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Fast Food Nation
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Fast Food Nation More at IMDbPro »

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Interesting topic, but disappointing movie.

4/10
Author: Schwabi from Germany
2 March 2007

This Movie is the worse "Thank You For Smoking". It's got an interesting topic, but as a fictional movie, its very disappointing. The first half hour is watchable, but as it's moving on, it loses itself in mere accusations and more than kindergarten-like explanations, mostly in unmotivated, kind of black-and-white discussions amongst characters. It feels like they hit you with five jackhammers at once to dip your nose onto their opinion. If they had done it as a documentary, it would have been great, but this movie just sucks and leads to nowhere but boredom. If I hadn't been a vegetarian before, I certainly would not become one because of this movie. At least I didn't have to pay for it.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

the end of the American Dream

9/10
Author: Lee Eisenberg (lee.eisenberg.pdx@gmail.com) from Portland, Oregon, USA
2 December 2006

I will say that Richard Linklater's movie version of Eric Schlosser's expository "Fast Food Nation" could have been better. It shows these various stories, but doesn't do the best job tying them together, thereby falling a little flat. But in terms of showing how the meatpacking industry treats its immigrant workers, they couldn't have done a better, uglier job. It's a stark reminder of the real meaning of eating chain restaurant food.

Greg Kinnear plays Don Anderson, a well-off executive of the fictional restaurant chain Mickey's. When he takes a trip to their processing factory in Colorado, he gets a sanitized tour of the place, only to learn the unpleasant, fecal truth from other sources. The contrasted story portrays some Mexican immigrants (among them Wilmer Valderrama, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Ana Claudia Talancon) move to the US, only to get dangerous jobs in the factory, and the women have to submit to rape by the supervisor. And they leave nothing to the imagination when showing the inhumanity of the place. Not to mention how they treat the cows and pollute the surrounding environment.

The discussion amongst the students about how the factory pollutes the environment and buys out the politicians is a reminder of something else: the cronyism that has taken over our government during the past few years. We can hope - a word that one of the students doesn't like at all - that the recent election might change things at least some, that whole scene is plenty of reason for cynicism, showing how corporations have been able to get away with anything.

Anyway, although they don't tie the plots together as well as they could have, this is still a movie that I recommend to everyone - although you should read the book first. You'll never want to eat fast food again after watching this. Also starring Patricia Arquette, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, Avril Lavigne, and Bruce Willis. Among other things, it's good to see that Avril Lavigne has been getting involved in political things and isn't just another Britney Spears.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A far better film than people have given it credit for being

9/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
26 March 2007

Richard Linklater examines the cogs in the giant machine called the fast food industry. The film is much like its much more successful competitor, Babel, in that if follows several story threads. Much like Babel, it doesn't quite make any real points by the end. Unlike Babel, I don't think Linklater especially wanted to make anything like Iñarritu's grandiose statements, except a very broad one about how the industry does some sort of harm to everyone involved, from CEO to customer. I thought Babel was successful in its view of the everyday lives of its characters, but Fast Food Nation is even more successful in that way. It doesn't live on big moments. For the most part, Linklater's talent shines in the individual vignettes. His characters feel like they had lives before the film began, and like they'll have lives afterward. We learn surprisingly little about most of them, but the few moments we spend with them are enough to get a good sense of the characters. I thought the most successful storyline centered around actress Ashley Johnson, a bright teenager who works in one of the fast food chain's restaurants in Cody, Colorado (her not-so-bright co-workers, including actor Paul Dano, work in the back). The other major threads follow Greg Kinnear as an exec who has come to inspect the possibly poorly run mega-factory where the meat patties are produced, and a group of illegal immigrants (including Oscar nominee Catalina Sandino Moreno and surprisingly good TV comedian Wilmer Valderrama) who work at the mega-factory in dangerous conditions. The film certainly has its faults (the film ends on the most groan-inducing note since the final scene of John Sayles' last film), but most every scene is so beautifully observed that I'm more than willing to overlook its faults. 2006 may not have been a great year for Richard Linklater financially, but he was firing on all of his artistic cylinders with both this and the even better A Scanner Darkly. One of the most underrated films of last year.

