Directed by Robert Kenner.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 7/2/09
If you can stomach the idea of watching
chickens, cattle, pigs and sometimes even people getting roughed up,
while hearing that generally everything most Americans eat is
killing them right this second, "Food, Inc." rewards you with a
satisfying look at the food business of America.
Even though it is a bit heavy-handed at times, it does tell a pretty
comprehensive story of what it's like to eat in this day and age,
with multinational corporations out for your money and maybe not
your best interests.
"Food, Inc." takes a look at a few different
things in about ten different segments--grocery stores; food
production; animal growth, maintenance, and slaughter; food science;
fast food; organic foods at retail; "fresh" or "clean" or "organic"
farming; food labeling and government policy; the American farmer;
the Mexican meatpacker/laborer. Naturally, you can't cover too
much in ten-minute bursts, but "Food, Inc." still manages to tell a
compelling story by taking on large firms and their somewhat shady
practices...and then, giving each of those firms (Tyson, Monsanto,
Smithfield, etc.) a chance to comment, a chance that each and every
firm turns down. All, except for Wal-Mart, which has begun to
embrace placing organic foods on its shelves, which allows its
employees to speak about that practice...and, the segment on the
independent farmer, where we get to see what it's like for a guy who
insists on feeding his animals grass (not corn), raising, then
killing, then cleaning meat products by hand as opposed to a
All of the segments are backed like you
would expect--a mix of industry experts, authors (the guys who wrote
"Fast Food Nation" and "An Omnivore's Dilemma"), publicly-available
government statistics, farmers, parents, advocates and others speak
about their recent food experiences. The presentation is
strong, engaging, and nearly the perfect mix of sob stories, hard
numbers, interactive graphics and talking head pieces. In
fact, the biggest problem with "Food, Inc." is also its
format--while a 100-minute movie is solid, a five-part or seven-part
documentary that tackles each piece of this argument individually is
a much more solid format for this kind of information...but, maybe
the movie's producer thought that people will be more attracted to a
movie than a TV show.
Either way, "Food, Inc." is solid but not
for the animal weak of heart. Like
Inconvenient Truth", "Food, Inc." will hopefully make people
change their eating habits just a little to affect some change!
Rating: Opening Weekend
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard