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Fast Food Nation Reviews

Page 1 of 174
cosmo313
cosmo313

Super Reviewer

April 23, 2012
Based on the non-fiction expose about the dirty secrets of the fast food industry, this is a fiction adaptation directed by Richard Linklater, and co-written by him and the book's author Eric Schlosser.

What we get here are a series of interconnected stories revolving around the various people involved with a fast food chain, and the role that the restaurant and various aspects connected to it affect all of these people, and vice versa. It seems like a rather odd and challenging way to adapt a work of non-fiction, but somehow it kinda works.

Granted, the film barely scratches the surface, and seems a little too neat, tidy, and convenient in places, but it strikes a nice balance between being a message movie like the similar Super Size Me or Food, Inc. and still being entertaining without too much pretense or over-the-top manipulation to make a point. Yes, there's some disturbing moments and images, but it's not as revolting and off putting as you might be lead to believe.

Instead, it's rather nuanced. and more about the human stories and the role of fast food within culture as opposed to being an extremist piece of muckraking propaganda.

As he is good at doing, Linklater has a wonderful ensemble cast lined up for this which includes Ethan Hawke, Greg Kinnear, Patricia Arquette, Bonbby Cannavale, Wilmer Valderama, and two wonderful,. if not brilliant appearances from Kris Kristofferson and (especially) Bruce Willis. Most of their performances are pretty good too...for the most part. Avril Lavigne sucks it up, but at least she's not in it for too long.

All in all, a pretty decent film. I'm not going to become a vegetarian as a result of watching this, and it didn't tell me a whole lot that I didn't already know, but at least gave some more awareness and the arguments that are made are pretty well balanced are well done, too.
hunterjt13
hunterjt13

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2012
A marketing director for a major fast food joint investigates reports that there is "shit in the meat."
I suppose that attempting to fictionalize a non-fiction book about a systemic problem sets one up to create plastic characters who stand in for larger social problems, and to put Richard Linklater whose characters are plastic anyway only compounds the problem. Typical of Linklater, the heroes and villains are clearly defined; the heroes are anti-establishment types who spout conspiracy theories, and the villains are either conspirators, dupes in the process, or like the cows in the penultimate scene of the film, too stupid to do anything substantial. There are some Mexican illegal immigrants who have some interesting differences from the basic Linklater approach, but these characters aren't substantial enough to carry the film. Additionally, plot elements like Brian's planned robbery and Don's further investigation are inexplicably dropped, leaving parts of the film unfinished.
On a positive note, the film's heart is in the right place. Linklater and co-writer Eric Schlosser are writing against fast food joints, and their arguments are similar to Michael Pollan's. With disgusting images of the kill floor in a slaughterhouse and charges that such places are exploiting illegal labor markets, this argument is strong, and I hope that it finds a receptive audience.
Overall, as a film, Fast Food Nation is not very good, but as a social argument, I can't hate it too much.
TheDudeLebowski65
TheDudeLebowski65

Super Reviewer

July 2, 2012
Poorly constructed film that could have been much better considering the themes of the film. I haven't read the book yet, but as far as this film is concerned, I felt it was a poorly done film with plenty of miscast parts. The film could have been good, by actually being a documentary instead of a feature. Overall I thought that the film showed a portion of what's the industry does, but it didn't do anything really good with the material at hand. Considering the topic, you'd think they would add something substantial to the script, but all this film ends up being is a badly acted film that just shows part of industry, and ignores a lot of the important issues. Stripping down the important material, and basically fictionalizing the story, it really makes Fast Food Nation just ends up being uninteresting. The end result is a film that just fails in being entertaining, but most importantly the film fails to raise awareness about the practices of the Fast Food industry. This film could have been good, but it simply doesn't work and the acting is pretty sloppy. Ultimately you lose focus on what's going on, and you just don't end up caring for the material. This is a film that was better off at trying to be adapted directly from the source material, instead of being interpreted into something else. Even if the issues are important, this film isn't, and it ultimately just becomes dull, and uninspired. This could have been a great film, even if it has a powerful message, it fails because of the bad script and performances, and that's a shame.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

July 29, 2010
A film about food that disgusts with the same intent as the documentaries Food Inc. and Super Size Me, this barely broaches the true nature of the industry that feeds billions but lies with the same intent as any movie villain. Though the film is intricately varied, relating several different paths into one contingent storyline, it rarely reveals its message or intent, instead just going for pure shock value. Yes, the tales of illegal immigrants being exploited all for the sake of a livelihood is awful, execs ignoring key health code violations is deplorable, and the lack of regulation in this powerhouse of an industry is both socially bereft of empathy and sadistic, but what exactly do you want us to take away except a deep level of personal loathing? Sure, activism is a surefire answer, even the more pacifist views expressed as well as references to Green Peace and that of action, but there is no clear indication that the film wants anyone to take this into account. We are instead subjugated to our sterling cast, made up of cameos including Bruce Willis, Avril Lavigne, and Ethan Hawke, popping in just to lend star appeal before fading out again so we can get back to the plant, where atrocities happen one after another like unwanted fireworks. It might have been more powerful if the corporation was under threat at one point, but much of this just panders to our inherent sensibilities and gag reflexes. The scenes of putting down cows was especially catered to end on some sick low note, and though certainly good enough for a film competing with real world documentaries, there is no buildup for it to happen at all. Powerful for all the wrong reasons, I can safely say that this film makes me want to stay far from fast food.
Coxxie M