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Everyone should see it

10/10
Author: Tinkerbettie1 from United States
23 November 2006

I think everyone in America should see this film, but probably few will. I hadn't read the book before I saw the film, but I thought it was both powerful and important. I think Richard Linklater can do no wrong, and this film is no exception. I didn't think the movie was dry at all, as some have reviewed it. It was compelling throughout. The acting and story were good with minor exceptions, the characters were sympathetic, the subject matter was certainly relatable. This film focuses on everything that's wrong with America, and it's not pretty. It was certainly not an easy movie to watch at times, but I am very grateful that Linklater is still making thought-provoking films.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

This is the WORST film ever. A scourge on cinema!

1/10
Author: nksalzman from United States
7 March 2007

The book was good and this movie had the opportunity to be insightful, but instead the characters are weak, the plot line non-existent, and the dialog is awful--it makes even someone awesome like Bruce Willis seem flaccid. The whole movie should have been of the kill floor and of the investigation of the feces in the meat--too many plot lines that go nowhere. The trailer was good and shot the full load right there. Nothing more to see. Go see "Thank you for smoking" if you want to see something like this that isn't awful. I have to fill in more to submit this comment so I shall: THIS MOVIE IS SO BAD MY MIND EXPLODED. I WANTED TO STOP WATCHING BUT I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW BAD IT WAS AND PERSEVERED TO MY GREAT REGRET.

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5 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Big cast for a interesting movie

10/10
Author: climbhi5 from Ft. Collins, CO, USA
19 November 2006

I just happen to stumble into this movie today. I had never read the book although I had herd a brief summery once. Besides being a great product placement ad for New Belgium Brewing, some of the best beers in the world in my opinion, I thought it was a good movie over all. I was surprised to see all the big name actor that were in this movie. I live on the Colorado Front Range, the place where the book is based off of and the movie alludes to. It is a nice place and I think the movie portrays the area quite accurately, though they tend to focus more on the bad then good. I think that this movie brings to light some issues that are often passed over as too controversial and it is quite graphic but I think that it helps drive home the points of the movies. I my opinion go see the movie, but don't take anyone that can't stand to see graphic scenes and adult content.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

not organized, or concluded

1/10
Author: cliffjp from United States
9 December 2006

Fast Food Nation seemingly forgets to take us back to its main story about the corporate side of the burger industry. After the main character leaves Colorado to go back to California, they should have continued with his story. How did he report his findings to his boss? How did he and his wife respond to his trip? Does he still eat the "Big One"? Instead, after he leaves Colorado, the movie lazily stays on the story of the corruption at the meat-packing plant, even though this point - the meat packing industry is horrible - had already been drilled into us, early on. And the other side story, about the rebellious teenage girl, during her quitting her job scene, the other male employee says something to the effect of, the fast food industry is not morally "wrong", just low-paying. This seemed to contradict major points of the movie.

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An average inside look at the fast food industry

6/10
Author: Screen_Blitz from United States
31 March 2016

Fast food chains have become a big part of our culture in the last several decades, and fast food industries have become of the biggest running companies in America, with every state populated with thousands of fast food restaurants on seemingly every corner. Many fast food joints however, have been targets of criticism by not only their poor nutrition but most importantly their unsanitary work environment, McDonald's as a prime example. The global influence of the fast food industry and the controversy surrounding the work environments are best demonstrated in Eric Schlosser's novel 'Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of An American Meal'. Directed by Richard Linklater, this film based on the novel of the same name paints an average, but clear on the action inside the world of fast food making. This ensemble piece follows multiple interconnected story lines and characters' experience with the fast food industry. Greg Kinnear plays Don Henderson, a marketing director of a popular burger point Mickey's, home of one of their most popular hamburgers on the menu known as the "Big One". When he receives reports from the health department about cow fecal matter being discovered in the party of the hamburgers, Don takes a trip to Colorodo to investigate the health status of the company that provides the burger joint with the hamburger meat. There, he meets a young college girl Amber (played by Ashley Johnson) who happens to work at a Mickey's restaurant and is unaware of the repulsive practice that goes on in the meat factory where the parties are made. Meanwhile, Mexican family crosses over the border of Mexico and moves to Colorodo where husband Raul (played by Wilmer Valderrama) gets a job at the meat factory, only to witness the horrifying truth of the backbone behind the fast food industry.

