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Movie Review: Fast Food Nation

Alternate Title: E Coli Unam

Story: Like so many good books very often the film version doesn't cut the mustard. And speaking of mustard, this film from director Richard Linklater based on the book by Eric Schlosser misses the mark as a good film but still has a very important story to tell. Schlosser and Linklater decided to turn the non-fiction book into a quasi-fictional film. They added a storyline to a film that should have remained a documentary. But, oh well, it still hits many points.

I walked away from the movie deciding I would never eat another fast food burger again. EVER! I am even considering returning to my former vegetarian days (and don't start to tell me about the dangers of eating spinach, please).

The film covers the contamination of our food chain through the eyes of a fast food restaurant chain, called Mickey's. Is there fecal matter in their product? A Sr. Marketing man from the company goes to the plant where all of the beef is processed to find out. This is where we meet the poor illegal Mexican immigrants who work there and we also get to meet tangential characters who serve, eat, or otherwise surround this manufacturing town. And then we meet the cattle. Moo!

The film highlights the food chain from the bottom of the ladder, including the cattle and the human chattel to the middle managers, to the top of the feeding chain - the corporate suit who does not care what goes into the product or how the workers are treated as long as the bottom line is in black. Oh, woe is me.

The film gets very hard to swallow as the horrors of the processing plant are graphically shown. I felt sorry for everyone in the film except for the suits. I hated them.

This is a well intentioned film but it is too scatter shot. Characters come and go too quickly with no resolution. We are what we eat. Be careful out there.

Acting: The film has a rich ensemble cast including: Greg Kinnear, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Wilmer Valderrama, Ana Claudia Talancon, Ashley Johnson, Bobby Cannavale, Patricia Arquette, Luis Guzman, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson and Bruce Willis

Predilection: None

Critters: Oh my - lots and lots of cattle.

Food: The abovementioned cattle, fries, etc.

Blatant Product Placement: Every fast food chain you can think of but I doubt that they paid for any advertisement to be in this film.

Theater Audience: About ten guys and me.

Weather: The weather looks nice in this Colorado town.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: 5 - Very squirmy in the plant.

Drift Factor: It got a little long in the middle.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: Rental would be fine.

Length: Under two hours.