Super Reviewer

December 4, 2009
Avril Lavigne trained, mentally prepared, and totally morphed into her character. i was completely fooled into thinking she was this anorexic, worthless, hair-flipping, obnoxious teen bitch who sleeps in her black hoodie and hasn't digested one cheeseburger that she has eaten. fascinating transformation.
garyX
garyX

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2007
Based on a factual and damning indictment of the fast food industry by Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation tries terribly hard to be the "Traffic" of the meat packing industry, but the fictionalized approach lacks the biting satire required to do the material justice. The story begins quite well, focusing on a fast food company executive investigating an allegation that their burgers have "got shit in them" and it makes for a couple of good scenes involving nice cameos by Bruce Willis as a corporate hard ass and Kris Kristofferson as a jaded rancher. But half way through the film he just disappears, never to be seen again and it turns into a daytime soap opera about immigration?! Obviously fearing McLawyers, the film is based on fictitious companies and therefore passes the buck onto non-existent perpetrators and the whole thing just feels like a toothless, unfocused tirade by an easily ignored soap box environmentalist. Done as a straight documentary adaptation of the book it would've been a powerful statement but if Linklater really felt the need to dramatize he should've watched Thank You For Smoking first to see how it's done.
puffchunk
puffchunk

Super Reviewer

October 23, 2007
Meat factories are gross. Duh. Yet somehow they made a movie about it, and tried to do some character development which ended up just wasting my time.
Lanning :

Super Reviewer

January 7, 2008
Fast Food Nation is a tricky title for this movie. The idea of our obsession with fast food is foregrounded, but this film is trying to touch on as many sad facets of 21st-century America as it can. From immigration and second-language issues, to service industry working conditions and pay, to corporate lobbying, to a kind of over-glazing homogenization of thinking, Linklater is interested in hitting as many problem issues as possible. It's no wonder that so many actors were willing to jump in for the casting call -- so many "pet" issues -- no pun intended -- they themselves might champion are included, even if only peripherally. As for the "entertainment" value of Fast Food Nation, well, at moments it's there. The cattle who won't leave the pen once the fence is cut down is kind of amusing, though tragically true to life. Unfortunately, in the desire to say something about almost everything, those moments are few, far between, and more quickly killed than the poor cattle in the rush to move on or back to the next issue. Of course there is value in addressing issues, even if there are too many of them to actually do justice to any single one. Think All the President's Men. Now there's a movie that can never be watched too often. The issue of the Nixon administration must never be forgotten. Yes, this Richard Linklater project is good for at least one watch, and it's always heartening to see Esai Morales doing good work. Now there's an actor whose career I keep hoping will finally get kicked into high gear. Morales has a presence, a core intensity that has yet to be fully acknowledged. Check him out closely in the face-to-face scene with Greg Kinnear. Kinnear can't even hope to hold up his end of the conversation. Want to see acting talent? Just concentrate on Morales' hands in that scene -- forget everything else. It's like what I was saying about June Allyson attempting to stand on her own with Barbara Stanwyck in Executive Suite. Incredibly lopsided. No contest, really. Stanwyck's in a different league. Ditto Morales with Kinnear. La Bamba, now, I know, seems like a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Morales was young and a little raw then, but you could still see that he was the very top talent in that movie. I gotta add Morales to my favorite actor list right now.
Nani V

Super Reviewer

November 26, 2007
I like it...but...a little disturbing. I don't know if I can watch it again.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2006
I know what Fast Food Nation was trying to do, but I didn't care despite the cheapest of theatrics (see the kill floor scene.) I was under the impression that I'd be getting some kind of biting satire but all I really saw was an attack on the government and corporate America. I felt like I was watching a low rent cross between Thank You For Smoking and Syriana that relied on a parade of cameos by mostly b-list celebrities and an ambitious but poorly executed script of intersecting storylines and painful dialogue. Dreary, preachy, depressing disappointing and boring, but mostly boring. Mostly disappointing if you consider that Richard Linklater did this. This movie can suck a big rubbery one.
James A

Super Reviewer

October 2, 2007
A great premise that is lost on this ham fisted and poorley executed film. This movie does for animal activists what Land of the Dead does for Zombies.
gor41
gor41

