I think the film uses sensationalism to persuade. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a good example of how a documentary can be engaging and persuasive. Film has so many purposes! Personally, I find it disgusting and very persuasive. Will it actually change behavior? I doubt it. After all, the food is addictive!
I actually enjoyed watching the movie even though I think Spurlock definitely went way too far in trying to make it sensational. In the end, people are responsible for their own choices so if you decide to eat at McDonalds often, you are going to have to deal with the consequences.
It is certainly true that the way subsidies work, etc., that it is more expensive to get fruits and vegetables, it is still a person's choice to eat the things they do.
So I still crave McDonalds sometimes and Spurlock's film didn't cure me of that, but I did really enjoy watching it and it was an interesting idea.
The movie was shocking yes and impacting to some for awhile. If Spurlock wanted to effect a more permanent change he should have extended the experiment over a period of several months. The extremity of the situation might have disgusted some, but overeaters who deny their problem had an easy out--we don't eat like that; we don't do that every day; and etc. It might have made more of a permanent impact if he more closely mimiced the way over-eating results creep up on us.
I also really loved this movie and have shown it to several of my classes. This was my first dabble in what has become a much greater personal interest in the past few years. I've never been much of a fast-food junkie personally, but the thing that it opened my eyes to is the way the business of fast food literally controls the food industry in America.
If you enjoyed this film and are interested in going further in this theme I recommend you also watch Food, Inc. Some good books in this area include anything by Michael Pollan, Fast Food Nation (Schlosser), and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (Kingsolver).
Absolutely! I went through a stage when I used this movie-documentary every year in my English classes to explore facts vs opinions, which is a key concern in interpreting this film. Of course, the overall message would make you (hopefully) not eat any fast food in your entire life. However, I must admit that I was already sold on the idea of healthy eating beforehand, so I am not too sure whether the "shock effect" would jolt a hardened (not just talking about arteries here) fast food eater into changing their habits. I always get great discussions though in response to this documentary!
I show Supersize Me to my students almost every year, and for most of them, it has an effect for several hours. Usually, by the next day, they are ready to go to McDonald's or another fast food joint. I think one of the problems that prevents the experiement from having more of an effect on the average viewer is that even Morgan Spurlock admits that his experiment was "a bit" extreme. While, yes, there are people who eat fast food every day, Spurlock did not point out anyone else who ate it for every meal, every day. He also includes several exaggerated examples that take away from the logic of his experiment. For example, he compares the cafeteria of a huge middle school and the food that they serve to a very small alternative school for at-risk students in Wisconsin--it's simply an unfair comparison. Obviously, when a cafeteria has three women who have to feed only a handful of students, they can spend more time making healthy meals. The company that promotes that type of healthy food service for schools claims that it could do the same for other normal schools but provides no evidence of being able to do so.
Similarly, when Spurlock orders his meals, look at the size of them--for breakfast, he is often shown eating two different types of breakfast sandwiches, drinking Coke (he never mentions drinking diet sodas or a lot of water), or having some kind of dessert with many of his meals.
One positive that Spurlock's work is credited with is the removal of the "supersize me" option. However, if you go to Burger King and many of the other fast food restaurants, all they have done is taken away the name of the largest meal (Burger King's old king size is now a large). This is almost more detrimental, because people order a large, not knowing that it's the old king, or they might be more inclined to order the large because it doesn't have quite the negative connotation as "king" or "super" does. So, for me, there were just too many flaws and too much bias for Supersize Me to have a much of an effect. I have a difficult time believing that most people do know that they shouldn't eat fast food on a regular basis.
I did watch the movie and must admit that seeing the weight gain and the psychological effects on the protagonist was an eye-opener. I was most shocked about the artificial flavoring that they put in the food to send messages to your brain that the food tastes good, when in fact it may not. Also, it was scary to see the effects on blood pressure, and how the diet made him become a candidate for cardiac arrest.
To a point I also don't quite follow how he was so assertive in stating a hypothesis that he will in fact gain weight and all the other stuff and so accurately he demonstrated his hypothesis. Hollywood is not to be believed in anyway, but nevertheless its shock value was strong enough for me to consider going there. Although I always end up going IN there.