‘Super Size Me’: Delicious documentaries about food
At 2017’s Toronto Film Festival, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock was enjoying a high from the premiere of his documentary Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! A sequel to the infamous 2004 film Super Size Me, Spurlock’s update explores the ways in which the fast food industry has rebranded itself as healthier since his original film, as he opens his own fast food restaurant to expose the ways rebranding is more to do with perception than reality.
The film was a hit at the festival and YouTube Red picked up the film (streaming and theatrical rights) for a reported price of $3.5 million. Things were looking good for Spurlock and for the release of the sequel – that is, until the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke and the #MeToo movement emerged as a result.
In the wake of the allegations engulfing the entertainment industry, the filmmaker revealed in a confessional post that a woman he’d slept with in college “believed she was raped” and that he realized he was “part of the problem.” It was a shocking confession and one that led to YouTube dropping the film and Spurlock resigning from his Warrior Poets production company.
Controversy aside, the film itself is currently in limbo due to Spurlock’s revelation and his actions, with farmer Charles Morris – who appears in the film – desperate to see its release as he believes it is an essential and urgent look inside his industry.
Speaking to Business Insider, Morris declared, “I want it to come out, and not for me but for every chicken farmer in America. It needs to be seen. This is not about Morgan Spurlock, this is about the industry and us farmers and how we’re being treated.”
Morris is now fighting to get the movie to the big screen, although he is yet to receive a response from YouTube. Either way, it sounds like Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken! is an important documentary in that it highlights issues within the farming industry and the food market as a whole. if that’s made you hungry check out this easy fried chicken recipe.
It’s up in the air whether Morris will see victory with his battle to get the film out to the public. While you wait, check out our list of the best documentaries that changed the way the world looks at food.
Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret (2014)
This award-winning documentary follows environmentalist Kip Andersen’s journey as he daringly delves into the industrial farming industry and seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues today.
Playing out like an actual thriller, this film has so many twists, turns, and OMG moments that it will have you on the edge of your seat in disbelief (and might just make you think twice next time you’re picking up a ten pack of chicken drumsticks at your local Walmart).
Food Inc. (2008)
Starring Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, and Richard Lobb, Food Inc. is an unflattering look inside America’s corporate controlled food industry and its harmful effects on human health and the environment.
Food Inc. was one of the first films to highlight the dangerous dealings of Monsanto with the farming trade to a wide audience and, like Cowspiracy, will make you think twice about how produce makes its way to the shelves when you’re doing your next weekly food shop.
Forks Over Knives (2011)
“Let food be thy medicine,” is a statement that rings true in Lee Fulkerson’s eye-opening documentary examining the profound claim that most (if not all) of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled or even reversed by rejecting animal-based and processed foods.
Rather than making bold claims like the food industry likes to do, Forks Over Knives backs up its statements with facts, case studies, and scientific research, including a look at the China Study – the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted. Recent research throws much of this doc’s conclusions into doubt, however.
What the Health (2017)
In their follow up to Cowspiracy, Kip Andersen & Keegan Kuhn released What the Health. In a similar vein to Forks Over Knives, Kip uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing degenerative diseases while uncovering dark secrets that even the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want people knowing about.
They always say if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian. Whether you agree with this statement or you think it’s a load of bull, Earthlings undoubtably stands as those proverbial glass walls.
A documentary filled with hidden-camera clips revealing the pain and suffering of factory farm animals on a devastating scale, Earthlings exposes the day-to-day practices of the largest industries in the world, all of which rely entirely on animals for profit whether that be for food, clothing, or entertainment.
Chef’s Table (2015 – )
Netflix’s prestige docuseries is a glorious study on some of the world’s most innovative chefs, with each episode focusing on a single renowned food artist by delving into their personal life, their talent, and what drives them to do what they do and create their most delectable of dishes. If this show doesn’t make you want to journey to the corners of the earth to taste the food of these great innovators, we don’t know what will.
That Sugar Film (2015)
Damon Gameau’s sweet & sour documentary sees him embark on an experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body. Entertaining and informative, That Sugar Film is also deeply disturbing as it highlights one of our most consumed ingredients is also one of the most damaging.
Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story (2014)
This film sets out to highlight the issue of food waste in the Western world by following Canadian couple Jenny Rustemeyer & Grant Baldwin as they decide to eat only food that would otherwise have been wasted for six months. As they embark on their culinary cruise, they are continually shocked to discover billions of dollars of good food is tossed into the trash each year in North America.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
David Gelb’s 2011 documentary follows Jiro Ono – an 85-year-old sushi master and owner of Sukiyabashi Jiro, a Michelin three-star restaurant. As we’re shown in-depth interviews and vivid pictures of the preparation and care that goes into the creation of Jiro’s sushi, Gelb paints a portrait of a man who is a miracle of perfectionism and skill.