How the Film Fast Food Nation Helped Me Become a Vegetarian
Becoming a vegetarian was actually easier than I thought. I was never interested in fatty meat. There’s nothing worse than enjoying delicious and supposedly lean beef, and suddenly you bite into some tough, fatty gristle and it’s so gross you have to spit it out into a napkin and it just ruins the whole meal. What’s worse than that? Fatty, dark chicken. You taste it, then break it into smaller, easier-to-handle pieces to chew. It’s not a pretty sight. Nothing but veins, arteries and lumps of soggy fat and you have no choice but to stop eating and throw up.
I was my mother’s primary caregiver until the III. for a four-year fight against stage 1 ovarian cancer. My heart is broken. I was scared too. As strong as my mother was, especially with a ridiculously high pain threshold, she often seemed invincible. If he couldn’t beat cancer, who could?! Not only was I addicted to coffee, but worse, I had been smoking for about 15 years, and all my previous attempts to quit had been short-lived and unsuccessful. Something good had to come out of my mother’s death. Quitting meat seemed like the most logical, achievable and realistic step in the right direction.
Richard Linklater’s film, Fast Food Nation, has just been released on DVD. It was easily one of his worst films – and still is. Not only does the film have too many characters, but all of them are underdeveloped, making it impossible to invest in any of them. To make matters worse, the film is a depressing mess where these characters go through a lot of unpleasant events with no reprieve.
Despite these flaws, the film manages to show what is really in our flesh; it was the final nail in the coffin that led to me cutting meat out of my life for the most part. The film is based on real events from Eric Schlosser’s book of the same name, which he wants to make up. The public opinion seems to be that the film would have been much stronger as a documentary, and I agree. Most of the book focuses on real people who seem more interesting and relatable than the Hollywood actors who play them in the movie.
When independent research reveals that the fast food chain’s meat contains significant amounts of manure, Mickey’s marketing director Don Anderson (Greg Kinnear) is sent to the fictional town of Cody, Colorado. After a little digging, it turns out that Uni-Globe, the plant responsible for supplying Mickey’s meat, is too worried about his unreasonably high productivity to not participate by following the safety measures in place. place, one of which is the thorough cleaning of excrement from the intestines of cattle. Richard Linklater fails to present the important and complicated background of how we arrived at this gruesome discovery that it did not happen overnight, and that meatpacking giants such as Hormel deliberately got rid of large parts of their American workforce and replaced them with immigrant workers who worked longer working hours and in much more dangerous conditions for low wages.
If you are wondering how the smell and taste of the huge amount of feces is hidden in the meat, don’t worry. For this, they have labs with vials filled with chemical additives that taste and smell like the real thing and are so advanced that they trick the consumer’s brain into thinking it is. there is the real thing. In one scene early in the film, Don samples vials and is particularly impressed by one that tastes like meat straight off the grill. “Don’t you think you need liquid smoke?” asks the scientist. “No, I think it’s perfect,” Don reassures her. Shortly after, we are taken to Mickey’s kitchen, where a disgruntled and underpaid teenage employee, Brian (Paul Dano), drops food on the floor, picks it up and spits in it. If you’ve ever wondered why you often feel sick from the junk food you just ate, now you know.
In the end, the infamous kill floor scene will be the most anticipated festival. I actually had to grab the small trash can nearby and put it next to me in case I got sick. Gone are the days when the meat packing process takes place throughout the plant. Thanks to corporate greed, the meatpacking giants liked to close half of their factory space and then lease it to companies that would end up paying even lower wages to their workers. The entire meatpacking process has been condensed into a smaller area, complete with sterile and spotless white walls, counters, floors and ceilings, making the contrast with the blood, guts and gore of the meatpacking process even more sickening and psychologically demoralizing. Endless amounts of blood flow from the animals and the process seems much less humane and much more rushed for everyone involved. Linklater has confirmed in several interviews that the footage of the killing floor and the workers were all real.
It’s an extended humiliation as we follow Sylvia (Catalina Sandino Moreno), an illegal immigrant, and the sleazy foreman Mike (Bobby Cannavale) she sleeps with to get this crappy job. The camera pans as he leads her to her new workplace on the killer floor. Like him, we feel uncomfortable, as if we are fainting. Due to insufficient screen time on him and those close to him, we can’t give everyone the appropriate and appropriate amount of sympathy they deserve. Like far superior El Norte, the film was supposed to focus solely on the illegal immigrant’s plight, and non-Hollywood actors played the roles. Part of the disconnect is that Catalina Sandino Moreno and Wilmer Valderrama look more like models than illegal immigrants. Besides, I only see Fez from the comedy, The ’70s show when Valderrama is up on screen. I just can’t take him seriously in this seemingly serious role.
It’s been 16 years since I stopped eating meat and it’s easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It helped me maintain my weight. It also gave me more energy and mental clarity to make better and more informed decisions in my daily life. Anytime I try to go back to meat again, I’m almost always disappointed with the experience. Then I think about it Fast Food Nation and how it holds up even after all these years. The meatpacking industry and fast food chains spread the grossest illusions to our consumers in order to make a profit. Like Sylvia being told to breathe through her mouth to better deal with the horrible smell of the floor, it’s a crazy and unreasonable request for something that so obviously makes her sick. I feel the same way when I walk into a fast food restaurant. The smell is unbearable. Maybe it’s because my resistance is worn down and therefore my meat tolerance is low. I have to run away because I’m afraid I’ll get sick. The smell has never been worse – so playful, disgusting and unfilteredly putrid. Fiction or non-fiction, Sylvia and I both know what we’re talking about. We have seen the flesh for what it really is, and we know there is something better. Must be. There must be. And perhaps this is one of the best realizations we have come to.