes across as second-hand news. 

It was kind of weird watching this movie a second time because I’m thinking that a big reason I’m not as taken aback by it any more is because it actually did work in the first place. People seem to be a lot more aware of what they’re eating nowadays and I definitely think we have Morgan Spurlock to thank for that in some way.

He does end up paying a little too much attention to all the health statistics, I can’t help but feel like he’s totally belaboring the point more often than not, and the inclusion of Don Gorske – the man who’s eaten more Big Macs than anyone alive yet somehow looks fit as a whistle – seems to completely counteract Spurlock’s argument in some ways. But for all the movie’s missteps, the message is very much driven home in the long run, it’ll make you think twice about giving your kid lunch money instead of brown bagging it for ’em, and it’s a pretty funny ride to boot.

Super Size Me might not be as groundbreaking today as it once was, but by the some token, there are still a whole lot of folks out there who count two servings of deep-fried butter as a healthy dinner option for Junior. I’m already on board with eating healthy and I’m sure a good deal of you out there are too, but the fact that this movie unfortunately remains as an example of required viewing for the fattest nation in the world is awfully damn depressing.

I’m tellin’ ya, guys, outside of the occasional Big Mac, McDonald’s really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Have you tried their honey mustard? I know honey mustard, and that is not honey mustard. I WANT ANSWERS!

34 Comments leave one →
  1. June 7, 2010 1:30 am

    When I watched this movie, my appetite for junk food really waned, for a while anyway! I recall being astonished that a hamburger cost 29c, if they were as cheap here, I would have bought a lot more too. It’s a pity that some of Spurlock’s other films were pretty bad, (i.e. Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?)

    • June 7, 2010 4:13 pm

      Yeah, I didn’t hear great things about Osama either. Saw a Taco Bell commercial this weekend advertising doritos, a soda and a big-ass burrito all for 2 bucks and I couldn’t believe it. I do love me some taco bell every once in a while, but it’s no wonder so many people are so damn fat with costs like that.

      • June 7, 2010 9:30 pm

        I enjoyed Osama quite a bit. I don’t remember much from it, but I remember thinking it was superior on a filmmaking level to this one. It’s more of a travelogue than a documentary though, so it pays to know that going in.

  2. June 7, 2010 5:20 am

    Excellent review. I think you’re right – it has aged – but that’s perhaps because it was a major influence back then. McDonalds has improved its image since then – a lot more healthy options, and the environmentally-friendly branding. It was an interesting exercise in junk food unhealthiness and highlighted the growing problem of obesity in America. I think its message is still relevant today.

    • June 7, 2010 4:16 pm

      Agreed, it definitely is. You ever read Fast Food Nation?

      • Branden permalink
        June 7, 2010 7:47 pm

        I read Fast Food Nation in SEPS. It was a little long winded, but informative.

      • June 8, 2010 10:02 am

        Yeah, I couldn’t get into it back in the day but I wish I had since I’ll probably never read it now.

  3. June 7, 2010 6:55 am

    Now things at fast-food joints have changed, and I would like to say because of this movie, but would I be lying if I did? Either way, still works, and is surprisingly really funny despite all the upsetting themes.

  4. Ryan permalink
    June 7, 2010 10:41 am

    Could really go for a McRib right about now…

    • June 7, 2010 4:17 pm

      All I can think about are those mystery meat rib sandwiches from Ray. Not a good image.

  5. June 7, 2010 4:05 pm

    I saw this a few years ago. I haven’t eaten in McD…. wait that’s not true. I have actually. But that was an exception to my norm. Normally I try to avoid fast food. Though if I have to choose between the big three KFC would probably come up trumps. Though it really gets me how they advertise an alternative universe type reality that is in total contrast to my experience of their ‘restaurants’. I heard McD’s did away with their super size option after this film was released (at least in the UK) and soon after saw the advent of their ‘salad’ (which apparently contains more salt than the average sweaty customer).

    You should check out Food inc.

    • June 7, 2010 4:09 pm

      Yeah, they did actually get rid of the Super Size after this, and I don’t know how long the salads have been around, but those aren’t too good for ya either. Saw Food Inc a couple months ago, definitely in the same vein as this, a lot more eye-opening though. Those meat factories are freakin’ crazy, man.

  6. June 7, 2010 4:25 pm

    dammit Aidano, i had a Mickey Ds yesterday
    now i feel even more guilty than i did already
    you dick

  7. June 7, 2010 5:52 pm

    Can’t say I’ve gone out of my way to eat there since Supersize Me.

  8. Sarah permalink
    June 7, 2010 7:36 pm

    I remember I had to watch this movie for Gr 9 health class. I found it really creepy that he started getting sleep apnea.
    Ever since this movie and all the anti-trans fat laws came out, McDonald’s fries don’t taste good any more. They changed the frying oil or something. They used to be so delish, but so unhealthy. Now they’re slightly less unhealthy, but they’re gross (in my opinion, anyways.) I’d rather have them be scrumptious like they used to be, trans fat and all.
    Did you ever watch Fast Food Nation?

