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Fast Food Nation Reviews

Page 2 of 174
August 11, 2014
"Fast Food Nation" is an admirable cinematic experiment, with an interesting - even provocative - cast (Bruce Willis? Avril Lavigne?) that can't stop it from being doomed. In order to be effective, art needs feeling and surprise, both of which are in short order here, with the occasional triumphant line of dialogue ("the most patriotic thing to do is to ignore the Patriot Act"), and two great scenes toward the end-the ambitious young revolutionaries trying their clumsy best and failing, then the eerily soundtracked scene at the kill floor, the only possible climax to a film like this, a moment when every tear is earned. That doesn't stop Linklater from overshooting and numbing that scene's impact with the final shot, a burger handed off to a newly arrived illegal immigrant. It's a microcosm for the rest of the film-100% true, possibly creepy in an Eric Schlosser book, too self-conscious of its cleverness to hit anywhere close to home.
July 25, 2014
The spiritual successor to Altman's Nashville. This is one of Linklater's finest films, a portrait of a machine unaware of its own mechanisms. The magnitude of the parallels presented through the various characters and scenarios is masterfully allegorical.
May 8, 2014
much better than all those Michael Moore movies because it's entertaining and kept me engaged till the end.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

April 27, 2014
"I'm gonna fast food nation, just-a wanna have some fun, yeah!". Sorry, Sammy Hagar, but I don't reckon that forced Montrose reference fits, because the process of fasting from food is doing the exact opposite of eating a lot, and I don't know if this film is all that much fun. By that, I mean both that this film is slow and that this take on the subject of criticizing fast food is a little heavier than "Super Size Me", so to speak (Ha-ha, obesity joke). This is one of those handful of moments in which a documentary is a little more entertaining than a drama that deals with the same subject, and I can't say I'm surprised, because it's hard to predict the entertainment value of a film directed by the guy who did both "School of Rock" and "Waking Life". I'd say that Richard Linklater is quite the diverse filmmaker, but he just can't seem to get out of Texas, or at least won't allow Ethan Hawke to do so, which is good, I reckon, because as annoyingly liberal as Austin can be, it's better than being stuck in bad parts of Los Angeles. Well, this film was at least just shot in a bunch of parts of Texas, where I doubt the film was actually set, because as proud of a Texan as Linklater is, you know that he would be promoting him some Whataburger, which would likely be more willing to lend its name for usage in this film than McDonald's. Yeah, McDonald's must simply be getting tired of everyone only getting mad at them, but hey, at least we get some decent films out of them getting the business about their business, including this one, which, like McDonald's, still has some problematic bits to its recipe.

In a couple of areas, the film is kind of all over the place, and it's certainly that when it comes to pacing, because as if Richard Linklater's directorial dryness doesn't stiffen momentum enough, Linklater's and Eric Schlosser's script goes dragged out by repetitious filler set pieces and even a couple excessive narrative layers which bloat focus to the point of losing consistency. The film ambitiously juggles various subplots involving the discovery of dark business secrets, the perspective of members of different stages in a questionable business process, and a few other affairs, and with all of that going on, the film ends up being pretty uneven, partly because it doesn't take much time to settle in on developing the various dramatic layers. No, the film is more thematic than dramatic, being kind of lacking in human depth as an ensemble character story, the fleshing out of which could have ironically made for a more thematically effective opus, the depths of which are undercut enough by an unevenness in tone. I suppose this is generally a continuation of Linklater's more dramatic movement following "Bad News Bears", but Linklater cannot completely wash away the lighter moments that, while often effective in livening things up, feel less like comic relief and more like jarring breaks in dramatic weight that is to ostensibly to be taken seriously, as reflected by Linklater's getting to be a little too thoughtful in his direction. As I said earlier, scripted pacing is problematic enough, but a bigger problem might very well be atmospheric pacing, as Linklater adopts his most thoughtful tone in quite some time, and often gets carried away with it, to the point of all-out dryness and, dare I say, dullness, which further thins down a sense of weight that is softened enough by unrealized characterization and whatnot, until Linklater tries too hard to drive home dramatic weight. Moments of slight tonal abrasiveness and obvious visuals inspired subtlety lapses which reflect ambition through all of the laziness, and such a sloppy formula goes challenged enough by genuine inspiration to save the film, but, well, barely. The final product flirts with mediocrity as an uneven drama that is too lacking in depth and entertainment value to be all that effective, but what the film does right is done very right, and that even goes further certain aesthetic touches.

As one of Richard Linklater's more dry endeavors in relatively recent years, this film is very unevenly exploratory of musicality, but that only makes it all the more special when post-rock band Friends of Dean Martinez delivers on a subtly dynamic and intricate score whose personal artistic value and atmospheric value do a lot to drive highlights in the film's aesthetic value, sustained throughout the final product by cinematography by Lee Daniel whose watery coloration and subtle lighting are handsomely unique and fitting to the grimy tone of the drama. Style is solid in this drama of limited substance, and when Linklater, as director, does indeed influence substance with style, in addition to controlled moments in generally questionable pacing, the film bites as genuinely intriguing, both thematically, and dramatically. Of course, if there are dramatic highlights here, they're perhaps mostly the doing, not of Linklater's performance, but of the performances found throughout a hefty, if oversized cast of esteemed talents whose convincingness, often mixed with solid dramatic layering, does a much finer job of selling the human factor of this drama than the storytelling. Depth is seriously lacking in a lot of ways to storytelling, and were it not for the worthy, if underwritten performances the final product could have perhaps sunk deeper into the brink of mediocrity, and yet, there are still those highlights in storytelling, and certainly value to subject matter. On paper, the film's story is of greater worth than its execution, as a drama that studies on various interpretations of morally challenging affairs, and as a deconstruction of the fast food industry and the problematic technical and human factors behind it, with a great potential for intrigue that is done only so much justice by Linklater and Eric Schlosser, as screenwriters. The script is overblown, undercooked and often even unsubtle, and that's a problem so big that it threatens the decency of the final product, which is actually secured partly by highlights in Linklater's and Schlosser's scripting, whose razor-sharp dialogue keeps up a degree of entertainment value during all of the dull chatter, and whose extensiveness as a showcase of worthy themes intrigues about as much as highlights in memorable characterization and plot structuring. The script has flat elements, in addition to elements that are all-out strong, as surely as Linklater's direction meets its own flat elements with strengths, enough to drive the final product as adequately effective, if not what it should have been and wants to be.

