Fast Food Nation Movie Review: Read The Book

Catching up on our Netflix pile, we watched Fast Food Nation last night. This is our movie review: read the book.

The film does a good job of character building and establishment, and we enjoyed the realistic, yet polished, cinematography. However, the level of facts and revelations failed to satisfy. Perhaps 35mm isn’t big enough to hold a book.

Where’s the beef? The movie says there’s feces in the meat because they run the lines too fast to properly remove the intestines from the cows and the manure spills. But like Bruce Willis says in the movie, as long as it’s cheap, and they cook it enough to kill all the e coli, does it matter? — BEN POPKEN


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  1. BII says:

    I liked the film, if only because it does do a pretty good job of depicting what a lot of illegal immigrants go through and the kind of work they do.

    If only for that, the movie is not bad. And Bruce Willis can kinda act.

  2. hubris says:

    The book convinced me to never, *ever* eat fast food again. The movie left me saying “eh”.

  3. girlfriend 6.0 says:

    Loved the book; don’t know how I’d like the movie. Maybe I’ll watch it.

  4. Charles Duffy says:

    @BII: Heh. Kind of like The Jungle, but in reverse.

  5. Pelagius says:

    All I learned from the movie is that

  6. Pelagius says:

    All I learned from the movie is that

  7. Pelagius says:

    All that I learned in the movie is “Working in a slaughterhouse is fucking HAWT!”

  8. BII says:

    @Charles Duffy:

    I don’t get it, am I missing something here?

    In any case, I think it will expose a lot of people to the story of the illegal immigrant in this country. It does a pretty good job in that respect.

    I never read the book, so I have no idea if the book touches on that aspect or not.

  9. mermaidshoes says:

    i really wanted to like this movie, but it was just boring and ineffective. it couldn’t decide whether it wanted to be a documentary or a feature film, and ended up failing at both. yawn.

  10. Juliekins says:

    I wholeheartedly concur with the review. I thought the movie was a huge steaming pile made worse by a unconvincingly earnest Avril Lavigne as an idealist hippie college chick. (Can she even read?) The “let’s set the cows free” scene left me wanting to beat my head against a wall. Was I supposed to like the hippies? Because I was hoping they’d get arrested.

    There were several soliloquies that were delivered with all the finesse of a court-ordered PSA. I found myself bored to tears and not at all sympathizing with the people I think they wanted me to sympathize with. I came away from the movie more upset about the plight of illegal immigrants than anything else.

    Plus, what was with all the sex scenes? I thought this movie was about fast food, not hawt!1!!!!11 sex in the walk-in freezer. (And in the truck, and near the truck, and in a barn, and on TV, etc etc…)

  11. joeblevins says:

    So we should get rid of illegals to have safe fastfood?!?

  12. jmuskratt says:

    Read the book, then watch the movie. The movie “works” better when you have all of the unseen backstory in mind.

  13. B says:

    When I grow up, I’m going to bovine university.

  14. Scott says:


    haha. fantastic

  15. trecool95 says:

    I really liked the book and it turned me off of fast food forever. The movie failed horribly where Thank You For Smoking succeeded.

  16. Kimli says:

    I’ll see your bovine university and raise you marriage to a carrot!

  17. chargernj says:

    The part that most got me was when the immigrant finally reached the town he would be living and working in. While he was riding in the back of the pickup he was looking at all the different restaurants along the main strip. I felt like I was seeing the US through his eyes and all he saw was places to eat. We have so much more than we need here, it’s crazy. Meanwhile he had to make a dangerous border crossing just to get work to support himself.

  18. homerjay says:

    @Scott: @DeeAy:

    Thats it. You people have stood in my way long enough. I’m going to clown college!

  19. nightbird says:

    Haven’t seen the movie, own the book and love it. I haven’t read it in a while, but I don’t recall much about illegal workers. The part that really sticks in my head is the cattle rancher that eventually commited sucicide.

