Fast Food Nation

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  • Not a great documentary as I hope for
    I should of just read the book instead. Judging from some reviews, the book seems to be a lot better than the movie. The movie just seems fake to me because I wasn't presented with new surprising facts about the how fast food restaurant operates. I thought I would be getting some movie similar to Sicko and Supersize Me. The movie makes me feel like they are trying to connect two movie into one but fail to do that. If you are looking for a good documentary on the corruptions and evil doing of fast food restaurant, I think you will be disappointed. ...more info
  • Very, very effective!!
    Fast Food Nation didn't make me a vegetarian. I guess I'm like most people: when it comes down to the dirty details, I'd rather not know. Like war, no one wants to see a bunch of dead and maimed soldiers. To have an idea of something is one thing: to actually know, see, and understand that thing is quite another. We hear about illegal workers coming into this country, and we hear about subhuman slaughterhouse conditions--all of these things we hear about in abstract. But seeing these issues in a specific context enables us to understand these issues.

    Fast Food Nation is a fabric of interwoven threads. The film opens in a dark alley in a U.S. border town in Mexico. Smugglers collect fees from a small group of poor Mexicans. The scene shifts from Mexico to the corporate offices of Mickey's Burgers in Anaheim California. The CEO of Mickey's Burgers has a problem: a culture test found high levels of fecal matter in their frozen patties. The CEO sends an executive--played by Greg Kinnear--to trace the source of the infection. The film shifts back to Mexico. Smugglers process a bunch of poor Mexicans through a labyrinth of sleazy motels and packed vans. Eventually, the Mexicans cross the border into the U.S. and wind up in a grimy drop house. Here, the supervisor of a meat processing plant--a tall sticky-looking white male--looks over the human livestock. He waves a casual finger around the walls and the floor selecting the strongest males and the most attractive females.

    A couple of new hires are led through the meat processing plant. The floors and walls are spotless and glowing. The employees' uniforms are snow-white. The new hires receive their white shiny hard-hats, their white shiny aprons, and take their places at the receiving end of the production line--the last stage of the meat processing line; the kill-floor is the first stage of the meat processing line. Another plot-thread involves a teenage girl named Amber who works at one of the Mickey Burger chains. She's bright and intelligent. She has a lot of potential, but she's afraid to leave Mickey Burgers because it is her first job. Back at the meat processing plant, there's drama at the slicing section of the production line: jealousy. A couple of female line-workers strive for the affection and favoritism of the line-manager. The females use their bodies to negotiate favors from the line-manager. In another plot-thread, a group of young Eco-activists sublimate their frustrations against animal abuse by freeing cows from the ranch that supplies the meat processing plant. But when the gates to those filthy pens fly open, the cows--with dung and urine clinging to their legs--refuse to leave. The activists kick and yell at the cows, but the content animals remain in the filthy pen where they'll eventually be slaughtered and transformed into Mickey Burgers.

    Greg Kinnear, Bruce Willis, Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Luis Guzman, etc., all performed well in this underrated film from 2006.

    Richard Linklater and Eric Schlosser, who authored the bestselling expose of the same title, co-wrote Fast Food Nation. Linklater is one of my favorite directors; his films are both brainy and entertaining. The disparate elements of Fast Food Nation--illegal immigration, animal abuse, sexual abuse, corporate greed and irresponsibility, etc.--converge into a grisly and powerful metaphor on the consequences of fear and complacency. In many ways, humans and cows have much in common. This is a great film with an important message. I highly recommend it.

    author of Gotta Be Down!
    ...more info
  • I bit horrifying...but my review
    Ok, so I bought this movie b/c I don't eat burgers, fries, ect....any fast food would be Subway...b/c I can WATCH them make the food...and now I have more of reason than ever...when that kid SPIT in the food, I freaked...I mean I know this stuff happens, but still!!

    My problems w/ this movie are that some parts are very boring. Too much talking, and not enough action...I did NOT care for the sexual parts, there was no need to put pure sex w/ nudity in this served NO purpose to the meaning of this film.

    It does make me think twice though...I had no idea how awful the slaughter houses were, and what the cows go through...that was disturbing, and I was bothered....

    I felt strange for the rest of the night, and wish I would have never watched the's a movie I would sell or give away in a heart beat. I plan to NEVER watch it again.

    If you have $12 you want to spend on a DVD...find something else to spend it on.......more info
  • Informative If A Little Slow Moving
    Fast Food Nation I would rate as a good not great movie. It exposes the meat packing and food services industry as not all that sanitary and certainly not compassionate. The groups of teenagers, illegal immigrants, and phony and even unsavory corporate suits show the viewer that the all mighty dollar is king and many workers are just pawns in their universe.

    There are some slow draggy moments in the film especially the border runs to pick up the illegal aliens. Nonetheless, I believe this film has started a trend of people becomming more health conscious and turnng more to vegatarianism....more info
  • A disconnected effort brings down the message
    Linklater produces a movie that leaves you wondering how three basic story lines were even put together in the first place. The message of the fast food companies putting their profits as their highest priority gets muddy in the story lines leaving you feeling disconnected from this powerful message. A disenchanted businessman, illegal labor, and teenage angst fail to bring the powerful message home to the viewer.

    All story lines were good in their own right, and honestly could have been made into three seperate story lines, or their should have been mingling of the plot lines to make the movie stick together. Fantasic performances from a variety of famous names fail to make the movie gel, the matieral for this movie is simply lacking.

    I would read the book only if you wanted to learn about the darker side of fast food. Many points in the movie are worth educating yourself, and helping you to make better decisions. A weak story line simply fails to do this important topic any justice. If this movie is on tv, and you can't find your remote it may be worth watching, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch this film....more info
  • Disturbing and Eye-Opening Film
    This movie scared the beef out of me. While the entire movie was extremely disturbing -- and eye-opening -- the ending had me unable to sleep, and reved my brain up way to waaaay past scary.

