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Fast Food Nation
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Fast Food Nation More at IMDbPro »

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Fast Food Nation no spoiler review

Author: chenrici from United States
15 October 2012

I saw this in the library, I checked it out not knowing much about this movie other than the blurb on the box, that it was loosely based on a nonfiction book indicting the fast food industry. Unlike some others here who felt let down and disappointed by the movie, I had the opposite reaction, "Fast Food Nation" was better than I thought it would be. If you expect a Michael Moore type film on the fast food industry you might not like this. It is more of a humanistic view of not only fast food chains effect on people's lives, but franchises in general. The central points of the movie are not limited to the evil big mac (or "big one" as its called in the film), it's asking some broader questions. Should people be happy with a Big Mac and a pair of Nikes? What happens to bring it to them? and is there maybe something weird about a culture where plenty of people are actually happy with a big mac and a pair of Nikes, or maybe a "Happy Meal". Bruce Willis' character represents the other side of the coin who basically says- nobody is making immigrants come here (a big mac and a pair of Nikes is probably still better than what they had), plus plenty of other things kill people besides fast food. And I'd also add there is a bit of s**t in just about any tap water as well as that "big one" burger. It was probably presented as a "fictional" movie to avoid legal problems, and to avoid being tied into Michael Moore territory. Overall I like the approach they took. All the actors are good, and I especially liked Bruce Willis and Ethan Hawke in their short parts. "Fast food nation" is a unique achievement encompassing both dark humor and moving drama. The moralistic tone of the film and the killing floor scene combine to make a strong impact. It could have been a little more focused, but this is a well done film IMO.

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This movie will disturb 90-95% of those who see it.

Author: originalbadguy from Texas
14 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

However, I am one of the 5-10% it won't. I have worked 15 years in the food service industry, 12 of it in fast food. The entire movie seems to center on it. From personal experience, restraunts go for the lowest food cost. There lies the meat packing plant using "undocumented workers" Also the interactions in the restaurant, I forget the name. I have heard the rob the store conversation three times in 12 years. Twice attempted, and one time successful. This movie really does not even scratch the surface of the fast food industry. If the average person really knew what goes on, unseen to the customer, you would never walk into one again. However it is mildly entertaining, but I know what really goes on.

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a big issue broken down into a series of vignettes

Author: J_Charles from over there
6 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The creators wanted to create a movie out of a book that detailed the issues with America's obsession with fast food. It's a wide ranging topic exploring the effect this has on health, food safety, the environment, illegal immigration, big corporations, land use, etc.

Trying to 'humanize' this story for a movie-going audience was no small task. But the result is a series of monologues that almost read like a lecture on various topics. Bruce Willis for example had a tough job of selling the corporation's point of view. Kudos to him for doing a remarkable job of making it sound less like a stilted speech and more like an everyday conversation. A lesser actor like the ones playing the student activists were much less successful. The scene where they're 'preaching' to each other about the evils of corporate fast food empires looked too contrived - as if they were reading all the main points off of a cue card.

The real 'human' story is the one about the illegal immigrants. The toll was greatest amongst these labourers too afraid to speak up about the injustices done to them because of their precarious status in the country.

The vignette approach has its pros and cons. For our fast food generation, concentrating on anything for more than five minutes makes our head hurt. As a result, very few of the scenes last longer than five minutes. The result is a disjointed yet interesting snippets of info, drama, and melodrama wrapped up in a semi-preachy yet still worthwhile movie.


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Fast film as bad as fast food

Author: Jon from United States
9 April 2011

I'm a near-vegetarian, and have been now for several years. I've been acutely aware of the of fast food factory farming, and I've educated myself in the horrors of fast food's effects on heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, soil erosion, greenhouse emissions, and the corporate greed and governmental indolence that allows it to poison the citizenry daily. In addition, I've battled my own addiction to fast food and obesity over years, and have helped my father battle his cancer through nutrition; I consider fast food a personal enemy, not just an abstract irritant.

Beyond that, I'm a fan of director Richard Linklater, and his "Slacker" and "Waking Life" are two of my favorite films.

In short, if there's anyone who *should* like "Fast Food Nation," it's me. But this movie is wretched disaster!

Linklater takes a non-fiction book as his source material, and tries to make a story out of it, or not--maybe he tried, maybe he didn't--all I know is it didn't happen. This a wandering, meandering mess of meaningless, useless characters.

There's a corporate schmoe who's just learning how unclean the meat his company produces actually is. A story almost develops around his investigation of how it's produced, but its dropped just when it seems to be going somewhere.

There's a group of illegal aliens hired by a criminal meat-packing plant--but we don't care about them either. They're presented as stock figures in ensemble. The attempt at creating a story for them is pathetically feeble.

Linklater trots out other almost-characters in turn, the high-school boy who fantasizes about robbing his fast-food store (but doesn't), and the girl who tries to set cows free, but these are non-events, too.

I lost interest in the film early on, but kept watching as long as I could stand past that point, well past the middle. After that, I fast-forwarded, stopping occasionally to see if there was anything worth watching. There wasn't, at least, not for me.

