"Fast Food Nation" the movie may have disappointed at the box office, but with the release of the DVD today, I bet that many more people are going to end up watching it. After all, it's not appropriate for a date, unless for a PETA personals setup, and it sure as hell doesn't make you want to grab a bite afterward.
While I thought it was flawed — an awkward fictionalization that failed to convey more than soundbites from Eric Schlosser's dense, compelling exposé — the performances are good (Kris Kristofferson in particular), much of the movie is riveting, and the plight of the immigrants being exploited by the meatpacking plant couldn't be more relevant given the December raids at Swift & Co. If you haven't seen "Fast Food Nation" yet, it's definitely worth renting; mainly I hope that high school students who just want to ogle Wilmer Valderrama and Avril Lavigne will get better informed by osmosis. On the extras are a commentary with Schlosser and director Richard Linklater, as well as all three of the awesome Meatrix videos produced by Sustainable Table and Free Range Studios.
Speaking of, Free Range Studios has just done a new video, "The BioDaversity Code," for Harvard Medical School and the Buckminster Fuller Institute. As usual, talking animals manage to lay out a complex scientific topic in a simple, effective, and even humorous way. This time, it's about the importance of biodiversity — the interdependence of the web of species, and how Man's belief that he's a free agent is suicidal at best. I relish the little touches, like the "Last Supper" painting with endangered species; the "learn more" sections on mangrove swamps, invasive species, etc. are also really well done.
My one gripe: Much as I love Chickity and this fish lady, next time, guys, can we trade the busty female sidekick for a real heroine?
And on a last video-related note: Some of you may have seen the disgusting video linked on BoingBoing today about pouring Coca-cola on a pork chop and watching worms come writhing out of the meat. Snopes.com says it's a fake — sort of. The Centers for Disease Control is more reassuring: pork-spread trichinosis (the illness you get when you consume these worms via undercooked meat) is very uncommon in the United States today, and more often associated with eating raw or undercooked wild game meats.