    I strongly recommend this movie to anyone that has ever eaten at a fast food restaurant -- I have enjoyed many of them over the years -- and see if you don't look at that greasy hamburger patty with a new and enlightened viewpoint. Is this movie fiction? I don't think so. The teens working behind the scenes, the illegals struggling to make a their place in "our" Promised Land, the family "just like mine" struggling with awareness and dysfunction, the massive holding pens that contain tomorrow's Big Burger ... the disgusting and inhumane way in which the animals are slaughtered ...

    I urge you to watch this movie, and see if you feel the same way about that 99 cent "bargain burger"....more info
  • An Eye-Opener
    I would include this movie along with "An Inconvenient Truth" and "Who Killed The Electric Car" as one of those movies that every American should see.

    I read a review elsewhere that objected to the fact that the story seemed disjointed. Most of the major characters never interacted with each other in any way. But, in all the time I worked at fast food places, I never met the ranchers, meatpackers or ad execs, either. So, that objection was irrelevant. However, the movie does seem to want to show all levels of the rotten facts of the fast food industry in a short amount of time and some viewers might feel a bit overloaded with all this information.

    The truth hurts. But, the truth is that illegal immigrants are hired to work in the meat-packing plants in hazardous conditions where they could suffer dismemberment or death, as well as having to endure life under supervisors who can exploit them on a whim, knowing that these people are illegally in the USA and have no legal recourse available to them. Another truth is that, save for the management, many restaurant employees view their jobs as something to be endured until something better comes along. If you've ever wondered why your local fast foood places have such a high turnover, its probably because those smiling faces behind the counter hated their jobs and were glad to leave. All the pep talks their bosses give them go in one ear and out the other. Low ages, minimal benefits and union-busting corporations beat any sense of loyalty out of these people that may have had to their employers. Then, you have the ad executives who have to find that gimmick, that special slogan to bring in the customers so that they will buy a product that even the ad execs might not believe in themselves.

    The next time you go in for that quick burger, understand that it was brought to you by exploitation, lies and lack of concern for your health. If you respond to this movie by avoiding the local fast food place, the companies aren't worried. There are tens of millions of other Americans who will be taking your place in line for a taste of The Big One....more info
  • Self-righteous garbage
    I hate to give this sanctimonious diatribe about the evils of capitalism one star, because it doesn't deserve any. Seriously, this is quite possibly the worst waste of time ever, I can see myself on my deathbed lamenting the time I wasted watching this worthless claptrap.

    Schlosser's book was both informative and enlightening, but the movie, chocked full as it was with stereotypes and misguided, opinionated drivel, was neither. From the hapless, forlorn illegal immigrants and their abusive coyotes and supervisors to the stupid, idealistic kids to the greedy, uncaring company executives, the cast of characters seem to have been taken straight out of a stereotype catalog. And the constant refrain throughout the movie had very little to do with the fast food industry, except to repeatedly point out that "there is s#!t in the meat". More, it was a general stab at the capitalist system and the evils of for profit ventures. I wonder if Schlosser felt guilty about taking the money he was paid for having his book and his reputation slaughtered like the cattle in the closing scene. Which, BTW, was the only part of the whole movie that was not completely disingenuous, as the meat industry is pretty disgusting when you think about it. Not that I am a vegan or anything, mind you.

    I can only assume, that if capitalism and profit are so horrible, that the producers of this, to use the term loosly, FILM, donated their take to worthy animal and human rights organizations. Otherwise they are not only lousy filmmakers, but hypocrites to boot. Maybe they would be happier in Cuba or North Korea or someplace like that.

    On the bright side, no one can ever accuse Plan 9 from Outer Space or Robot Monster of being the worst movie ever. The bar has just been set to a new low....more info
  • A must-see!
    Those who see Fast Food Nation as simply a movie about hamburger or even the fast food industry miss the point. Fast Food nation uses the fast food industry as a metaphor for the degradation of EVERYTHING from the land to the lives of ranchers to the the people who work within the death machine which is modern corporate culture. It is broad in its scope, but it must be. The banding together of young people to fight the ills they saw through direct action gives hope for the future. ...more info
  • A brilliant mutli-layered exploration of human beings linked by the fast food business
    "Fast Food Nation" is a superb reworking of Eric Schlosser's 2001 book by Schlosser and director Richard Linklater.

    Set mostly in and around the fictional town of Cody on the Mexican-American border, "Fast Food Nation" follows three story threads all linked by the fast food business.

    Mickey's burger chain has a problem - fecal matter in its burger patties -so it sends out its new marketing manager Don Henderson (Greg Kinnear) to find out what is going on at the meat packing plant that supplies all their patties.

    Uni-Globe Meat Packers employes many illegal Mexican immigrants. The immigrants are exploited and brutalised by a the company - treated little better than the animals processed at the plant. An evil supervisor at the factory Mike (Bobby Cannavale) drives around in a red pickup, treats the Mexicans with contempt, and coerces women staff members into sex - he is like the devil himself and the factory can be seen as a kind of hell for the animals and workers.

    Amber (Ashley Johnson) works on the counter at the Mickey's restaurant in Cody oblivious to the evils of the nearby meat-packing plant. Through some college friends and her uncle she is slowly awakened to the plight of the workers and animals, and prompted to take action.

    "Fast Food Nation" features a number of brilliant cameos by Kris Kristofferson (rancher), Bruce Willis (tough company negotiator) and Ethan Hawke (Amber's uncle) but the entire cast is excellent. It also features a great score from "The Friends of Dean Martinez".