This is a crying shame. More than that, it's an infuriating shame. Linklater is nothing if not a visionary director, the cast is nothing if not talented, and the subject is nothing if not a matter of paramount importance. FFN should've been a wild, sardonic, exposé, a trip into the innards of the food industry's machine with the entertainment to keep you in your seat, and the honesty to enlighten you.

Apparently, FFN *has* worked for some people, and for that I'm grateful, but I can't recommend it myself. Morgan Spurlock's wonderful, shocking, and yet enjoyable "Super-Size Me" is the one to watch, hitting all the bases that FFN should've, with wit, humor, and compassion to spare.

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Unique and Original

Author: Mike B from Canada
30 August 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film gets an 'A' for being unique and original; I have not seen a movie like this one before. It does authentically capture a sense of the wryness and mundaneness of life in America (ubiquitous fast foods, hotels, super hi-ways, super-farms... ) It also captures people trying to find a way out.

There are three groups of these in the movie - the executives, the migrants and the cashiers. The story revolves around these three.

In brief the executives (Greg Kinnear) try to find out what is going on with the food they are making and selling. It is obvious they have little control and idea of what that entails - aside from the 40 cents per pound. This is the most chilling part of the story, particularly the conversations with Bruce Willis and Kris Kristofferson. The migrants (imported Mexicain workers)process the cattle and the cashiers sell us the burgers.

If you are expecting a coalescing of these three groups featured in movies like Crash and Pulp Fiction - well there isn't any - and I feel the movie is stronger for avoiding this convergence gimmick. However the film is meandering with a lot of conversations - most work, but some just seem like a lot of babbling. What is the point of this uncle talking with his niece - the cashier? We already know she doesn't want to work the cash for the rest of her life - it's overkill to have a 10 minute conversation between uncle, niece and her brain-dead mother to tell us this.

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Good, but not Richard Linklater's masterpiece

Author: Austin Layne from United States
30 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is good on certain levels, but, well, not necessarily bad, but just iffy on others.

For instance, I love the scenes that illustrate Greg Kinnear's character's position. It shows how people in fast food corporations are less worried about your health and more worried about making money. But this poses the question: Is it entirely the fast food corporation's fault? I mean, most people know that MacDonald's and Burger King and many other burger joints are generally bad for them. But they choose them because they like the food.

The mistreatment of illegals is another issue that should be talked about and the film treats generally well. I love Wilmer Valderama's performance in the film.

Probably the best part of this movie is where the group of young revolutionaries try to free the cows but the cows will not go. It shows how people's ideology often times clouds the facts, which in this case is that cows are not smart and do not know the difference between a slaughterhouse and a free environment. But Fast Food Nation contradicts itself in this scene. The entire movie is advocating a vegetarian/animal rights message, at least to me it is. Yet, it shows that animals don't know the difference between death and just another day, and they don't care.

I absolutely hated the scene at the end where Richard Linklater shows the cows being skinned and chopped up. I promise it isn't because of the graphic nature of the scene, I honestly don't hate the scene for that. I hate it because Richard Linklater is doing what so many preachers of all religions do: He's trying to make you feel bad for eating meat by showing the "mistreatment" of the cows. He doesn't just use the movie to give his opinion, he tries to force his opinion on you, and I take issue with that.

But other than the end scene and some of the film's contradictions I would say it's worth a watch, especially if you would like to see strong performances from Wilmer Valderama, Greg Kinnear, and most of the other members of the cast.

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Not meaty enough

Author: colour-me-kubrick from city that never sleeps
6 July 2009

Considering Linklater was at the helm of the affairs, it is fair to say this was a bit of a let down. The movie clearly has a very strong theme with enough facts and materials to drive home the point which it very well does for the best part.

"In California, the VP of Marketing of the Mickey's Fast Food Don Anderson is responsible for the hamburger "Big One", the number one in selling in Mickey's chain of fast food restaurants. When an independent research in the meat patties produced in Cody, Colorado, indicates the presence of cow manure, Don is sent to the facility to investigate possible irregularities in the meatpacking production plant and also the major supplier of kettle. Along his surveys, Don finds the truth about the process and how meat is contaminated. Meanwhile, a group of illegal Mexican immigrants arrive in Cody to work in the dirty jobs in the plant while a group of activists plot how to expose the terrible situation of the Mickey's industry." Therefore the film deals with subject of meat production from the whole range of different perspective from the retailers to the manufacturers of burgers to the meat producing agencies to the illegal immigrants who get employed and are exploited to the fullest and of course to the consumers who finally bear the burden. This broad spectrum helps to look beyond just the malpractices in the meat industry but a basic flaw in the modern mindset.

The culture of "do what it takes" that has been instilled into the corporate house has made the everyone pay a big cost monetarily or otherwise, other than the elite who continue to grow bigger. Might is right as they say. "Fast" food in the film reflects not only the obsession and addiction to the quick food, but as a reference to culture which has been instilled in our system to produce the results, to earn the profits with any means necessary, moral or immoral, legal or illegal.

