Fast food nation movie summary
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric SchlosserFast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. Thats a lengthy list of charges, but here Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.
Schlossers myth-shattering survey stretches from Californias subdivisions where the business was born to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike where many fast foods flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.
Fast Food Nation Summary
Early in the film a fast-food executive named Don Anderson Greg Kinnear is dispatched to Colorado to investigate reports of E. Linklater, dwells on conditions in the feed lots and slaughterhouses where future hamburgers live and die, it can plausibly, if a bit glibly, be interpreted as a brief for vegetarianism. Hence the impulse to point out that contaminated leafy greens have recently sickened more people than dirty meat. So there. While the climactic images of slaughter and butchery — filmed in an actual abattoir — may seem intended to spoil your appetite, Mr. Linklater and Mr. Schlosser have really undertaken a much deeper and more comprehensive critique of contemporary American life.
L et's get one thing straight. The arrowhead of Schlosser's polemic was a sensational revelation about "faecal matter" in the beef patties. So what on earth is the point of a movie version that is fictional? A fictional version that is often leadenly acted and scripted, and cravenly attacks only an imaginary burger firm called "Mickey's" - leaving McDonald's and the other real players unchallenged? It's a fictional version that, furthermore, betrays the ferocious spirit of the original by assigning the sleuth role to a troubled, liberal exec within the Mickey's organisation who is finally, it seems, unable to change anything at all. This movie has taken a firebrand book and turned it into a whingeing piece of defeatism.
A throwaway scene in Richard Linklater's Fast Food Nation may be the key to the whole movie: Checking out of a chain hotel in Colorado, after a fact-finding mission for his fast-food company, Mickey's, has led to disturbing revelations, Greg Kinnear answers a battery of questions from the cheery clerk behind the counter. When she asks whether he enjoyed his stay, Kinnear says "No," but she just moves right along to the next question. She doesn't care about the answers, only getting through the same customer-service script she executes all day. And yet moments like the clerk scene make it haunting nonetheless, because Linklater succeeds in capturing the dehumanized landscape of fast-food culture, in which everyone is following the script. Schlosser's prismatic look at the industry, from labor issues and feedlot conditions to minor details like the perfume that gives McDonald's fries their special allure, has been turned into a Traffic of low-grade meat. The first half mostly follows Kinnear, a pragmatic Mickey's marketing VP who heads out to the company's Colorado meatpacking source after hearing reports that there's too much shit in the meat. What he finds disturbs him: cattle crammed together in unsanitary industrial feedlots, dangerous working conditions at the meatpacking plant, and a workforce of low-paid, undocumented Mexican immigrants.