    "Fast Food Nation" succeeds because - save for the evil supervisor Mike - it doesn't paint the good and bad guys in black and white. A brilliant, multi-layered film from creators Linklater and Schlosser. ...more info
  • Terrible
    This was by far one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Don't waste your time or money! I truly enjoyed the book, but the movie really had nothing to do with the book. The topic of "poopy" burgers was hardly addressed as the whole movie revolved around illegal immigrants. It was full of propaganda and rather un-American....more info
  • urrrppp!
    Warning: watching the last three minutes of this film can lead to vegetarianism. Based upon Eric Schlosser's devastating book about the fast food industry by the same title (2001), this fictional film never quite finds its focus. The ostensibly main character disappears half way through, never to reappear. It's not clear which of the many sub-plots is the main narrative. But I still recommend the movie. When corporate hack Don discovers that there are more than chemical additives to Mickeys "Big One" burger, namely fecal matter, he travels to the Uniglobe Meat Packing Company to find out what's wrong. Lots, it turns out. You'll find yourself back in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (1906), what with illegal immigrant labor on the cheap, animal cruelty, horrible sanitation, hazardous work conditions, employee abuse, pitiless corporate greed, and more, all to feed our fast food habits. You'll never think about a Big Mac in the same way, nor should you, thanks to this mediocre movie that nevertheless provides some serious social commentary....more info
  • Nice re-hash of a problem that has been around for years
    This movie was decent in the message it was trying to get across, but the movie itself just lacked a complete ending, or a strong storyline to keep my interest going. Plus, if you have read Upton Sinclair's novel "The Jungle" you would know that meat packing has been since he wrote about it in 1906. The problems of the meat packers and unions, and strugling immigrants. It's sort of a shame that hollywood had to slick the storyline up and push it back out into the forefront because almost everyone has forgotten about Sinclair, but I'm glad there is discussion going again. Save your money on the movie, read "The Jungle", then possibly the book of Fast Food Nation....more info
  • Whoever made this movie could not have read the book
    It's a fast food nation, and people work in dead end jobs. It didn't require this movie to make people aware of this. Also in an obvious attempt to avoid litigation, "Mickey's" operates alongside a McDonalds, and other fast food chains are mentioned.

    Other reviewers have mentioned The Jungle, and that is what I expected too. However, what we see are illegal immigrants - the ones who do all the jobs Americans won't do - getting paid higher wages, with better working conditions than most (non union) factory workers in the midwest!

    Also, unbelievably, they give the impression that the burgers contain over 50% meat. And there's nothing about high fructose corn syrup, or palm oil, that have replaced previously natural ingredients. Probably if they had shown what really goes into junk food, the movie would never have been made. But what was the point in making a movie that makes fast food look just like any other industry, such as retail?

    Disappointing. Watch Super Size Me instead, where there is an interview with Eric Schlosser. Or read the book!...more info
  • This is two hours of your life you will never get back!
    Having read Mr. Schlosser's excellent book, I was very disappointed in this movie. I think it would have made a much better movie if they had stuck to a documentary format similar to Super Size Me. Full disclosure: I'm a vegetarian anyway, so the poopy meat discussions really didn't disturb me or change my mind, nor did they change the mind of my meat-eating S.O. Read the book. It may take you longer than two hours but you'll learn a lot more. ...more info
  • Weak Film with a Good Message
    "Fast Food Nation" is based on the best-selling non-fiction expose by Eric Schlosser and is directed by Richard Linklater, marking his 2nd literary adaptation of 2006. The other film was the terrific and innovative "A Scanner Darkly." "Fast Food Nation" isn't terrific and far from innovative, although it might make you think twice about eating a burger at a fast food joint again. This movie would've worked much better with one or two coherent story lines, but instead is jumbled up with several story-lines and not enough time is spent on the interesting ones. The target of the film is a fictional fast food place called Mickey's, a place clearly based on McDonald's. Linklater tries to say otherwise by mentioning McDonald's in a few scenes, but it's clear enough. Greg Kinnear plays Don Anderson, an executive at the Mickey's corporation who learns some disturbing news...At their meat-packing plant (the one that distributes food to every Mickey's in the United States), manure has somehow found its way into the meat. The other story line focuses on Raul (Wilmer Valderrama) and Sylvia (Oscar nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno), illegal aliens who have crossed the border and have gotten a job at the meatpacking plant. Finally, another story-line focuses on Amber (Ashley Johnson, you may remember her from 'Growing Pains') an employee at a Mickey's establishment who becomes part of a group of college kids hell-bent on freeing the cows that are being slaughtered for our enjoyment. Throughout these story-lines we meet a whole array of other characters like Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, Avril Lavigne, Ethan Hawke, Luis Guzman, Paul Dano (who also worked with Kinnear in 'Little Miss Sunshine'), Lou Taylor Pucci ('Thumbsucker'), and Bruce Willis. The cover of the film proclaims "Devastating. Ferocious. An Unusually funny and moving film." Wrong, wrong, and wrong. The movie has a clear message, a good one even. Problem is, the film is not funny, it's not moving, and the story lines are not held together very well. The most compelling of the story lines are the ones with Kinnear and Johnson. There's enough dramatic material to hold the story-line involving Moreno, but it's boring and amounts to almost nothing. Kinnear disappears too soon and Johnson's character grows less interesting as the story moves along. In fact, the actor's who really steal the show are Willis and Hawke who aren't even in the film 10 minutes. If you go back to any movie involving many characters be it "Crash" or "Short Cuts" than you'll notice that every single character is given enough screen time and that every aspect is interesting. That's just not the case with "Fast Food Nation." It's almost like a hamburger you'd get at a fast food joint. It's good at first, but once it sits for a while it grows stale and you really don't want it anymore.

    GRADE: C-...more info
  • A good message with a meh story written around it
    If Super Size Me, the McDonalds-centered documentary about a diet supplied by Mickey D's, was what got you off Big Macs, Fast Food Nation has the potential to cut yourself off from every fast food place out there. This film is basically likened to a big tell-all about not only what happens to the food they're so eager to sell but the workers they treat. But ultimately, regardless of the kind of film you make, it has to be a good film first and this feels like it was a message but just turning it into a film rather than the 2 co-existing.

    In a multiple storyline film that isn't as ambitious and overly-complicated as Magnolia or Crash is, the film follows 3 distinct storylines: Don, a marketing executive for "Mickey's" is ecstatic over the huge hit that is the Big One burger. But a weird thing has been found; namely that of cow manure somehow ending up in the meat. He heads down to Colorado to investigate. Meanwhile, Amber is an employee at the local Mickey's and is dealing with the fact she knows there's more to life than asking customers about them trying new specials and feeling wrong about selling such food. Also, a married couple and the wife's sister are Mexican immigrants who end up having to work lousy jobs such as the meat processing plant for Mickey's hamburger and what they have to put up with to make a living.

