May 26, 2008

Fucking horrifying.

From beginning to end, Fast Food Nation shows different facets of the fast food industry, each more fucking horrifying than the last. From the boardrooms in which the food is invented, to the slaughterhouses filled with illegal aliens, to the actual restaurants filled with apathetic high school students – all scenes intended to sicken the viewer and wonder what the human race has sunk to. The center of the story is a fictional hamburger chain called Mickey’s, which gets its meat from a corrupt meat packing plant in Cody, Colorado.

I wanted to hate Wilmer Valderrama, but his portrayal of a Mexican slaughterhouse worker was totally unironic. He wasn’t a walking a punchline for once. I was ready to write a review bashing him, but he did ok. Weird.

I was all in until Ethan Hawke showed up. Looking slimy as usual, he’s cast as the voice of reason – the conscience of the film. That voice is condescending, idealistic and out of touch. He gives Amber a hard time for working at Mickey’s and tries to light a fire under her to leave the job. I would have been alright with the character without the wink and nod that Ethan Hawke brings to the role. Or maybe I just hate Ethan Hawke for divorcing his wife because she got too loose after birthing two of his children. Either way, Amber doesn’t quit her job at Mickey’s until she falls in with a group of even more idealistic college kids, led by Avril Lavigne. Fucking A, she’s even more offensive than Ethan Hawke.

Trapped in the Closet makes a cameo – it’s on Coco’s TV when Sylvia visits her trailer. Is it a metaphor for the fact that all those who come into this country illegally are “trapped”? Or is Linklater merely depicting how “American” Coco has become by showing that she now watches the most hedonistic American crap on TV, as opposed to Sylvia, who still watches telenovelas as she cleans hotel rooms?

The film is based on the non-fiction book of the same name. It’s no small feat to turn a non-fiction expose into a character driven commentary of the subject matter – Linklater did a pretty good job of adapting the material. I could have done without the condescending tone – Linklater is obviously a vegetarian and wants us to feel guilty about eating meat by telling us how much shit is in it. Newsflash asshole – the salads you eat are doused in even more shit than the hamburger meat. Remember the E.coli spinach scare last year? Even so, I really enjoyed the film. It actually made me soften my stance on immigration a bit – if we open the borders, we eliminate the need for black market labor. I always think of the landscaping and construction industries in relation to illegal labor – I never even thought of the more dangerous jobs they are performing for us.

Coincidentally, I ate a Sourdough Jack for dinner last night. Jack in the Box has the most memorable E.Coli problems in recent history and I was in the middle of watching a film about shit filled fast food hamburgers. Funny how the human mind works – it was still delicious. I’ll never eat a hamburger that’s not fucking well done again though.

Year – 2006
Rating – R
Runtime – 116 minutes
Genre – Book Adaptation
Director(s) – Richard Linklater
Writer(s) – Eric Schlosser, Richard Linklater
Actor(s) – Wilmer Valderrama, Greg Kinnear, Ashley Johnson, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Luis Guzman
BOB Rating – Three BOBs
Favorite Quote – "It is a sad fact of life, Don, but the truth is we all have to eat a little shit from time to time." - Harry Rydell (Bruce Willis)