When the order is up, uneven pacing, focus and tone, serious underdevelopment and alternations between a bland lack of flare and some glaring subtlety lapses threaten even decency in the promising project, but through solid scoring and cinematography, thoughtful direction, strong performances and clever highlights in the scripted interpretation of dramatically and thematically worthy subject matter, mediocrity is challenged enough for "Fast Food Nation" to stand as a serviceably intriguing and sometimes thought-provoking, if often either overambitious or lazy portrait on the grimy depths and varying interpretations of the flawed fast food industry.

2.5/5 - Fair
March 4, 2007
Something I'd grabbed cheap at Big Lots that turned out to be well worth the $3, though I wasn't prepared for the slightly scattershot feel of the ensemble cast, so that took a bit of getting used to, as I was expecting things to focus more on Greg Kinnear than on the other random folks we meet along the way.

Worth a rental.
December 30, 2013
It's decent in the sense where it reminds us of where processed food comes from but for anyone who's mildly educated in the matter none of it is surprising. The part at the end with the slaughter was supposed to be a disturbing gross out, which yes it is but regardless of whether an animal is slaughtered on a ranch or slaughterhouse it's basically the same process so it really lacked the punch it was going for. Slaughterhouse, car factory, etc all run risk of hurting yourself when you're operating heavy machinery designed to cut things. The little "free the cows" escapade showing the cows not wanting to leave and be complacent connecting with the society's own complacency wasn't a stretch to grasp and kind of insulting really that it was supposed to have more of an impact.. Bringing in the illegal workers was pretty unnecessary considering the poor citizens in our own country working in factories aren't immune to the same situations with working in a dangerous factory at odd hours although it did add some melodrama. Nobody was forced to do anything that they didn't agree to in the first place. And why is this targeting only America like it's the only country in the world applicable to these things? I appreciate the heart behind it but really the whole yarn is pretty pointless.
November 19, 2013
Eric Schlosser's book, Fast Food Nation, is a great read because it gives engaging descriptions and details backed by research to explain the crazy state of our food economy, but this movie is just terrible. It is superficial. I am guessing (hoping) Schlosser regrets having his name and book associated with this title. Watch Food, Inc, to see the real version of his book...he's interviewed in that one and his stories are in it, too. Why the DVD Fast Food Nation has the name it does is a mystery to me. I am a teacher who has used the book in my class.
March 23, 2007
i might want to see this movie but i'm sure if i did it would change my life and i like it the way it is.
June 5, 2013
a director on a mission with and interesting look at things.
June 3, 2013
Fictional film based on non-fictional book loses all creditbilty by using pseudo names and places instead of the facts. Long list of celebs participate in this but why? Should have just made a documentry about real dealings of the fast food industry instead of this boring scripted mess.
March 31, 2013
As is often the case, the book is SO much better.
March 9, 2013
i wasn't able to enjoy this movie. so dirty. i eat fast food very rarely. however, after watching this movie, i won't. ugh, nasty meat! i'm not a vegetarian but it wasn't a pleasure to see the nasty & illegal butchery & guts. o yuck! i couldn't sleep and eat meat for a little while.
March 4, 2013
I'll have to see first!
March 8, 2007
Eye opening. I'll never look at fast food the same again. And if I do, I need to re-watch this.
Dann M

Super Reviewer

February 14, 2013
"We all have to eat a little sh** from time to time." Director Richard Linklater helms the political drama Fast Food Nation. Inspired by a non-fiction book, the film follows several intertwining stories related to the fast-food industry; from the immigrant worker to the corporate executive. However, the stories are a bit disjointed and don't have a strong connection to each other. Still, they're quite interesting and have some compelling characters. The ensemble cast features Greg Kinnear, Patricia Arquette, Bruce Willis, Ethan Hawke, Kris Kristofferson, and Avril Lavigne; who all deliver solid performances. While it's fairly entertaining, the politics of Fast Food Nation end up interfering with the storytelling.
January 3, 2008
MESSAGE MOVIE! And it forces its message down your throat by making any character that isn't a simple-minded "activist" into a fucking coked up rapist. Horrible characterization and absolutely no satisfying resolution to most of the "plots". Ethan Hawke's character in particular just raped us with the movie's message. Oh, and fuck Avril Lavigne who is the walking, talking, product of this great machine that sucks in the minds of "rebellious" fourteen year old girls with hypocritical, shallow, bullshit.
January 28, 2013
A brutally honest look at the magic behind fast food.
Ofeli G.
January 24, 2013
Promising, but needed to be a lot better.
January 18, 2013
Really enjoyed the approach of the movie, clearly shows realities that aren't hard to believe about the fast food industry but it makes me want to research if it's true that there's beef shit in my fast food burger delicacies!
Page 2 of 174
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