    A curious thing happened over the course of the film: I barely even knew some of the character's names until they were mentioned way later on. In fact, Catalina Sandino Moreno's character's name Sylvia isn't even mentioned for a good while, ditto for her husband, That 70's Show Wilder Valderrama (shockingly restrained although his English phrases have "Fez" accent written all over it). We also have cameos ranging from Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, Patricia Arquette, Bruce Willis and hell, even Avril Lavigne is in this. It's amazing she doesn't once say a phrase like "fast food like, totally sucks and stuff". The one that comes across the best for me is Moreno who I loved in Maria Full of Grace and in one scene she witnesses exactly what the killing floor and you can tell she looks so traumatized you just want to rush in there and pluck her out and maybe even punch the hell out of her Nazi-esque supervisor Mike. The problem with all of these characters is what I call "plot puppets": characters who's sole existence is to spout off whatever message/rant the writer came up with. They're not fully realized relatable characters but rather characters that just say stuff with more meaning than the person saying it.

    As for the message of the film, you know it before you even press the "Play" option, which is fast food is bad in that kind of South Park Mr. Mackey way. "Fast food is bad, mmkay so don't eat fast food cause fast food's bad, mmkay?" is the feeling here. At one point, a character spits into a burger and you can tell there's no hidden subtext here: don't go to McDonalds. The aforementioned sequence Sylvia sees as well as us in big gory detail seems to be the piece du resistance as we see many a cow being slaughtered, pulled apart and anything else you can think of. It's strange to see director Richard Linklaer, known for more stoner-ish films such as Dazed and Confused and the mediocre A Scanner Darkly doing this but aside from a talented cast, there's not much here.

    If you want a one-two punch on how best to lose weight, rent this along with Super Size Me. Just don't expect a great film out of it....more info
  • Very bad, this really sucked.
    I read the book many years ago, loved the book and would recomend that everyone read it, for sure if you still eat fast food. This movie sucked, it was bad all the way through. No story here, just junk. Don't waste your time on this garbage....more info
  • "Read The Book Instead" comments are 100% correct.
    This movie was all over the map... with the attempted style of a desperate rambling Magnolia plot with an obvious (and valid) political agenda but with nothing really meaningful to tie everything and everybody together. It had a dozen or two political points to make but no cimematic point to speak of. Read the book... get all the same information... and skip the movie. It felt like it was way too long. The little promo cartoon in the DVD extra's called "Backwards Cow" or "Backwards Burger" was absolutely just as effective as the entire movie and pulled it off in less then five minutes. I thought the cast and acting performances were plenty solid... just wasted in this mess of a movie. ...more info
  • Always preview movies!
    I have read the book and referred to it several times since it came out. I thought it would be an excellant movie to show my foods students. Watching the movie I didn't remember the f--- word being used at all and certainly no sex. I even went back to the book to double check! It was truly amazing that anyone would take a serious book and make it so totally inappropriate for viewing in a classroom. Guess that is what sells?...more info
  • Not as good as the book, but still told the story
    First and foremost, 'Fast Food Nation' by Eric Schlosser is a great book. If you're looking for a documentary version of the book, the movie's not for you.

    That said, I'm glad that Schlosser and Richard Linklater took a fictional approach to this story. A documentary on fast food would inevitably be compared to 'Supersize Me' and wouldn't measure up. Instead, Linklater focuses on some of the major themes in Schlosser's book and paints a dark picture on the story behind America's favorite burger.

    The film's not flawless and at times seems disjointed. It seems there are some loose ends and plot lines that were not fully developed. Gaps in the storyline were more than compensated by rich dialogue and the themes explored in the film. 'Fast Food Nation' will make you think twice about hitting the drive-thru at lunch tomorrow....more info
  • Disturbing...just like the reality behind the fiction
    There seem to be two threads that reviewers have followed here - the first, that the movie is disturbing and violent; and the second, that the fiction wasn't as good as the book.


    It's SUPPOSED to be disturbing. Schlosser probably allowed the sex and gore to be in the fictionalized story, even though it wasn't in his book so much, because the film can show what really happens to people in ways a book just can't. You can read about the killing floor, and get grossed out, but seeing it is just something entirely different. And people need to see that - to realize what we're putting into our bodies, and what we're doing to our society.

    As for the fictionalized story not being as good as the factual book, I agree, but I do think it was done for entertainment's sake, to get characters you can care about rather than a lecturer (I'm not saying it necessarily succeeded - just that I suspect that was the aim).

    The book was sickening 6 years ago when I read it, and the movie is just as much so. If enough people see this, maybe it would be wise to buy some stock in Whole Foods???

    Last note - Great acting by Kinnear - really loved his character.

    ...more info
  • Entertaining and Enlightening
    This movie was very well done and accessible. The fiction format appeals to a broader movie-watching audience than a documentary would, yet it's the way things really ARE. Whether you're a Democrat or Republican, a minimum-wage earner or a business owner, a citizen or an immigrant, the fact is that we all eat, we all want clean food and decent, safe jobs, and we all have hopes and dreams for our future and a better life.
    The last scene was especially symbolic, and wrapped up the film beautifully, when the immigrant Mexican children were told, "Welcome to the United States," and handed Mickey's kids' meals. It portends a future of laboring in service to the corporate food machine, and it sadly represents what America has become: McDepotMart from sea to polluted sea.
    The scene of the slaughterhouse killing floor made me cry and gag. Yet, for those who say it's too disturbing, my answer is that you should be disturbed, because it's reality and you're eating it and buying into it. Vegetarianism is no longer a cultural oddity or a liberal movement. It's a way of eating with mindfulness and attention to the truth, and with a respect for your body, animal life, the environment, and hard-working people. If this movie didn't affect you and at least make you swear off fast food, you're sadly in denial.
    ...more info
  • "There is only one quality worse than hardness of heart and that is softness of head."---Theodore Roosevelt
    Not since Upton's Sinclair's THE JUNGLE has a book/film adaptation addressed the sordid state of America's meat packing industry. The Jungle, a 100 year old expose of the hideously managed, physically dangerous, immigrant and illegal alien-labor-exploitative, cruel and gory disease-ridden conditions in America's slaughterhouses shocked President Theodore Roosevelt into forcing passage of the first Pure Food and Drug Act (1906) in the United States. THE JUNGLE told the story of poor Lithuanian immigrants who worked and died under hellish conditions.

