Super Size Me: The Documentary That Started It All
Super Size Me in Seven Minutes.
What the heck did I just watch? Well let’s start at the beginning:
In 2002 in New York, two teenage girls sued McDonald’s for knowingly selling them unhealthy food that ultimately caused their obesity. One of the girls was 14 years old, four feet, ten inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. The other girl was 19 years old, five feet, five inches tall, and weighed 264 pounds. Several courts stated that the claimants would have a case if they could prove that eating McDonald’s food everyday is dangerous to the human body. In response to these claims, director and filmmaker Morgan Spurlock created a documentary called Super Size Me. Using his own body, he conducted an experiment in order to discover just how dangerous eating McDonald’s food can be to the average person’s health.
The rules of the experiment:
- Only eat food sold at McDonald’s for thirty days
- Must eat 3 meals a day
- Order every item on the menu at least once by the end of the thirty days
- If asked to supersize his meal he has to say yes
Image Courtesy of: (Cooking With Movies)
Spurlock wanted to make the experiment as safe and as official as possible by documenting his health status throughout the thirty days. Therefore, before even starting the experiment he went to three doctors, a general practitioner, a cardiologist and a gastroenterologist all of which concluded that his health was above the national average. He continued to see these doctors throughout the experiment and he periodically consulted with an exercise physiologist and a dietitian.
Since Spurlock discovered that, he was much healthier than the average American he made other changes to his life style to make himself more like the average American. These changes include not exercising for thirty days and limiting himself to 5,000 steps a day. The whopping 2.5 miles the average American walks in one day. This was quite a change for Spurlock because he regularly exercised, and his girlfriend typically only cooked him vegan food because she was a vegan chef. On top of all of the exercise Spurlock also lived in New York City at the time so he walked everywhere he went. To limit himself to 5,000 steps a day was quite the challenge. During the experiment, he started driving a car or taking a taxi everywhere he went. On top of that, he started using the elevator.
Thus Spurlock was primed and ready to undertake what is perhaps one of the most shocking and cringe-worthy experiments ever undertaken in the fast food industry.
Below is a list of nominations and awards that the documentary accumulation after its release in 2004:
- Nominated by the International Documentary Association for the Pare Lorentz Award
- Nominated by the Sundance Film Festival for the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary
- Won the New Director’s Award in the Edinburgh International Film Festival
- Won the MTV, News: Docs: Prize in the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival
- Won the NBR Award for Top Five Documentaries from the National Board of Review, USA
- Won the Directing Award for Best Documentary in the Sundance Film Festival
- Nominated by the Academy Awards, USA for an Oscar for Best Documentary
- Nominated by the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards for the Critics’ Choice Award for best documentary
- Nominated by the Online Film Critics Society Awards for the OFCS Award for Best Documentary
- Nominated by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle for the VFCC Award for Best Documentary
- Won the Golden Satellite Award for Best Motion Picture, Documentary in the Satellite Awards
- Won the Documentary Screenplay Award from the Writers Guild of America, USA
by: Shelby French
Supersize Me. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Morgan Spurlock. Roadside Attractions, Samuel Goldwyn Films, Showtime
Independent Films, 2004. DVD
Supersize Me in 7 mins: How too much of McDonald’s will make you feel. Perf. Morgan Spurlock.
YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 10 Apr. 2013.