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Fast Food Nation
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Reviews & Ratings for
Fast Food Nation More at IMDbPro »

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Great cast reading dialog which plays off like a lecture

Author: youbroketherules from United States
11 February 2008

I agree with this movie's politics, but I cannot tolerate message movies. Showing and not telling is the name of the game in movies, and this movie tells just as much as, if not more than, it shows. In order for a movie to convey a message appropriately, in my opinion, it has to, like a good debater, be able to adopt both sides with equal logic and present to you the entirety of the argument so that you can make the decision for yourself. Even an obviously messed up industry like the American fast food industry is not exempt from this rule of decent movie-making, as Fast Food Nation proves. And let me again say, I personally believe Fast Food Corporations are Satanic, and some of the other targets this movie off-handedly shoots at (methamphetamines, illegal immigration, various other corporate/short-attention-span issues which seem related to American Fast Food and, thus, play into the title of "Fast Food Nation") are worthy targets to open people's eyes to and expose. But this movie is uneven to Michael Moore-esquire proportions -- even SuperSize Me was more well-rounded. And, yes, I just referred to documentary film-making, because, even though this is fiction, it is more about its message than its drama. If you care about any of these characters, you'll be disappointed. And I like neorealism, downbeat endings, and evil protagonists, too, so I don't know how Linklater managed to screw this up, but there is a sense of pessimism in this movie that just makes you NOT CARE about anybody in the film.

The cast was full of stars, and by far the main positive point of the movie. Most of the actors handled the hammy dialog in stride, though some of the more broad characterizations (Ethan Hawke's character and the college activist group) could not help but be sunk by their clichés. I was actually shocked to find that Richard Linklater made this (I did not know until the end credits). I'm not a fan of his more prolific work (because I haven't seen it, not that I have a problem with it), but I do know that he is considered one of the top American filmmakers. After seeing this, his writing/directing skills have dropped to the bottom of my list. Lloyd Kaufman is a better auteur by sheer virtue of the fact that Lloyd Kaufman admittedly sets out to make trash and succeeds. This was supposed to be intelligent and eye-opening, but it ended up seeming like something a 50-year-old stoner Frisbee-golfing burnout would dream of (but not have the organizational skills to write and film).

This movie was not horrible. I'm giving it a 5 out of 10 because there were some good elements to it, and, like I said earlier, I do agree with its message. But there was no creativity to the visual side of the movie and the dialog was terrible. Some scenes had all the realism of a workplace safety training video. I was very disappointed in how the material was treated, and the movie just got worse as it rolled on.

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a bit of umbrage

Author: Beth X from United States
9 February 2008

i would never normally comment on someone else's movie dislikes/likes. We do like our own things and are affected in different ways, naturally. But, James Alex Neve's comments about this movie being unable to shock him with new immigrant working conditions, mcdonaldization processed American.. blah.. blah... as being unmoving is more tellings of neve's character and condition.

This movie is unearthing. you leave feeling awful in a way that there is no resolution to what you see and know as, indeed America. but, it's so devastating and it really focuses on how we are all belted, regardless, on the backs of one another. We are a cycle, all parts must function, on the compromise of some other part at times, and, as well, in disregard.

I found the factory scenes so uncomfortable to watch. There was never a feeling of safety, which was a wonderfully crafted perspective of the immigrant's constant state of existence.

One more thing... its curious that neve seems to be writing from the UK, not Texas where immigrant labor runs unprotected and rampant and where this movie was shot. You can't take anything this guy says seriously. He's admittedly jaded and unaffected, but to also insist on knowing anything about the "already known" state of immigrant labor is so insulting and renders him completely useless as a voice of social and cinematic reasoning. Neve totally exposes what we already know as well, that he must be a white male, born with privileges he doesn't even recognize -- because he knows no other perspective. So sad for him.

This movie is necessary and wonderfully done. Hats off.

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Swing and a miss

Author: Killakai from United States
24 January 2008

This story was poorly told. It was logical, the pieces intertwined, and it did show a lot of what is wrong with the industry. The problem is, it did this in a very heavy handed, unimaginative way. There is not enough drama, comedy or action in this movie to make it compelling. Most of the information in this film is conveyed through dialogue, and not through circumstances in the actual story and that could make a decent documentary, but a bad drama-satire or whatever this was supposed to be.

