Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Documentary - FED UP on Blu-ray ""

Monday, September 8, 2014

Documentary - FED UP on Blu-ray

I'm wracking my brain right now to try to remember the first documentary I ever saw. I feel like I saw ROGER & ME pretty early on in the beginning of me becoming a hardcore cinephile. It was that doc and Errol Morris' A THIN BLUE LINE that first really got my attention. Watching them gave me a whole new feeling that I hadn't really had before. It was this window into some observational truth. I would later begin to realize how subjectified that window can be (depending on the filmmaker), but I have to say that I was changed as a viewer after I watched those two films. They made me feel like I could act upon the truths that I saw in them and somehow make a slight difference in the world. ROGER AND ME in particular introduced me to the idea that corporations could be thoughtless and cruel. This should have been any great revelation, but at the time I hadn't thought of them that way. I hadn't really thought of them much at all. Somehow they had been these invisible entities behind the scenes. I think I must have had some idea in my head that corporations wouldn't benefit from NOT acting with the best interest of their consumers in mind, so why would they? 
FED UP is another film that makes the case that the opposite (with regards to said corporations) couldn't be more true. Not to say there aren't corporations that do good things, but I mean obviously the bottom line is making money. It's not some underlying sense of responsibility to not sell products that contain as much of any damaging ingredients as possible, no the food corporations are just like Big Tobacco in that they want to sell whatever will make you buy more. And they will disguise the bad stuff (in this case, sugar) in whatever way they can to make sure it doesn't stop you from buying their products. Not to get all ranty here as I know that can be a big turn off, but this is an issue that hits very close to home for my wife and I so it gets me a little worked up. My wife has always been a very food-conscious person. She's vegan, but has never been pushy about her lifestyle. I really owe her a great deal in terms of starting to make me more conscious of reading labels and just generally being more alert about what I'm eating. FED UP puts a lot of disturbing information out there. Lots of statistics and examples of legislation being thwarted. Not all of it will be news or too surprising to some, but the overall impact is quite chilling. The other thing the film features is several "case studies" if you will. There are 3 or 4 overweight kids in the movie and they delve into the processes by which the parents of these children are trying to deal with the issue. It's pretty sad stuff as you can see that (as with all of us) these kids may have inherited some of their eating habits and ideas about nutrition from their less than healthy parents. What's even sadder though is that these parents truly want to help their children, but are not necessarily the most knowledgeable about what to do. One mother talks about buying Lean Pockets for her son as opposed to regular Hot Pockets for example. FED UP also goes into detail about school lunch programs and what laws have infected them over the years (as well as which big businesses have gotten involved). Eating healthy is no easy task certainly, and it may seem true that it's cheaper to eat crappy food. While that may be an obvious thing that a lot of folks see as a possible deterrent from healthy choices, the movie gives examples of how this kind of eating can still be cost effective. The bottom line that FED UP seems to lay out is that kids should avoid sugary drinks (sodas etc), processed foods (as many of them have a good amount of sugar added) and that parents should buy fresh vegetables and fruits and cook meals for their children as much as possible. They are not saying this is an easy thing to do. For it to have a lasting impact, there most likely needs to be some sort of lifestyle shift as far as eating habits go. I, for one, know how difficult this can be. I have personally developed a lot of bad habits over the years. These are habits that I find myself falling back into over and over again. Comfort foods (chips are my weakness), foods with little to no nutritional value and sugary and diet drinks continue to plague me. It really is partially about addiction. Addiction is one hell of a tough thing to fend off. The film talks about the sugar in 80% of the processed foods we eat and how it affects us like a drug. The comparison to Big Tobacco is quite apt in that we have become addicts to the sugar like smokers become hooked on nicotine. FED UP is one of those movies that is very much a call to action though. Once you get over how depressing things are in this country as far as the Food Industry goes, you can pick yourself up and decide to make some changes. It's a lot more motivating if you have a young child in you home (as we do) because you can't help but want to make sure your kid is as healthy as possible. My wife and I try to take our roles as feeders of our kids pretty seriously, but watching this movie only made us both more aware that we could be doing a lot more. I really have to recommend that parents (and really everyone) at least give this documentary a look. It will frighten and overwhelm you, but it will hopefully have some small effect on what you are putting in your shopping cart at the grocery store.
Check out the Film's website for more info:

1 comment:

SteveQ said...

Interesting, trying to remember my first documentary..."Titicut Follies," "Grey Gardens," "Salesman" were all pretty early.