The movie “Supersize Me” by Morgan Spurlock had taken the movie scene by storm when it was released on 2004. The movie is a documentary film by Spurlock in which he was the producer, writer, and director. The film was basically about the relationship of the growing rate of obesity to the fast food industry. Spurlock had presented his argument through subjecting himself to a 30-day experiment in which he will only eat foods exclusively from the fast food chain titan, McDonald’s.
The bulk of the movie discusses the consequences of being dependent to fast foods as shown through the degenerating health of Spurlock.
“Supersize Me” had received a worldwide appreciation and was even given a nomination in the prestigious Academy Awards under the category of documentary feature. It is certainly undeniable that the intention of “Supersize Me” is truly noble. It addresses the timely issue of obesity and it had raised awareness to the masses. But the movie had deliberately missed out on some aspects of the issue regarding obesity and fast foods.
This paper would try to attempt to stand beside a disagreeing argument in opposition to the movie in which virtually everyone would agree.
The objective of disagreeing with “Supersize Me” is not to state the movie was all in all bad, that it is just an overrated hack—no. The primary objective of this paper is to make some points of discussion surface. As stated earlier, there are some aspects that the movie had deliberately excluded. Through this manner of analysis, we could view both sides of the conflict.
That is in line with the thinking that this approach would lead us to a more favorable conclusion. A common criticism that the movie had received is that is “supersized” with exaggerations.
Spurlock had thrown himself in a situation wherein he would not eat anything but food form McDonalds, “supersize” all the time he is asked to, and refrain from exercise. The result from this experiment would not even require minutes to predict. The way his above-average health had degenerated to alarming-below poor health should not have been a surprise. Spurlock had said in the movie that his experiment’s purpose was to simulate the average diet of an individual who regularly eats at McDonald’s.
This claim is quite unconvincing as Spurlock presents his argument in a rather exaggerated manner. It would be very unlikely far a “regular costumer” of McDonald’s to eat more than three times a day. Moreover, if we try to analyze it more, it is improbable for a person to supersize every time he is asked to do so. The consequence of obesity would be the very obvious result in Spurlock experiment. There are several points of exaggerations in the movie. He had deliberately refrained from any rigorous physical activity. He could have gone obese just by doing that and regardless of any diet.
He did not also drink much water during the course of the experiment. Instead he had drunk from the beverages on the McDonald’s menu. During the later part of the movie, it was revealed that he had consumed over thirty pounds of sugar. The movie had deliberately excluded the consideration of diet-free beverages which could have dramatically changed the end result. Moreover, because of the excess sugar and caffeine from only drinking “cokes and milkshakes”, he would definitely experience mood swings and irregularity in energy.
As evidence to the exaggeration of the film, there is a scene where Spurlock was puking after eating his first supersized intake. The puking was not because of the food, but it was provoked by the sudden change in his diet. The case is just similar to the “three-day hump” that smokers who are trying to quit experiences. It is not that Spurlock is just pretending to be puking, but it is just his body reacting to the exaggerated change in his diet. Even Spurlock himself admits the fact that the method he had used is exaggerated and unrealistic.
He had mentioned that the diet he had undergone is almost equivalent to what nutritionists would recommend for eight years. Another aspect that the movie might have exaggerated is its tone. It seems that the movie wants to strengthen its arguments by scaring its audience. The analogy that the movie’s method follows is like when parents scare their children by making them puff cigarette until they become sick. The movie’s tactic was very visible even from the start. Spurlock had immediately mentioned that obesity is ranking second to smoking as a leading cause of death in the US.
Then the movie would show the audience graphic images of surgery and significant change in his weight and appearance. He had also mentioned that his sexual life was also affected by his supersized diet. This aspect of the movie probably got the attention of many audiences, especially men, because his girlfriend was actually quite a catch. Spurlock had also included some experiments that would definitely scare anyone. In an experiment he called “The Smoking Fry”, he had set some foods from McDonald’s in a jar and had left them to decompose.
Ten weeks after the experiment, the fries were the only food that did not decompose. What the experiment is trying to suggest is that the components of the fries is artificial and harmful to health. There are also some other aspects that the movie have overlooked. The movie seems to have focused much on McDonald’s. The movie may have gone over the border as it had presented the image of McDonald’s in an offensive and derogatory manner. It is like the movie wanted to tell the audience that McDonald’s sells us slow-killing poison.
The movie did not consider that the company also has nutritionists who carefully plan what will they feed to the public. “Supersize Me” had only presented a biased picture in an exaggerated manner which we can consider as overkill. There is lots of offensive material in the film, not only to McDonald’s but also to innocent people. There was much footage of obese people, as if portraying them as not the victims, but an accomplice to the climbing rate of obesity. And also, there are people who could only afford to eat fast foods because of their lifestyles.
Some are plain busy people and some are just not able to afford healthy alternatives—thus the term “fast foods”. If given much thought, what Spurlock had shown us is that obesity due to fast foods is self-inflicted, just like the control for his experiment. After all, the decision to what we put in our mouths is still solely ours. Again, this paper had lain out some aspects that the movie had failed to explore—not to make bad of the movie, but for objectivity. “Supersize Me” is one of the most socially responsible films that talks about a very important issue in our society.
Perhaps, if it would polish the rough edges, the movie could shine more as one of the best documentary films. It is certainly undeniable that “Supersize Me” had supersized our awareness regarding the issue of public health.