by Marion Nestle
Sep 18 2019

In New York? See Super Size Me 2 and eat at Holy Chicken

I went to see Morgan Spurlock’s film Super Size Me 2 (Holy Chicken) at New York City’s Cinema Village where it is playing only at 11:00 a.m. and 11 p.m.  You also can watch it online (more on its distribution later).   Disclosure: I was interviewed for this film a couple of years ago and appear in a short clip (so short that I am not mentioned in the credits).

I also went to the pop up restaurant, Holy Chicken, at 22 West 23rd Street.  It’s only open until Sunday.  If you would like to see it—and you should—go now.

From my food politics point of view, the film is a must-see.  It is a compelling, beautifully photographed, disturbing, cynical, utterly devastating account of industrial chicken production.

If for no other reason, go see it for its portrayal of the truly disgraceful tournament system that Big Chicken uses to play the farmers who actually raise the chickens.  The companies provide all inputs to the farmers, but pay them according to an easily manipulated formula that rewards some and punishes others.  This system externalizes all of the production risk to farmers, keeps them in debt, and punishes them for attempts at independence.

The restaurant illustrates the film’s major messages.

The servers wear the messages.  I snagged this tee shirt.

The walls are covered with messages.  This one is about what happens to farmers.

My favorite is the back of the tray liner, which comes with crayons for kids to color.

This is a movie that needs to be seen.  So why the limited distribution?  Spurlock confessed his MeToo behavior toward women.  In the aftermath, his distributors pulled out, he resigned from his company, and its release has been long delayed.  Complicated, no?