Movie of the Day – Fast Food Nation
September 28, 2011 2 Comments
So I like to think in some weird way, that someone who might stumble upon reading this blog post, is eating some form of fast food. Is it ironic, meh, but if anything that tells about our love of the fast food culture. Even on our downtime reading a blog about movies, we still find a way to squeeze in that burger or chicken. While the book, Fast Food Nation, is more of an expose on the fast food industry and all the working cogs that go into getting us that burger and fries, the movie is more of a drama that weaves together the humanistic side of all the cogs that produce our meals. It some aspects, it frames the way we perceive the food we eat and in other ways, skirts the real issue of the fast food industry. The story none the less is important and timely given our love of fast food.
Mickey’s is the most popular fast-food chain in America, and The Big One is the top-selling burger that put them on the map. When the higher-ups at Mickey’s corporate offices learn that the frozen meat patties used to make the wildly popular burger have somehow been tainted with contaminated meat, they send marketing executive Don Henderson (Kinnear) on an urgent mission to ensure quality control and find out precisely how their product became compromised. It’s a long way from the Southern California boardroom to the immigrant slaughterhouses, though, and the further Henderson works his way through the bustling feedlots and toward the ubiquitous restaurant sites that have become a staple of modern culture, the more he begins to realize just how dangerous convenience can become when it leads to blissfully ignorant complacency. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
I am somewhat torn on the movie. While I would have loved for a documentary style take on the book, getting an indepth look at the food industry and see what has been written about, there is something engaging about the drama aspect that Linklater went with. Sure the hard hitting social commentary about the fast food industry is given a back seat in the movie, but the human aspect is intriguing. We are seeing a fictional face placed on those that serve us the food, market the food, and produce the food. So instead of in your face images of marketing tactics and probably unsettling images of burgers being made, we view a humanizing side to the fast food industry.
I am not sure if you are going to see a lot of shocking things. I hope people aren’t as naive to believe that your food tastes a certain way because of additives, that there are some things we don’t want to know that makes its way into the food, and how the workers are treated. Illegals are pretty much a standard fixture in the American workforce, but I guess the extent to their working conditions can be enlightening. It can also be frightening to see what they go through in order to produce the food we enjoy and eat on regular basis.
In some respects, I feel that movie is effective in telling a lot of the aspects and ethics that surround the fast food industry. While not a documentary where it can shed information and progressively push an agenda, the movie aims to bring us a personal side to the subject matter. Overall the movies tone is a down one, where all the characters eventually sigh and go along as a cog in the machine. Some are upset at what they discover and others just continue working. They go along because they have nothing else. The illegal workers have to do the work cause they don’t have a choice. The young teens form opinions about the food industry and make a conscious decision to accept it or not. The industry exec comes to terms with his line of work, not knowing if he accepts what he ultimately peddles. It makes you think a little, but the book is by far better than the movie. Still the movie is a good character study and give us a face to the people that make up the industry.