    • June 8, 2010 10:02 am

      Never saw Fast Food Nation, didn’t hear great things about the movie but apparently the book is great. Yeah, I’ve never really been on the McDonald’s-fries-are-the-greatest-thing-that’s-ever-happened-to-potatoes bandwagon like so many folks are, never been much of a fry fan to begin with outside of sweet potato and home fries. And I agree about the sleep apnea, that was bizarre.

  9. Branden permalink
    June 7, 2010 7:50 pm

    You are a Wendy’s fan? Say what! I will swallow my bile.

    When I saw the film, I thought it was very effective. I don’t eat fast food as much when I saw it, but I don’t gorge myself like I used to.

    It was an effective movie.

    • June 8, 2010 10:03 am

      How dare you badmouth Wendy’s. You are walking a fine line, friend.

  10. June 7, 2010 9:19 pm

    Nice write up as always, sir.

    Didn’t drink pop (soda, for you non-midwesterners) for a year after watching this one, and fast food’s a rarity for me. Except McDonald’s breakfast. So bomb, I don’t care what’s in it.

    • June 8, 2010 10:04 am

      I love it when folks call it pop. Right on, man.

      Whoof about the Mickey D’s breakfast though. That is some suspect shit.

  11. June 8, 2010 12:30 am

    I haven’t had fast food for quite some time (6 months+). Seriously, that stuff is really bad for you, I can feel my skin breaking out every time after I have some McD, it’s that disgusting! Good review of this movie though, I agree that this is a nice on the first watch but not really worth a second watch. Watching a guy stuff himself with McDonald gets a bit repetitive after a while. One thing though is that I’m not sure what he was trying to prove by eating fast food at every meal for 30 days, it was obvious from the get-go he was going to get fat and unhealthy.

  12. June 8, 2010 2:11 pm

    Thanks for that link to the Ronny McDonny pic — nightmare city, population Me.

    @Branden — I know, huh? Wendy’s? Yee-uck……find yourself a nice Carl’s Jr. or a BK with a pig serving baby backs.

    2 things freaked me out forever:

    1. When you get a hamburger patty from McD’s, it contains meat from like 1,000 cows (fuhreeky).

    2. On the extras for the DVD, he put a local burger joint burger under glass and a McDonald’s burger under glass. The local burger was green and disgusting after a couple days. The McD’s burger looked exactly the same for weeks. And the fries never changed.

    • June 8, 2010 2:14 pm

      I saw that thing with the fries, that was bizarre. One more reason I’m not a fan.

  13. June 8, 2010 6:28 pm

    Like it or not, this documentary definitely made a difference on how people view the fast food industry. The impact of Super Size Me put pressure on McDonalds to finally get rid of the Super Size. Too bad Morgan Spurlock hasn’t made anything with the same success as Super Size Me.

    • June 8, 2010 6:29 pm

      Agreed. You’d think that handlebar mustache would have some more untapped potential.

      • June 9, 2010 12:12 am

        My girlfriend and I have taken to calling the facial hair he sports a “Spurlock”. It still gets a laugh a couple of years later, so I can personally vouch for the potential of the ‘stache.

      • June 9, 2010 7:20 am

        Hahaha, well played.

    • June 8, 2010 6:43 pm

      I thought that 30 days show had some followers, no? I dunno, I never watched it.

      • June 8, 2010 6:45 pm

        I saw a couple episodes, pretty interesting, but not on the same par as this. Kinda lost interest pretty quick in lieu of Chappelle’s Show reruns.

      • June 8, 2010 8:37 pm

        Love 30 Days. Been going through all of them on the Netflix Instant recently. There’s some great episodes. The one with a straight guy going to live with a gay man and the Muslim/Christian spring to mind.

  14. Larry permalink
    October 22, 2012 5:17 pm

    Super Size Me

    This show was bizarre.
    It featured several doctors and labs one of whom went out of business during the film.

    In this you will see Morgan Spurlock

    1. being fingered during a rectal exam with detailed audio.
    2. commentary on sex with his wife. ( His wife loves him and he loves himself she sits on top because his penis is broke and he is tired from fast food )
    3. have an erection and vomit while eating fast food for the first time.
    4. talk about a nonsense penis condition with one female doctor while leaning over the table and looking into her eyes. (No obvious sexual response from her)
    5. wear seductive American Flag Lingerie for another female doctor. ( A giggle reaction )
    ( Later the female doctors share an ice cream indicating a bi lesbian invitation)
    6. see a diagram with a balloon pointing to his penis which suffered damage from eating at Mac Donalds and his wife concurs.
    7. The male doctor witnessed none of these antics but does indicate he’s on a path to trouble.
    (This doctor is very similar to Dr Nick from The Simpsons)

    (These actions in the workplace would classify as sexual harassment)

    Other than that he eats Mac Donalds and gains 25 pounds in a month despite the fact he looks no different.
    His wife rolls her eyes.

    I eat fast food ounce in a while and have a great time i would not eat it everyday.

    I guess “Treats For The Ladies” would have been a good title for this.
    Super Size Me must be a subconscious plea to the lady doctors to service his erection.

    Morgan Spurlock takes his own erections seriously.

    If your not smart enough to figure any of this out to begin with by all means watch this movie.

    In fact I attribute the success of this film to people not being very smart.

    5 Stars no way unless they are made out of #@%*



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