On DVD: Super Size Me Remains a Must-See (Even in Annoying Cash-Grab Anniversary Form)
Why are activist documentary-makers so obnoxious? Michael Moore, for one, is universally loathed even by scores of people that agree with him, and his legions of imitators, in hundreds of political films over the last decade or two, are rarely better. I appreciated the sensible thrust of Bill Maher's Religulous, but would've liked to see him fall under a bus by the end of his atheist roadtrip. Looking at the new "6½ -Year Anniversary" edition of Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, the issues of obesity and bad American diets are not nearly as immediate as how and when we can get Spurlock to shut the hell up.
Of course, the meat, so to speak, of Super Size Me is that chemically-devised corporate fast food should be eaten only in strict moderation. Say the same thing about Spurlock -- too much of him made my liver ache. Of course, Super Size Me remains a must-see, and has found its proper place in the public discussion and as a tool for educators, even as Americans continue to grow fat as elephant seals, and get fatter as they grow poorer, and do it, quite obviously, to fill the trough of their meaningless lives with annual metric tons of genetically-engineered Frankenfoods and processed fat products and more sugar and salt than any earthbound mammal should ever consume in a lifetime.
Not that it's not McDonald's fault. As we now know, thanks to Spurlock and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation, fast-food mega-corporations devise their products to be addictive, and they therefore should be on the cusp of a tobacco-industry-style civil lawsuit big enough to send Ronald McD to the soup kitchen. One can dream. Not enough McD eaters watch documentaries, apparently. If they did -- or, if I was a federal judge and mandated that every McDonald's keep Spurlock's movie running in their dining areas, 24/7 -- then at least the obesity-map-effect scene, where decades of increased mega-fat-itude are illustrated on an animated map, would close the deal for many.
Spurlock himself, though, is a pain, and the new DVD is merely a remarketing ploy, adorning the film with a few interview/Q&A supplements in which Spurlock performs like a stand-up comic. Werner Herzog would make a better stand-up comic. I'll grant a few triumphs -- Spurlock's evocation of his post-filming bodily state, when in addition to 25 extra pounds and a liver on the verge of molecular collapse, he "exuded a heady McMusk," a smell which, he suggests, might've attracted wild animals but was otherwise repellent. A college student asks him about the issue of fat people being disenfranchised the way smokers are, to which Spurlock replies, "Nobody ever died from second-hand obesity."
But he's generally a grating presence, and the new DVD, in fact, has only those new supplements on it; the original DVD's deleted scenes, audio commentary, extras like 13 Bags of Garbage, and so on, are gone. Whatta tool.