If you're like me, you eat way too much on Thanksgiving. And the last thing you want to do after eating so much is to watch a film about food or eating. Kevin made up a great list of food movies in honor of the holiday, and Kim wrote about "eating" films with a twist, but following your feast, you might get stomach pains just thinking about most of them. None of them could do too much harm, however, because they are all enjoyable fictional films. As a companion piece, I have come up with seven documentaries that you would definitely want to avoid in the wake of turkey day; A few of them you will want to avoid even after your digestive system has settled.
- Super Size Me - Morgan Spurlock's stunt-centered documentary is a decent film about the evils of fast food. Its points about the marketing of and the culture surrounding fast food are informative and important, though not any more insightful than Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation, which had come out a few years earlier. At the film's center is Spurlock's well-known and controversial experiment, his plan to eat nothing but McDonalds for thirty days. At the moment early on in the film when Spurlock overeats and then vomits out his car door, any equally stuffed viewers could easily feel a bit of nausea themselves.
- The Yes Men - Speaking of McDonalds, there is a humorous bit in this other documentary involving the fast food chain's hamburgers. The pranksters known as the Yes Men hand out Big Macs to a class of students. While the students are eating their free burgers, the Yes men announce that these sandwiches are "recycled" and then proceed to explain how their new hamburger recycling process will benefit third-world nations. The diagrams showing how human waste will be turned into new food is funny, but it probably isn't as easy to appreciate on a full stomach.
- American Dream - Barbara Kopple's Oscar-winning film is about the striking employees of a Hormel meat-packing plant. Occasionally, Kopple brings us inside the plant to see its workings, and she never holds back in presenting the slaughtering of hogs. Even though the doc isn't concerned with the issues of meat-packing, the few visuals of the process are enough to ruin a person's appetite. And they are more than enough to ruin a person's post-Thanksgiving mood.
- The Future of Food - Meat-eaters aren't the only ones able to be turned off from what they eat by way of cinema. As depicted in this film, vegetable growing is not entirely a tasteful process, either. From seed-patenting to genetic-engineering, the hopeless doc, which is topically interesting though stylistically dull, will make you wonder what was in that corn you just scarfed down.
- I Like Killing Flies - This recent film about the NYC restaurant Shopsin's would normally have my mouth watering. But after a great feast, the eclectic concoctions shown are more likely to leave my belly aching. Once it is available on DVD, you should definitely check it out, but not after eating too much (Read my review here).
- Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating - Every Fourth of July I wake up too late to catch the famous hot-dog-eating contest held at Nathan's in Coney Island, but I love watching the highlights on the news later in the day. Competitive eating isn't that fun to watch, though, when you feel like you just endured an eating contest yourself. Though not as nauseating as the pie-eating sequence in Stand by Me, this doc about competitive eater "Crazy Legs" Conti is sure to be unsettling after gorging yourself with turkey and all the trimmings.
- Hated - As you sit there stuffed with stuffing, could there be anything worse than watching other people eat loads of food? Yes. You could be watching people eating feces, only unlike the fake "recycled" burgers in The Yes Men, it is actually real feces. Old School director Todd Phillips' student film is about the late punk rocker G.G. Allin, a controversial celebrity whose many disgusting stage antics included defecating and urinating, and then sometimes eating or drinking his waste. I don't recommend viewing any of these antics on an empty, satisfied, stuffed or any other type of stomach.