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Film: Fast Food Nation Forum

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Welcome! Leaving the cushy confines of the company's Southern California boardroom for the immigrant-staffed slaughterhouses, teeming feedlots and cookie cutter strip malls of Middle America, what Don discovers is a "Fast Food Nation" of consumers who haven't realized it is they who are being consumed by an industry with a seemingly endless appetite for fresh meat. This film is based on material from the book of the same name written by Eric Schlosser. Fast Food Nation, published in 2001 and a New York Times bestseller, was an incendiary nonfiction exploration of the industry. Please join in the discussion!

Comments are posted in the order in which they are received, with earlier postings appearing first below on this page. To see the latest postings, click on "Go to last comment" below.

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Name: Devin
Date: 2006-11-20 11:40:15
Link to this Comment: 21034

Richard Linklater took on a difficult task when he began working with Eric Schlosser to adapt Schlosser's bestselling non-fiction expose into a cohesive fictional narrative. Having read the book a few years ago, I was really excited to see how the filmmmakers adapted it--there was so much information in the book about every level of the fast food industry, many vignettes about its founders and workers, and one of the parts of the book that had fascinated me the most was the historical rise of the fast food industry--hard to integrate into a narrative, I would think. A lot for any film to tackle in two hours, especially a film that uses fiction to convey the facts the way that Fast Food Nation does.

By letting individual character arcs represent entire groups of people involved in the fast food industry, Linklater and Schlosser created a narrative out of non-fiction. A few key people were followed over the course of the movie: the white-collar marketing man (Greg Kinnear), the Mexican illegal meat packing workers, and a fast food worker. Their interactions with the industry and those around them give the film its form. Using specific characters with whom the audience empathizes gives the workers and executives a face to identify with, presumably to increase the audience's emotional involvement in the film. However, would a documentary been as informative, if not more so? I'm curious if other people thought that using fiction to craft this expose was ultimately effective. Do you feel that the movie's tactic of using characters with whom you could empathize and appealing to your emotions was effective or would another approach have better convinced you?

Also, it seemed to me that the film had a hard time crafting an appealing narrative as well as convey some of the very real horrors of the fast food industry and its effects on all levels of American society, kind of alternating meaningful scenes and character development. Do you think that the story and your emotional involvement in it suffered because of the way it was being used to convey information? Furthermore, do you think that the filmmakers effectively balanced the individuality of the characters with the class and functions that they represented?

Fast Food Nation
Name: Eric Movie
Date: 2006-11-29 15:26:37
Link to this Comment: 21227

I thought the use of fictional characters to tell the non-fiction narrative of the story was well done. I feel it made the viewer empathize more with the story and the decisions and compromizes the characters are faced with. It pointed out very real issues our society must deal with, yet its story format is composed and written to be entertaining as well. I thought the acting performances were excellent.

If you like realism and movies that make you think, you'll enjoy "Fast Food Nation". I probably see close to one hundred films a year in the theater (new releases) and I would put this on my top 5 list so far for 2006.

Where is this movie?
Date: 2006-12-08 17:31:14
Link to this Comment: 21286

It seems like this movie has been pulled out of the theaters? I can't for the life of me seem to be able to find it, and I need to write a paper on it compared to the book. What can I do?

Forum Archived
Name: Webmaster
Date: 2006-12-13 10:49:30
Link to this Comment: 21320

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