Naked Lunch: Comparisons Of Documentaries Super Size Me And Forks Over Knives

1816 words - 8 pages

Documentary films have become a very popular in the last few years with the success of Michael Moore’s films fueling interest to learn while being entertained. Two filmmakers have benefited from this new interest in the non-fiction film movement, including directors Morgan Spurlock and Lee Fulkerson. The two filmmakers both made documentaries regarding healthy eating, or the lack thereof, in North America. Spurlock’s film, Super Size Me was about a healthy man who wanted to see what would happen to his body if he ate nothing but items from McDonalds for an entire month. On the other hand, Fulkerson’s Forks Over Knives is about a man on a quest to improve his health by consuming a plant and whole food based diet only. Despite the differences in their respective journeys the films of Spurlock and Fulkerson both combine several modes of documentary cinema including, the expository mode's use of narration, reflexive mode's use of the filmmakers on screen presence and the participatory mode in that they are both on a personal, and thus relatable, quest for knowledge.
Both Super Size Me and Forks Over Knives use narration, which is prevalent in many documentaries. Both of the films know the audience in which they are making it for and are able to play to their respective audiences by engaging them with both off and onscreen narration. There are a number of facts and stats that are thrown out as a matter of evidence to support the respective thesis statements that Spurlock and Fulkerson are set out to present. On one hand Spurlock is out to discover if eating a ton of McDonalds over the course of a month is a bad idea, and what would happen to you if you did. While, Fulkerson is out to discover how healthy his diet actually is and how he can make himself even healthier. Both of the men guide you with personal stories. Super Size Me actually begins similar to Michael Moore’s Roger and Me, in that they both show pictures from their childhood of good, home cooked family meals.
The use of propaganda, and the demystification of it, is also an important aspect of an expository documentary. Documentary theorist Bill Nichols states, “Propaganda, like advertising, also relies on our belief in a bond between what we see and the way the world is, or how we might act in it.” Spurlock heavily chastises McDonald and other fast food agencies for employing various jingles and celebrity endorsements, however he does the same thing with the use of graphics and he goes so far as to create a theme song for the film. The beef and dairy industry likes to say that animal proteins are necessary for a healthy diet. This piece of propaganda has been around for decades and has permeated into the unconscious of many North American. Through the use of interviews with average citizens both Spurlock and Fulkerson demonstrate that many people still believe this is true, even when confronted with evidence that what they have been told for so many years may not actually...

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