The film is an "eye opener" and will make the audience more aware of the goings on in the meat industry. On the downside the screenplay gets a bit sluggish and could have been cut by at least 20 minutes. Still an important film for everyone to watch and form an opinion.

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Want Fries With That?

Author: ( from Philadelphia
26 December 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Fast Food Nation tackles the prickly issues of industrial safety and sanitation, illegal immigration, contaminated food, cruelty to animals, and corporate greed, among others. It approaches these issues logically and competently, and then casts them aside without resolution of any sort.

Why the story winds back and forth between the fast food world and that of the illegal aliens is hard to understand. On one hand the movie credits these immigrants with a hearty work ethic, and on the other it implies that a married illegal immigrant woman will sell her body in a flash for an absolutely rock-bottom job.

Greg Kinnear, playing an exec charged with finding out why the meat is contaminated with feces, does a believable job. We are led to believe he has a personal life, but it is not followed up on. Kinnear interviews an interesting rancher, Kris Kristoffersen, and a tough exec, Bruce Willis. He draws his conclusions, and is not really heard from again.

Scenes of the slaughterhouse are meant to shock and disgust. But I was unconvinced. I was more impressed over thirty years ago by similar scenes in Prime Cut.

This movie is well-produced and well-acted. But it does not go anywhere, and then ends abruptly. And we know nothing has changed or will. My biggest problem with FFN is its ending, which sneaks up on you and then robs you of the resolution you were expecting or hoping for. It doesn't even give you a bad resolution. It's just over! This, the ending, is my main gripe with this picture, and the primary reason it got only six stars.

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Banana peel, version 1.20

Author: annevejb from UK
15 December 2008

Highlights. This feature has plenty and for me they centre on Ashley Johnson, who here plays a character maybe six years younger than her biological age. I assume for script reasons. For me she is music on two legs and seems to do okay with real music too, playing six instruments and playing in a band, though her role in the feature Killer Diller (2004) was strictly backing singer.

That hints at the difficulty that I face in drafting comments re this. To what extent does the story mean what it says and how much of what the story is really about is hidden under the surface?


Further, I wonder if the feature has slipped on a banana peel, classic slapstick, and wonder why. If so it could be because versions of that happen in this sort of world, banana peel and slapstick.

A story musing on big bad industry, to me that is worth doing. Just it is difficult to approach just why big bad in a way that will communicate cross barriers and in a way that is properly real to realities of the big bad.

The student activists say relevant things, but symptoms versus causality, their actions speak as loudly as their words.

The actors came out okay in this story. In part that reflects well on project management and Linklater.

The writer comes out okay, to me.

My reaction to Linklater's interview on the DVD was that he has slipped. That was just the interview that I was reacting to, after one viewing only, an echo of my experiences from UK arts. At the same time I get the impression from the feature that the core of this story is storytelling that Linklater seems to have a real vocation to try to do well.

My past makes me interpret artists in England as slaughterhouse workers. Most everyone else will not have that sort of past, but the general principle might be intelligible to some.


The fast food of the story just a surface for describing a different sort of marketable fast food?

Looking at the surface of the story I still find that there are issues here, such as factory farming of cattle versus free range burgers.

There is people as cattle and often this aspect shines well, I now assume that this might be more where the real story lies.

There is Ashley Amber progressing from effective school kid when carefully led on a sensible technical path, to falling so flat when faced with the complexities of technical details in reality.

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Invoking thought and reflection as to many ills we face in today's world...

Author: Neil Turner from Annapolis, Maryland
7 November 2008

Let me begin by confessing that I was ignorant of the content of Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation upon which this film is based. Because of that ignorance, I thought I was renting one of those silly movies about teens working in a fast food restaurant. I guess I was misled because my video rental service classifies this film as a comedy, but in their defense, I noticed on another Fox Searchlight DVD that Fast Food Nation is listed in the previews section entitled "Other Comedies from Fox Searchlight." It definitely is not a comedy but instead, a sobering look at a number of disturbing aspects of big business in the United States.

The film plays out as a series of extremely well acted character vignettes that serve to expose the factual information gathered by Schlosser for his book.

The story focuses on three different groups of people who are all connected through a huge slaughter and meatpacking facility that provides meat for a McDonald-like fast food chain.

Corporate headquarters is represented by an executive (Greg Kinnear) who is sent to investigate why fecal matter is showing up in the meat. He receives some insight into the whole operation helped by Kris Kristofferson who plays a concerned local rancher and the man who is in charge of obtaining the meat at the best prices beautifully portrayed by Bruce Willis.

The restaurant workers and their families reveal the mine deadening complacency of the general population of employees who populate the restaurants. The one who comes to realize that there is something tragically wrong with the whole process is looked upon as an oddity - especially by her manager who cannot understand why she doesn't want to pursue a career in the business.

The most tragic and insightful view in the film is the look at the illegal workers who come from Mexico to work in the meat packing factory. Because of their illegal status, they are taken advantage of all the way from the manager who openly lusts after every attractive woman to the corporation managers who deny injured workers of any rights.

This is really a good movie. Not only is it well acted and produced, but in addition, it invokes thought and reflection as to many ills we face in today's world.

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