    Another one of Schlosser’s books touches more on the illegal workforce, “Reefer Madness”.

  20. rmz says:

    “There’s feces in the meat because they run the lines too fast to properly remove the intestines from the cows and the manure spills.”

    And when someone near you farts, you may get microscopic bits of feces wafting through the air up into your nose! Ohmigawd! Boycott air!

    The world is filthy, people, and if many of you would spend even one day living in conditions worse than your own you’d realize that despite the apparent “grossness” of much of the way food is prepared in the U.S., we still have it really good and we’re really the last ones that should be worrying so endlessly about contamination.

  21. virgilstar says:

    The bit where they strangled a chicken by spinning it on ots head was the coolest. Those kerrrayzee mexicans!

  22. billybastion says:

    I haven’t read the book but I’ve read snippets here and there. It seems to be pretty interesting stuff, really good facts and figures, much more of a wake up call than Super Size Me, which is good in its own right.

    I have seen the film and frankly, it was pretty boring. I thought Fez was actually not bad in it, but its not like he was playing the most challenging part ever. Overall the movie is sort of slow moving with low impact. If you netflix, (which everyone should), its worth a slot in your queue. Otherwise, dont bother.

  23. bluemeep says:

    @rmz: That’s similar to my thinking. The topic just brings me right back the my 7th grade Social Studies class when we were discussing the New York marketplace in…I think it was the late 19th century, but I could be recalling wrong…

    Stories about workers in the slaughterhouse losing fingers or limbs in the grinders and how common it was to get a little human in your sausage… Yeesh. And I vividly remember the teacher pointing out one illustration of a butcher’s cart. “See that? The meat just hanging there? There wasn’t plastic or refridgeration back then. It’s just sitting there in the sun, collecting bugs and dirt…”

  24. AnnieGetYourFun says:

    This is twice in one day that I’ve come to this site and felt smug for being a vegetarian. What a feeling!

    Actually, the book gives a pretty balanced look at the fast food industry. I think the author really took the time and effort to do some good research, but kept it personable. Also, he refrained from really demonizing anyone.

    Then again, it’s been a while since I read it, so I might be remembering it through the haze of a tofu-clouded memory.

  25. Youthier says:

    If the film inspires anyone to read the book, then I give kudos to the film because the book is awesome.

  26. jerseyjokeboy says:

    I recommend you read the book. It’s a fast read with tons of information, and Schlosser puts it all together nicely. It’s a disturbing ‘behind the scenes’ look of the meat processing industry, and the book is WAY more graphic than the movie, ironically. The movie has a few good scenes, but other than that I thought it was average, nothing special. That’s too bad, because the book is great.

  27. BeeHive says:

    I watched the movie, and while I didn’t think much of the acting in the movie, I believe the message trying to be portrayed says a lot.

    There are two points that really stuck with me, one – that eating fast food is like taking a gamble with your own health. And second that being an illegal immigrant is a multifaceted problem that needs to be addressed.

    The movie did have way to many sex scenes, not something that helped the overall concept of the movie.

    I haven’t read the book yet, but it sounds like the book is a far better choice than watching the movie.

  28. djanes1 says:

    @virgilstar: Wasn’t that Babel?

  29. SuperJdynamite says:

    “The world is filthy, people, and if many of you would spend even one day living in conditions worse than your own…”

    Way to drag out the specious “person B has it worse than person A, therefore person A can never have any legitimate problems” chestnut.

    By your logic shouldn’t even exist because, OMG you guys, there are people in Africa who don’t even have Best Buys!

  30. hooniebear says:

    I think this rejected commercial is better than the movie
    (definitely read the book!!)

  31. arachnophilia says:

    i was rather disappointed. the end of the movie just kind of devolved into an “OMG THEY KILLS COWS” argument. how horrifying. this is supposed to shock me?

    what if i LIKE eating meat?