    Exactly a century later, FAST FOOD NATION tells the exact same story. The immigrants are no longer poverty-stricken East Europeans in Chicago; they've become poverty-stricken Mexicans smuggled across the border to Colorado. The meat industry is no longer dark and dank, it is well-lit and highly automated. But men in the killing rooms are still slipping on blood and entrails and falling into grinding machines to become part of your Sunday barbecue; the women who cut the meat into steaks are still being sexually exploited through the fear of authority; rats still manage to make their way into the working areas; sick and ungraded animals are still being "processed" with an eye toward maximizing profits. In a word, nothing has changed.

    Or rather it has, and changed again. FAST FOOD NATION has a point of view that is decidedly anti-corporate (and pokes it's finger in the eye of at least one very well-known fast food company), but despite it's built-in bias, there is no denying that every incident in this film is based on verifiable facts. The deregulation of most businesses in the last quarter century has largely put this country back to the dawning of the Progressive Era, and has allowed abuses to go on barely checked.

    The story of a "Mickey's Burgers" executive (Greg Kinnear) who travels out to the distributor's plant with an eye to discovering why high levels of fecal matter are making it into the chain's increasingly popular products, FAST FOOD NATION tells us what he sees, and more important, what he doesn't see.

    Either way, you may find your stomach slowly revolving. I know I'm going to give the fish eye to the next combo meal I eat . . . and it may be a while before that happens.

    Disturbing and thought-provoking, FAST FOOD NATION should be required viewing if only to bring an issue that affects all of us to the table---or make us realize it's already there.
    ...more info
  • Shocking/Violent/Sexual Scenes
    This movie is not for children. It portrays the meat packing industry in graphic detail. A man gets his leg amputated by a machine. Movie has a great deal of blood and gore. Movie also potrays people comming from mexico via coyote in search for a better life.
    It is a well done movie just be forwarned that it is full of gore and very disturbing....more info
  • I bit horrifying...but my review
    Ok, so I bought this movie b/c I don't eat burgers, fries, ect....any fast food would be Subway...b/c I can WATCH them make the food...and now I have more of reason than ever...when that kid SPIT in the food, I freaked...I mean I know this stuff happens, but still!!

    My problems w/ this movie are that some parts are very boring. Too much talking, and not enough action...I did NOT care for the sexual parts, there was no need to put pure sex w/ nudity in this served NO purpose to the meaning of this film.

    It does make me think twice though...I had no idea how awful the slaughter houses were, and what the cows go through...that was disturbing, and I was bothered....

    I felt strange for the rest of the night, and wish I would have never watched the's a movie I would sell or give away in a heart beat. I plan to NEVER watch it again.

    If you have $12 you want to spend on a DVD...find something else to spend it on.......more info
  • Informative If A Little Slow Moving
    Fast Food Nation I would rate as a good not great movie. It exposes the meat packing and food services industry as not all that sanitary and certainly not compassionate. The groups of teenagers, illegal immigrants, and phony and even unsavory corporate suits show the viewer that the all mighty dollar is king and many workers are just pawns in their universe.

    There are some slow draggy moments in the film especially the border runs to pick up the illegal aliens. Nonetheless, I believe this film has started a trend of people becomming more health conscious and turnng more to vegatarianism....more info
  • A disconnected effort brings down the message
    Linklater produces a movie that leaves you wondering how three basic story lines were even put together in the first place. The message of the fast food companies putting their profits as their highest priority gets muddy in the story lines leaving you feeling disconnected from this powerful message. A disenchanted businessman, illegal labor, and teenage angst fail to bring the powerful message home to the viewer.

    All story lines were good in their own right, and honestly could have been made into three seperate story lines, or their should have been mingling of the plot lines to make the movie stick together. Fantasic performances from a variety of famous names fail to make the movie gel, the matieral for this movie is simply lacking.

    I would read the book only if you wanted to learn about the darker side of fast food. Many points in the movie are worth educating yourself, and helping you to make better decisions. A weak story line simply fails to do this important topic any justice. If this movie is on tv, and you can't find your remote it may be worth watching, but I wouldn't go out of my way to watch this film....more info
  • What Were They Thinking?
    As many others have already commented, this is nothing like the book even though they share the same title. The writers even stated in the commentary that the they decided to "set the book aside". Having said that I will restrict my comments to the merits of the movie alone.

    This disjointed, rambling, unfocused movie tries to intertwine several stories into one:

    * A successful marketing executive (Greg Kinnear) for a large fast food chain (the not too cleverly named "Mickey's") is sent by his boss on a mission to find out why there is feces in their meat
    * A young woman who quits her promising (?) job at Mickey's and joins with some other activists only to find out that cows are big, stupid animals that are not at all interested in being "set free"
    * Several immigrants from Mexico who are spirited into the country by a "coyote" (portrayed by the always great Luis Guzman) and find various jobs in the food industry
    * A crotchety cattle rancher (Kris Krisofferson) who paints meat packers as the evil empire
    * Two teenage Mickey's employees who plan to rob a fast food restaurant but never do

    Although the various story lines do intersect slightly, none of them (save the plot with the Mickey's executive) really seem to have a point, and even that one ends with a fizzle.