Someone else said this but it bares repeating, Thank You For Smoking showed how to do a satire exposing an industry. It was funny, yet informative and enjoyable, and all of that is mainly because the main character is a guy who is interesting as hell and the story is told well. None of that happens here.

The Insider, again showed us how to tackle the Tobacco industry using a compelling true account, and telling the story in very dramatic fashion.

Fast Food Nation is like a mix between both of those movies, minus the drama, comedy, and lacking a well told story. The only character who seemed to be able to carry the screen was Bruce Willis' character and he got about 5 minutes of screen time.

Someone needs to tackle this subject matter again, I was very disappointed with this film.

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Perhaps I'm too naive, but I didn't see the PETA connection

Author: OMontalvo from United States
23 January 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This seemed to be a movie about our food industry, not really about the food itself. Perhaps it's because I live in the country and have killed at least some of the food I've eaten that the killing didn't really bother me. What bothered me more was how people were treated and how that made them treat the food they were processing.

The movie contains an interesting mix of people all trying to deal with this industry in the best way they know how. Many of the people were neither good nor bad, but made bad decisions, even when they were trying to do good. It's about how hard it is to make good decisions in a system like the one we have.

Overall, I think this was a good movie, even if a little depressing. It raised some good issues and had some interesting characters in it.

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Read the book

Author: Parkside1 from Australia
15 January 2008

Read the book and you will learn something and be entertained at the same time. If you watch the movie, chances are you won't learn anything, and may not be entertained either. This was a great opportunity to inform everyone about fast food and the industry behind it, yet by turning this book into another average-movie, a golden opportunity was missed. I think "Supersize Me" was 100% more informative and entertaining.

Whilst the acting was very good, and the role played by Greg Kinnear was the best, their roles lacked depth and conclusions. They seemed to drift in and out of the movie, and left me wondering what was their purpose and why had some comments been included in the script if there was no follow up.

The glowing reviews by others baffle me - its hard to believe we have seen the same movie.

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Not a comedy!

Author: flickhead from Los Angeles
14 January 2008

Anyone who saw the theatrical trailer might have been led to think that this was a cross between "Office Space" and "Waiting", when it is clearly not. This is no comedy. It was presented in the advertising campaign that preceded the film's release as a humorous parody of the fast food industry, but it is far darker and skirts the line between biting-satire and shocking social drama. In fact the abundance of slaughterhouse footage combined with story lines focused on the abuse and exploitation of migrant workers within the (no pun intended) food chain more resembles Paul Schrader's union-busting "Blue Collar" than the recent light expose on big tobacco, "Thank You For Smoking". And it is miles away from "Dazed and Confused" or "School of Rock". Granted "Fast Food Nation" is based on a best-selling non-fiction book that shed a very critical light on the titular multi-billion dollar enterprise, but many books are turned into films that the theater-going public have never read -and more importantly, are not expected to have read before the motion picture publicity machine creates an identity for the film based on the aforementioned literary property. As I remember it, Eric Schlosser's book was not so far in tone from Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, which is grimy, but still ironically funny. Director Richard Linklatter is most often identified with comedies, be they off-kilter or romantic, with the occasional genre film here or there, so the expectation is that this film will be a zany, but ultimately heartwarming indie flick. The casting would seem to mirror that logic, with Greg Kinnear heading up a fine ensemble cast. However the final product seems to have been tampered with by nervous studio bosses who probably green-lit a dark, serious script but had no idea how to market a film based on such unsavory material. The result is a film that criss-crosses between slightly amusing social statement to incredibly harsh social nightmare scenario. Some of the footage is incredibly difficult to watch, and I by no means limit that statement to the animal footage. I'd say that on many levels, it is a brave indictment of a subject matter that is rarely (if ever) explored. But also think that by splitting the difference between two target audiences, it pleases neither. It was difficult subject matter to begin with, and perhaps the talent of the director and cast elevated it beyond what it would have been in lesser hands, but at the end of the day it's not a particularly pleasant viewing experience, and it's not as affecting as films like "El Norte" or "Maria Full of Grace", though the star of the latter is part of this film's cast. It's an interesting misfire at best, elevated by the participants rather than the material.