This film is written with a somewhat similar story structure to Richard Linklater's other works which often revolve around the social interactions of characters and personal relationships. Linklater takes a slightly different approach in this film by taking the characters and drawing them into some thought-provoking subject matter dealing the issues that still go on in our culture today. The movie tries to retain a documentary type feel and it sometimes works, but others times tends to steer off focus. From the mildly solid screenplay, the film paints a fairly realistic picture on the atrocities that occur in the fast food industry and the repulsiveness of the poorly maintained work environment that many citizens on the outside are not aware of. Many scenes set in the meat factory feature some of the most gruesome depictions of the work that is involved, including the slaughtering of cows and the dangers of the unprotected environment that are severely taken for granted. The worst consequence is best demonstrated in one particularly graphic scene. And yes, it is disgusting to watch and provokes many thoughts in your head how citizens have already unhealthy eating products tainted with foreign matter inside and how the industries have been putting the health of many consumers at risk. But the main problem comes from the occasional inconsistencies in the writing. Some scenes tend to spend a little too much time focused on the relationships between the characters, and the result fogs over the main point, mainly during some scenes with Ethan Hawke and Bruce Willis for an example, who don't seem to serve much for he story. Linklater's style of writing doesn't quite work as well here as it does in his other films, but luckily it manages to get its crucial message out that could have viewers thinking twice before making another trip to a fast food restaurant.

Fast Food Nation is a fine movie with some fine performances by a solid cast and fine writing despite its flaws in direction. This is a thought-provoking movie with an important message about fast food companies and something to at least, spark some interest. This may not be one of Richard Linklater's most memorable and never quite comes to close to being such, but it is somewhat effective and could have viewers sprawling with second thoughts about fast food or finding employment at fast food joint.

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scattered and a little preachy

6/10
Author: SnoopyStyle
11 January 2016

Fast food chain Mickey's Burger has a hit in the Big One. Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear) is a marketing VP in development in their California headquarters. Independent research has found extremely high fecal count in their frozen patties and Don is sent to the Colorado meat-packer to investigate. Old-timer Rudy Martin (Kris Kristofferson) tells him about the hard truths. Harry Rydell (Bruce Willis) is their corrupt meat buyer. Amber (Ashley Johnson) and Brian (Paul Dano) work at the local Mickey's. Amber lives with her single mom Cindy (Patricia Arquette) and they're visited by activist uncle Pete (Ethan Hawke). Meanwhile illegals like Raul (Wilmer Valderrama), Coco (Ana Claudia Talancón), and Sylvia (Catalina Sandino Moreno) sneak into the US to become part of low wage workforce being exploited. Supervisor Mike (Bobby Cannavale) abuses his position by hooking up with Coco. Her sister Sylvia is not happy with the relationship and her drug use.

Director Richard Linklater is adapting the scathing investigative book on the fast food industry by layering three stories on top of the material. It leaves the movie scattered, a bit flat, and too preachy to have much compelling shock factor. Linklater is caught trying to make drama while doing a documentary. I do find two of the three stories to be pretty interesting. I don't like Kinnear's character's awkward naivety. He's in the meat business but has to act dumb. Willis may as well twirl his evil mustache. There is a tale of corporate political corruption but it fails to dramatize it. Ashley Johnson is an interesting lead but her side of the story pales in comparison to the illegals working in the plant. I think that is where the movie shines and it also has the horrifying slaughter room walk-through. The movie would have been more compelling concentrating on that story.

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Not the best Linklater, but still worth seeing

7/10
Author: Sandcooler from Belgium
23 March 2013

"Fast Food Nation" is a movie that's mainly saved by Richard Linklater's immense talent for writing dialogue, because for the most part he doesn't really bring anything new here. It's not bad, but it's just the same as usual: characters sit around making nothing of their lives, then gradually they get caught up in each other's story arcs somehow. I've seen him doing it before, and I've seen him doing it better. The main reason why "Fast Food Nation" isn't really his best is because some characters just aren't very interesting. To me the most compelling character is probably the oh-so-clever marketing executive who slowly starts to grow a conscience, I reckon those segments are by far the best. The rest is surprisingly pedestrian material that doesn't even hand us anything resembling closure. I know Linklater has made stories that go nowhere into an art form, but here it doesn't really work out because you just don't care enough to fill in the blanks yourself. Bringing in Avril Lavigne for a bit part also sorta reeks of stunt casting, because she sure as hell wasn't hired for her acting abilities. Still, you will get some brilliant lines out of this movie. It's not quite "Dazed and Confused", but it definitely has its moments.

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