Fast Food Nation

This Friday, November 17, Eric Schlosser's best-seller, "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal," hits the big screen. Directed by Richard Linklater of "A Scanner Darkly," fame, the film takes audiences on a tour of the real ingredients in American fast food, and none of them are beef.

Unlike Morgan Spurlock's "Super Size Me," "Fast Food Nation" is not a documentary, it's a drama. "Fast Food Nation" wasn't designed to make consumers feel good about indulging in the occasional Big Mac. On the contrary — critics claim this film has the potential to change the fast food industry as we know it. I’m not ashamed to admit that as soon as the "Super Size Me" credits rolled, I ran to the nearest McDonalds to load up on artery-clogging (but otherwise totally harmless) burgers and fries. But "Fast Food Nation" portrays problems that are much bigger than the Hummers McDonalds passes out in happy meals.

Like the book, "Fast Food Nation" focuses on the human elements of America's quest for immediate gratification and transfat. Thanks to Schlosser’s book, transfat is now a four-letter word and is being eliminated from almost all restaurants and food products. Now, many say the movie's social commentary has the potential to quell the exploitation of illegal workers who fuel the fast food industry. Their struggles are portrayed by a young immigrant couple who come to America in classic Upton Sinclair “The Jungle” fashion — full of hopes and dreams that crumble when the couple meets with horrific working conditions in a meat-packing plant.

What do you think? Are we, as Americans, comfortably resigned that fast food restaurants are trying to kill us as well as the American dream? Or must we stand up for our rights to guilt-free fast food? If Fast Food Nation changes people's minds about the industry, what will happen next?

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5 Comments

  • Colin

    So will there be a sequel between the spinach e. coli and now Del Taco onion e. coli incidents?
    They could use the catchphrase "There's sh*t in the vegetables."

  • Sharron

    I think some people have missed the real point of this movie. Yes, workers are exploited; sanitary conditions are breached. There are not enough health inspectors to adequately monitor all the packing houses in the U.S. The point the movie drove home to me is that corporations are covertly intruding into more and more aspects of American's lives in the guise of cheap food. I don't need to eat aspargus in November when it's flown here from Chili at the expense of possibly adding to global warming. The beef industry utilizes tons of energy which is necessary to grow the grain that's fed to cattle in the stockyards that their systems aren't even equipped to digest. But the government has to do something with all that corn they subsidize the midwestern farmers to grow . . . hence the push for ethanol to supposedly wean us from petrol. Some cows are dead before they even get into the "death chute." The administration in power determines the budget for the FDA. There doesn't seem to be any political party with huevos big enough to truly do the right thing relative to our food industry. What's a citizen to do to make a difference? Feedback plez!

  • Eliot (Amy)

    Will people actually care?

    I'm a vegetarian, chosen to be so because of the corporate nature of our food production. But even I sometimes feel like - oh what's the point. It can't be all that bad to eat hormone-filled milk! Just give me a milkshake, Burger King! yum!

    I'll be curious to see if people actually react with action. I mean, I thought the Michael Moore movie would prevent Bush from getting reelected...

  • Vance Dubberly

    Looking forward to the Movie. Will it have an impact? That's hard to say. Depends on who goes to see it and how well done it is. Sad to hear it is a fictional account, I'm sure it'll be written off as a complete work of fiction pretty quickly.

    Ultimately the problem with our food is that we consume a finished product and see nothing about what goes into it. The process of producing a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in pretty brutal if not out right revolting. But then these days so is the process of producing the Apple Monitor I'm reading this blog entry on. The fact is if this movie has an effect, it will be short lived. Perhaps a few people will alter their consuming habits long term... but it's doubtful. We like our toys to much. An we are, as Americans totally disconnected from the real world.

  • Ryan

    Do we really need another movie to tell us that Fast Food is bad for us? Don't most people already know that you can't make a burger for $0.99 unless you have cheap labor, cheap ingredients and massive amounts of marketing?