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One of Linklater's better recent works

Author: Joseph Sylvers from United States
12 December 2007

I thought it was a documentary but apparently it isn't and has quite a few recognizable actors and odd camoes (Bruce Willis and Avril Lavigne). Richard Linklater's dialgue and penchant for telling multiple stories is applied here in it's most traditional framework. From the lives of immigrant meat packers to the teenage fast food mployees, to marketing executives, the modern American business machine is explored. The end result is not unbiased, but given much of the subject matter is literally eating one's own s*&#, it's understandable. The music was great too, almost over the top at points , but spot on at others, especially the end. The scene with the college kids and the cows was great too, albeit a bit on the nose.

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Everybody that eats should see this film

Author: Brent Trafton from Long Beach, CA
23 November 2007

"Fast Food Nation" is a film that is more than entertainment. It is a film made by vegetarians Richard Linklater and Greg Kinnear that attempts to open our eyes to the horror of one of our everyday activities: Eating.

While "Fast Food Nation" is a fictionalized and dramatized version of the non-fiction book of the same name, it is hard to judge it like a normal movie. It is not quite a docudrama but it is not entirely fiction.

The title makes it seem it is only about fast food but it is really about the entire meat industry, especially in the United States. We go about our lives blissfully unaware of where our food comes from and how it ends up on our plates. Most people do not really care about how much suffering the animals go through before they become our food, but maybe they would care more if they knew how much poison they were consuming when they eat these animals.

The film has several separate story lines. We see illegal immigrants who work in the meat packing plant, kids working in the fast food restaurant, and a corporate marketing executive.

"Fast Food Nation" did not do well during it's theatrical run. Most people were afraid to see it. The DVD has excellent extra features that are just as good as the film. I encourage everyone to see this film and to stop living in ignorance about the food that we eat.

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Hard to swallow!

Author: toxiemite from Melbourne, Australia
17 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Hmmm, an interesting one!!! I love Richard Linklater and I loved every single performance in this film.

But I have loads of problems with it too. For the moment I'll ignore the fact that its a film made by vegetarians with one agenda in mind....

The construction of the film seemed to be messy. With so many separate stories going on, it seemed that Linklater had too many characters to fit in and so various people have single scenes only while others drop out of the film after being established firmly with the audience.

The film was obviously designed as an attack on the growing concern about the fast food industry... but it had absolutely no effect on me in those terms. Perhaps thats because of the film's satirical nature... im guessing it would have been more potent as a doco (which apparently the book is non-fiction).

I just wasn't convinced that the fast food industry is THAT unsanitary. I know it very well may be, but this film didn't help convince me. If the food was so contaminated, why did the people who knew this fact keep eating it!?? And then there's the slaughter house. Yes, there is some very detailed and graphic scenes of animal slaughter, but this almost seemed like a desperate final attempt to ween the viewer off meat. It didn't succeed with me. I eat meat and I know that animals are slaughtered. Where else does meat come from? The animals in the film were killed humanely and quick and at no time did I feel guilty.

Animal slaughter is not pleasant but its a fact of life. The same meat they are telling us ends up in greasy and grotty burgers also ends up in the butcher shop and supermarkets. All the while I kept thinking of Sam Neill dancing the Chicken Dance... "We like to boogie" (that's an Aussie reference).

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Poignant, eye opening and frightening.

Author: (Greatornot) from United States
8 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

What an important movie this is. So very true. I have been turned off of fast foods for a while but now I might not even go once in a while. This movie brought to light the exploitation of people, animals and nature and it was done in a way that was tasteful. I will never again eat meat. That is how powerful this movie was to me. Corporate bottom-line comes before life, severed limbs and forestry. This movie drives the point ,drives the point and than some. The robotic way people behave in their jobs is also brought to light . The writers , cleverly humanized these people away from their jobs. In summation , I came away with a better understanding of illegal immigration, corporate fascism that exists and just the basic way people just 'act' content. The scene with the cows not moving when they can ,could very well have been a metaphor of people just not making waves, nicely done. I wonder if I am the only one that caught this in the movie. Along with 'Thank you for not Smoking' and 'Supersize Me' this is a must see movie.

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