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King Corn is a feature documentary about two friends, one acre of corn, and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. In King Corn, Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis, best friends from college on the east coast, move to the heartland to learn where their food comes from. With the help of friendly neighbors, genetically modified seeds, and powerful herbicides, they plant and grow a bumper crop of America's most-productive, most-subsidized grain on one acre of Iowa soil. But when they try to follow their pile of corn into the food system, what they find raises troubling questions about how we eat-and how we farm Written by
What you're growing is an industrialized corn. It has been changed over the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years with one goal in mind, which is yield. The way it was done was, not to make every plant produce more so much, as to make the plants tolerate living close together. This plant is kind of an "urban" creature; it lives in these cities of corn. We're now up to close to 200 bushels of corn per acre. That's what, 10,000 pounds? 5 tons of food from 1 acre of land. It's an amazing amount of food!
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I knew this movie was going to be good from the trailers and the reviews I'd read, but I didn't expect to be blown away by such an unpretentious little flick. The truth is, it didn't need pretensions - the facts it presents, clearly and without dramatization at all, are plenty enough to make its point.
This is a documentary in the style of the "Columbo" detective series: a pair of friends wander through the Iowa corn industry, discovering things as they go, and showing us what they discover. Simple enough; but what they discover - and show us as they discover it - is a damning indictment not only of the corn industry, but of the entire American way of factory farming.
What's wrong with high fructose corn syrup? Why is grass-fed beef so HUGELY better than corn-fed beef? How do you force land that's been farmed literally to death to produce crops anyway, and bumper crops at that? See this movie; you'll find out.
Naah, on second thought, don't worry about the questions: just see this movie.
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