    Even though this film boasts an all-star cast the acting seems wooden and the characters are burdened with dull and meaningless dialog. The only bright spot (besides Guzman) was Bruce Willis' portrayal of a meat buyer for Mickey's where he steals the scene with his "we all have to eat a little sh*t from time to time" speech. Also, the effort to tie illegal immigration to the problems with American's addiction to fast food just doesn't gel for me.

    This movie was so dull that made me long for even a mediocre documentary. It tries to take the high moral ground but fails in every attempt. There is a story out there in how America feeds itself, but this film fails to bring anything worthwhile to the discussion other than the fact that slaughter houses are nasty (did we really need to be told that?). Even the special features (animated shorts such as the Meatrix and The Backwards Hamburger) are feeble attempts to "educate" us in the evils of the industrial farming industry. In the end they only trivialize some important issues, issues that need intelligent discourse, not talking cows.

    I bought a copy of the DVD based on the strength of the book. I threw it away in order to clear the space on my shelf for a more worthy title. There are plenty of good movies out there and this is certainly not one of them.

    ...more info
    Dont watch this is you have a weak stomach. Sick overkill with no real ending. Should have just made a docu. I don't know why at the end the wife went back to the meat plant she despised? I thought illegal immigrants all got free healthcare or at least their anchor babies do?...more info
  • fine expos¨¦---even if the company in the film is fictional
    Fast Food Nation is an excellent film about the very real and highly disturbing flaws that exist in a meat packing plant that provides the beef for Mickey's, a fictional fast food chain that doesn't exactly have its act together. Not only do we see how American lives are affected by this mess, we also see how desperate and sometimes frustrated, angry young people and illegal immigrants are drawn into this situation. The movie moves along at a good pace and the acting is terrific. The casting is excellent and this is one movie I must highly recommend even with a few hard to swallow (pardon the pun) scenes at the end of the "kill floor" at the meat processing plant.

    When the action begins, we meet Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear) who is a high level executive at a fast food chain company. One day Don's boss informs him that some students at a university have found that there is waste matter in the meat. Don's boss orders him to the Colorado packing plant to investigate and try to find a way out of this mess.

    We also meet desperate, frightened, yet sometimes angry Mexican immigrants who were so desperate for money that they illegally crossed the border from Mexico into the US. Two or three of them wind up working at the meat packing plant in Cody, Colorado. There is Raul (Wilmer Valderrama) and Sylvia (Catalina Sandino Moreno) and we also meet Coco (Ana Claudia Talanc¨®n). There are even young kids involved in the overall plot. There is Ashley Johnson who plays Amber, a cashier at Mickey's whose conscience bothers her about working there; and there is Paul Dano who turns in a stunning performance as Brian, a kid who spits in the food routinely and dreams up schemes to steal money from the fast food restaurant.

    Of course, from here the plot can go almost anywhere. What happens when one of the Mexican men is injured--badly injured at the meat processing plant? How do Silvia and Coco get along when they get into the United States? What about Don Anderson--will he be able to find a graceful way out of this mess and make everything all right after all for Mickey's, the fast food chain? Watch the movie and find out!

    We also get great smaller performances from highly talented actors including Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Willis. They make the movie all the more interesting and their acting is excellent, too.

    The DVD comes with a documentary entitled "The Manufacturing of Fast Food Nation;" and there are four animated shorts as well. There is a commentary by director and co-author Richard Linklater and co-author Eric Schlosser as well.

    Overall, I would recommend this film for grown ups--and those of them with strong stomachs at that. There is the issue of drug use in this film; and the scenes from the "kill floor" are not exactly going to help you sleep well tonight. However, if you can handle it, Fast Food Nation is a brilliant film that even allows its viewers to draw their own conclusions and opinions about these complicated topics.
    ...more info
  • A Bit Preachy
    The fast food industry is an easy target, and this drama pulls no punches in stereotyping it as greedy and heartless. This is a drama, not a documentary, though. The pace is enough to keep the viewer watching, despite the knee-jerk underlying messages that fast food is a horror. The slaughter scenes are graphic. Worth watching as entertainment....more info
  • Love the book, hate this film!
    I thought "Fast Food Nation" would be a fascinating documentary about, among other things, the lies cooked up in corporate test kitchens. My favorite image from Eric Schlosser's engaging expose is that of the scientist fooling him with the scent of a juicy freshly grilled burger when there's no burger or grill in the room--I was expecting killer stuff like this.

    Nothing of the kind. There's a truckload of characters in this psuedo-doc, some sympathetically but superficially portrayed (hideously exploited undocumented workers), some thoroughly idiotic (ultra-silly teens who decide to liberate cows in an excruciatingly long section that should have been left on the cutting-room floor), and the corporate chain of command, which should be the focus but for some unknown reason isn't. They're all thrown together as a mural, and it doesn't cohere--it's just another "Nashville" wannabe, and a waste of some good talent (effective use of Bruno for a few minutes, however).

    When I left the theatre, I ran straight to the nearest burger joint! ...more info
  • Veggie burgers for me from now on
    I didn't know what to expect before watching the movie; hadn't read the book. But shortly into this film, I was captivated and at times, grossed out. But I had to watch. The movie is thought provoking and unfortunately, you know there is a lot of truth in it. I can honestly say that not only have I sworn off fast food (wasn't a big attraction for me in the first place, just an occasional thing) but I don't see myself eating meat for a long time, if ever. I am sure that what is depicted in this film goes on in the meat industry all over, not just in the fast food places. Disgusting, but you can't turn away, like watching a train wreck. ...more info
  • An Eye Opener!
    An AMAZING movie! VERY good acting, well done celebrity cameos, and a perfect length.

    It showed how despite all of the evidence that our country is now being virtually RUN by corporation, we Americans don't do anything about it.

    How the problem is getting so large that we, many of us just don't know what to do about it anymore......more info
  • check your burger before you eat it!
    *Fast Food Nation* joins *11:14*, *Crash*, and *Babel* as the latest trend where A is connected B, who is connected to C, who is somehow connected to A.

