The Lions Den
Spurlock raises the curtain on McDonaldsWednesday, November 16, 2005 By Sarah Sanders
Morgan Spurlock, director of Super Size Me, an independent film criticizing the fast-food industry, arrived at Seton Hill University in Greensburg on October 6 at 7:30 p.m. He delivered a rather comedic lecture on his Oscar-nominated film in front of a very amused and attentive audience. Spurlock’s idea for the movie sparked around Thanksgiving of 2002. It was ironic, he said, how this thought came to him on the holiday where “we stuff ourselves with all the glory that is America.” On the couch, after a heavy Thanksgiving dinner, Spurlock watched the evening news. He noticed stories about customers who were blaming McDonalds for their increased obesity. The international fast-food restaurant retaliated, claiming that this situation was a mere coincidence. They claimed there was no link between their food and the customers’ weight issue. Spurlock was inspired by these stories. “Then the light went on,” he said. “Shouldn’t I be able to eat McDonalds for 30 days straight with no side effects?” Many people questioned, “Why McDonalds?” Spurlock chose McDonalds because it feeds 46 million people every day. He claimed that not only does it affect our nation’s way of eating, but McDonalds also has locations on five other continents. “Antarctica…coming soon,” Spurlock said. “Why didn’t you quit?” his audience asked further. After all, he was experiencing chest pains, high cholesterol and a liver equivalent to that of an alcoholic; and only three weeks into his project. His family, friends and especially his vegan girlfriend wanted him to stop. They felt there was no reason for him to put himself through this. However, Spurlock’s older brother sealed the deal for him. “You really think it’s going to kill you in nine more days?” his brother said. Therefore, Spurlock followed through with his experiment. Once it was completed, the movie premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on May 7, 2004. Unexpectedly, “the movie just took off,” Spurlock said. Six weeks later, and only one day before the movie premiered nationwide, McDonalds eliminated super-sized portions and claimed “menu simplification” as their reason. After the film hit London, McDonalds’ sales plummeted 75 percent in Europe. “Just a coincidence,” Spurlock said, sarcastically. Spurlock has not returned to the “golden arches” since creating his “film of epic portions.” In fact, he has gone as far as Alaska to preach about the widespread concern for the nation’s increasing obesity. He left his audience with words like “stay healthy” and “say ‘no’ to Ronald.” This certainly isn’t just a movie, ladies and gentlemen. Spurlock is set on informing the world what that clown is really bringing to town.