Super Reviewer

August 20, 2007
Tips over into polemic towards the end but on the whole offers an even handed critic on the system behind your burgers. It holds back the gore till late on in a calculated bid to shock but singularly failed for me - after all, how do people think a living animal ends up on your plate ? The starry cast list does have the whiff of left wing liberals supporting the 'cause' but the characters are just about believable enough for you to overlook this.
Edward B

Super Reviewer

June 24, 2007
It would have been better as a documentary, but Linklater is great at creating interesting characters, and that at least saves the film's dramatic clumsiness.
Rico Z

Super Reviewer

December 9, 2006
Fast Food Nation could have been a good movie if it had focused more on its satirical edge than trying to make a social statement through blatant one-sided storytelling. Don't get me wrong, the message is an important one to take with you: be careful what you eat and why you're eating it. Think of the repercussions of your actions, etc. But the movie fails miserably at conveying this message in an original and entertaining fashion. Sure, the storyline, albeit thin and told over and over again, is compelling and intriguing enough to captivate most viewers who don't know any better. But otherwise, the film falls flat into the empty pool of its grandiose intentions.

Some dark comedy elements are evident beneath the bloody surface and should have been given more attention. Some of the performances--particularly Catalina Sandino Moreno as a hapless migrant meat-packing worker and Bobby Cannavale as her unscrupulous American half-breed boss--are stand-outs in a cast that is comprised of lesser talent and blipping cameos by the likes of Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and even Avril Lavigne. The movie basically tries too hard to be "cool" in its divulging its message, but can't get off the ground. By the time the end of the film comes around, you've seen enough suffering by illegal immigrants and cows and not enough suffering by the corporation that's enabling the hurt.

The movie tries to tell people: STAY AWAY FROM FAST FOOD. I try to tell people: STAY AWAY FROM FAST FOOD NATION. Watch Super Size Me instead.
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.
neumdaddy
neumdaddy

Super Reviewer

March 13, 2007
Shine on me luminous today, and shine on past the tops of my shoulders
Show my feet the step ahead, stay hope on the gilded road to dawn
All the world must forget me now, as scattering ravens its memory flown
And bury my years in bone and ash, please spare not yesterday its tomb
Take me where the song needs singing, take me to the time I'm gone
Where dust of higher things float free, and boughs of ancient forests yawn
Of quiet excite in empty theaters, that merry shadow dance is mine
The truth of dreams is morrow's words, a verse away from being known
So as one concedes Imagine's game, its buoyant laughter wise and long
I leave my eyes and better lives, embalming pulse of showers loom
To walk this path of blinding summits, a thousand kings away from golden
Mike T

Super Reviewer

November 17, 2006
This film feels strangely uninspired for a Linklater venture - it carries an aura of self-indulgence and rather clouded vision. Some of the points that the story brings across are potent and interesting, but it's a message movie with no concern for character development or plot structure. As a footnote, seeing Avril Lavigne deliver such an atrocious piece of "acting" was beyond annoying.
Nicolas K

Super Reviewer

October 6, 2007
There are so many good things about this film: the story so realistically harsh, the actors giving solid performances; I just feel the final result was somehow muddled.
William G

Super Reviewer

November 7, 2006
A big ol' rant of a movie that starts out relatively engaging but soon dissolves into migrant melodrama, all with a note of condescension and a lack of purpose.
shitfaced8
shitfaced8

Super Reviewer

December 22, 2007
Hmmmmm..... This film takes on the hugely ambitious goal of summarizing Eric Schlossers Non-Fiction book Fast Food Nation in a two hour fictionalized movie and the results are mixed. There are a lot of good parts in this movie but I think Linklater bit off a lot more than he was able to chew here. The film has way to much ground to cover and in the end no one portion gets more than an above the surface treatment. From ethical issues, to labour issues, to political issues, to health issues this film attempts to portray it all, and I don't belive that that is possible within the confines of a fictional film. Not while making a good dramtic work at the same time anyways. This film isn't a total failure either, there is a lot in this movie to like. The fact remains that every story in this film could have been a movie in and of itself. Trying to make a film that would cover this much ground and remain good drama was an insane goal that I don't believe anyone could have pulled off. Just when you start to become intrested in the corporate stooge sent to the slaughter house to look into test results of manure ending up in his companies burgers the film cuts away to the illegals who actually have to work in the slaughter house. When you really start getting into that story it cuts into a few teenagers who have to work at these fast food restaurants. At the end you feel like you watched 3-4 (I really can't remeber) short films rather than a cohesive film. As anti-fast food propaganda this isn't a success. As good drama this isn't a success either. That being said there are many good performances here, a lot of portions that do cause you to think about the issues the book raises, the direction is good and so on. I just don't think this film could have possibly lived up to the goals it set for itself with 10 hours to work with, let alone less than 2. The topic is too big, and the kind of issues being tackled here are better suited to the documentary format anyways. Worth a watch but this is by no means a substitute for the book. Read that and give this a watch afterwards because this only scratches the surface.
Page 1 of 174
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