Fast Food Nation (2006, Richard Linklater)

Fez from That 70’s Show and his girlfriend Maria Full of Grace sneak over the border with Luis Guzm├ín’s help, and they get jobs in the meat plant. Chrissy “Growing Pains” Seaver works at the McSomethingBurger after school where she has management potential and hopes of college. Oscar-nominated Greg Kinnear is a McSomething PR executive trying to clear up some rumors and student studies regarding shit in the meat.

Fez gets hurt on the job, Maria’s sister gets drugged up and has lots of sex with her supervisor, Maria gets away from the meat plant for a while but ends up back there working on the kill floor. Whole American dream thing doesn’t work out as planned.

Chrissy gets a visit from her inspirational rebel uncle Ethan Hawke, who turns her against the McSomethingBurger, leading her to quit her job and organize an attempted freedom raid on the local cow ranch.

Greg gets to interview two colorful, obstinate characters. Indie rancher Kris Kristofferson tells him that the meat plant is filthy and deceptive, and pally meat-packer/restaurant liason Bruce Willis basically tells him to fuck off and not go digging around anymore.

Avril Lavigne is in the movie, but I don’t know who she plays. Far as I can tell, she’s only in there in order to give people an easy way to ridicule the movie when I tell ’em I saw it… like Lindsay Lohan in A Prairie Home Companion. Ethan Hawke serves the same purpose, but I kinda like him.

Mostly an easygoing picture, feels pretty comfy to watch, except when illegal Mexican immigrants are getting their legs chewed off by the meat machines. The shit-in-the-meat stuff was of course no big deal since I’ve read the source book and stopped eating McSomething. Despite what any lefty film critics might shout, it seems a minor Linklater movie, way below the Scanner Darkly / Before Sunset level. An admirable picture, well done, would’ve been cool if it’d been a hit and exposed the ideas & research of the book to malls across America, but it died quickly and quietly instead.

Katy didn’t watch it but wanted to.

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