    This movie centers around a fast-food chain restaurant, Mickey's. I'll give you three guesses on just what Mickey's is really supposed to be. Anyways, there are reports that feces have found its way into the burgers and inevitably landed into consumers' mouths. As a result, there are reports of illnesses.

    Thus, enters Don Anderson (Kinnear), who is Mickey's marketing director and inventor of the "Big One" (think of Hardee's Monster Burger). Don is sent, from the headquarters, to Colorado to investigate a meat plant, the current largest supplier for Mickey's.

    Meanwhile, we see how a particular group of Mexican illegal immigrants wind up working for the meat plant in Colorado. Money is good, despite the horrendous operations in the plant. To cope, drugs are readily available, which sometimes comes with a price that cannot be paid in greenbacks.

    At the same time, Don encounters people who trashes Mickey's as well as those who protect Mickey's. Therefore, Don isn't really sure where he stands. The head honchos in Colorado are like 'so what, what's a little feces as long as the burgers are grilled, which bacteria and feces are eliminated.'

    The very end of the movie is haunting, which reminds me so much of *Our Daily Bread*. All I can say is that you probably won't want to eat meat for a few days until you can forget the ending.

    I thought the movie was good and thought-provoking. It did drag on in some parts. Be prepared to have philosophical debates with your friends about America as a factory/plant whose goal is to maximize efficiency regardless of the cost....more info
  • It's NOT the book...
    I actually thought I was getting a documentary version of the book or maybe a mocumentary or docudrama. As a stand-alone movie, it does an interesting job of weaving together the various aspects of the fast food meat supply chain from the executives in the made-up hamburger chain to the worker in the chain to the illegal immigrants working in the meat packing factory. But it's hard to understand some aspects of their lives until you read the non-fiction book. On the negative side, the acting is relatively uninspired, the plot is somewhat choppy with lose ends, and it doesn't really make me want to eat a hamburger LESS. I assume that was part of the intended effect. The book, on the other hand, made me vow to never eat at a fast food restaurant again or to buy much processed foods -- my health will thank me later. From the book I finally learned what "natural flavor" means...and it's not what I thought at all! The movie doesn't delve enough into the world of corporatization -- which is really what the book looks at the most. So if you enjoyed the book or want to truly learn about the history of Fastfood, centralizing food processing, the devaluation of low level labor, and the concentration of power and wealth in the hands of the few, the book is a far better way to learn...the references too give you a chance to check out how one sided the book might be......more info
  • Great Adaptation
    I read the book last year and was amazed to see how the book was adapted into this engaging, thought provoking movie. At times the book is heavy on policy and statistics but the movie brought it all to life with just as much power. I highly recommend this movie to anyone who is on the verge of converting to a vegetarian type lifestyle. I have been practicing vegetarianism for the last 6 months and a movie like this helps me to stick to my vegetarian convictions both from an environmental perspective and a animal cruelty perspective. I highly recommend every American watch this film....more info
  • A Grasp on The Book of Same Title - Just OK
    This movie should be an appetizer for the book which inspired it. While the movie does a reasonable job by approaching the main ideas (with a special touch to make it more appealing to general audiences), the book goes much further by detailing statistics and evidence which supports the presented ideas.

    Maybe because I read the book first, I wasn't so excited when I finished seeing the film, but that's just my view on things. I recommend getting the movie first and then the book, but if you prefer to get just the bottom line, this film, together with "Supersize Me", make a great duo....more info
  • A Great Movie,Title Is Deceiving
    The title makes you think that it is about something other than what it really is about.Its about things that are going on in todays every day life,...more info
  • Maybe the book is better?
    What a waste of 2 hours - this really is a meandering, disorganized waste of time. I felt like the movie's funding ran out so they just stopped filming. I'm all for shocking the senses and provoking thought, but this mess does neither. I think the word 'funny' is used on the cover - it is not. Not by design or happenstance. What a waste of an otherwise great cast....more info
  • Downer
    I really thought this would be a clever and well crafted expose on the business practices of huge companies like McDonalds. Instead I watched a really depressing movie about the use of illegal aliens in meat packing places that supply the fast food chains. Despite a bevy of guest stars, the movie is really not very captivating and not nearly as clever as it should be. I really did not enjoy this one. There is a good message and a strong warning involved, but it would have made a better documentary than a feature length film....more info
  • Underated Gem!
    I really liked this film that has the effect of a documentary and makes one think not only about not eating in fast food restaurants but maybe being vegetarian instead. Great cameos by Bruce Willis and Ethan Hawke. The young Colombian actress from Maria Full of Grace has one of the main parts. Canadian singer Avril Lavigne has a small part and does an excellent job too!

    The directing is similar to the movie Crash with the director cutting back and forth between three main stories that tend to overlap in parts of the film. There is the Marketing executive of Mickie's restaurants trying to find out why there are too many feces showing up in Mickies patties. The second story centers around a group of Mexican illegals being smuggled into the country so they can find jobs. The main characters of the group end up at the meat processing plant where the patties for Mickies "big one" are made. The third story involves a teen that works in a Mickie's restaurant but is convinced by her school buddies to try to protest the company.

    I was riveted to the tale from the start and I really enjoyed it. I can't understand why the average rating is not higher for this film. I give it a full five stars....more info
  • accurate portrayal of humanity
    just saw this on hbo. while i only saw the last 20min or so, it tore my heart open. i saw loss and survival within those last minutes, and they rang true with my own experience.

    humanity. worthwhile and worthless.

    my .02...more info
  • as scary as it is funny
    From spoiled teens working in a burger joint to the horrors of a slaughter house, this movie takes you on a trip through the fast food world through the eyes of some very human characters.

    If you really didn't like the movie, fine. If you didn't see it and are just reacting to what you imagined was the political slant, you need to chill out and at least watch it.

    It's a good movie. Not a masterpiece. At times hilarious -- like the punk kid nonchalantly spitting in the burger before wrapping it up properly. (Played by Paul Dano, "Dwayne" from Little Miss Sunshine.) At other times it's disturbing -- like the illegal immigrants used for the dangerous and disgusting jobs.

    A good movie for the home collection....more info
  • Cured Me
    Great Movie. I saw it about a year ago and have not eaten Mcdonald's since, and I was eating there 3xs a week before seeing the movie.

    If you are addicted to the convenience of fast food, watch this movie. You too may be cured! ...more info
  • Very good film - enlightning
    I really liked this movie because it showed the inhumane treatment and slaughter of cattle, sexual harassment faced in United States by the Americans to the illegals in the workplace, the privileged lifestyle of the whites versus the cold realities of reality for the mexicans, and a society hell bent on looking the other way for profits, all so Americans can enjoy their happy meals. Yeah, read the book as others have noted, but can't you say that about every film? They say that because they don't want you to watch this movie, and instead they would rather see you live in your fantasyland and rent Shrek 3. Now I am off to Outback Steakhouse to enjoy a bottle of cabernet with my filet mignon. Cheers. ...more info
  • Great
    Excellent show with an all star cast. Great reminder of the disgusting way animals are treated and processed just to make profits. Also a believable disturbing portrayal of what Mexicans go through to get across the border and what they must do to survive. Couldn't watch the cow slaughter...had to fast forward.
    I've always borderlined on the meat/veggie diet but I will now try to be a vegetarian...again. ...more info
  • A thoroughly misguided film....the book is way better....
    This was a disaster in the making. The book, which I've read and was really quite fascinated by, was, as most people are aware of, a non-fiction book. To make this film into a fiction film was a mistake. It's very pedantic, preachy, and overall, a huge disappointment compared to the book. The "killing floor" scene is a good example of what's wrong in teh film. I am not a vegetarian, but slaughterhouse scenes such as this do not bother me anymore, as I have seen this type of footage many times, and have grown immune to it. It's like cheap shock value from the PETA types, similar to when someone tells you pot is a gateway drug to cocaine and heroin (it isn't, for the record). It essentially takes a childish tone and tells you "look what you're eating! Look! Look!". This type of lecturing puts one off completely from the person doing the lecturing. To top it off, the killing floor scene rips off Fassbinder's In a Year of Thirteen Moons. There is a really powerful scene in Fassbinder's film that takes place in a slaughterhouse, but it's really moving and sad, as opposed to the scene here, which is there to shock you and nothing else.

    I stopped eating pork for six months once after seeing a film. Do you know what the film was? Babe. Yes, the film about the "sheep pig". It was not another documentary on the evils of the meat industry. Sometimes a little subtlety can go quite a long way, which this film has none of. Linklater's films in general are very verbose and talky, and the man has no visual style whatsoever. This film carries on that "tradition". Many PC, left wing, vegetarian types will like this film because it's "important", ignoring the fact that it isn't a very good film. The subject matter may be important, but that doesn't make the film good. Read the book instead. It's much more entertaining and informative. ...more info
  • Too many adult themes
    I was expecting a story version of the book that would entertain as well as educate and found a story version with too many adult extras. There was no need for porn sounds in the beginning or the added nudity later as it did not enhance the story. This was a very disappointing movie. ...more info
  • Enter the MEATrix
    Fabulous film- amazing cast. The extras at the end of the film were amazingly creative. Enter the MEATrix was just about as good as the film......more info
  • 3 stars, but only for the main message
    This movie has a great, valid message: Fast food is dirty money, and even dirtier nutrition. Agreed, the last 10 minutes will have you seriously reconsidering your dietary choices. But this movie almost loses the trail of that important message by being too long, too slow (took forever to get the story started), and too fragmented. The shocking impact of the book it was based upon would have been better served by a documentary, rather than a fictionalized depiction. Kudos to the actors for doing a great job, but Morgan Spurlock and Michael Moore, where were you when we needed you?...more info
  • Two Sisters
    In this zesty, exuberant telenovela of a family turned on itself, two sisters battle it out for control of their heritage and their destiny. Exciting Mexican superstar Ana Claudia Talancon headlines an international cast as Coco, a life-affirming young woman with big dreams, who doesn't mind using her sensational body and classically beautiful face to help her get her way. Life's too short, is Coco's motto, and she proves it by entering the US illegally, via a thirty-six hour border crossing led by everyone's best friend Luis Guzman. Once her feet are firmly on US soil, Coco quickly finds work at a food processing plant where she encounters tall, smoldering foreman Mike (Bobby Cannavale, from TV's WILL AND GRACE) and their passion lights up the screen!

    But even closer to her is her staid, repressed older sister Silvia (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Colombian-born Oscar nominee for MARIA FUILL OF GRACE), who has perhaps the more difficult role as a woman who loves her sister dearly but hates the choices she's making. Silvia has a stable, loving relationship with Wilmer Valderrama, as if such a thing were possible with the notorious Hollywood heartthrob, and leaves the food service industry to work as a maid in a local hotel, learning the tricks of the trade from a kindly older woman who oversees her entrance into the hospitality business. Meanwhile Coco slides into drugs as she and Mike carry on their extracurricular affair to the despair of her family.

    In the film's most shocking scene, Coco and Silvia really get into it in the beautifully furnished apartment Silvia shares with Raul, while he watches open-mouthed at the shocking crevasse he sees developing between the two sisters. Where's the love, he wonders? I don't want to reveal any spoilers, for this is the kind of meaty, full blooded soap opera that Maria Felix and Dolores Del Rio might once have acted in, while Richard Linklater once again proves that he is the finest US "women's director" since the heyday of Sirk and Cukor....more info
  • ho hum
    There is really no story to this film. It just keeps jumping around. There are a couple of sex scenes but nothing really exciting. I suppose the point of the film is that we all quit eating at McDonalds, Arby's, etc. During the last 10 minutes of the film there is shots of the killing of the cattle and it is GROSS....more info
  • good message, good cast, horrible movie
    I liked the message alot and it definitely made me not want to eat fast food EVER again. i liked the cast alot too but the movie it self, i just didnt like. there was something about it but i dont know what. definetly worth seeing once but not good enough to own or yet watch it more then once. you're better off reading the book.....more info