November 20th, 2006


Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation is def. worth seeing, though it's a pretty intense experience. The politics of meat and fast food are there, and the slaughterhouse gross-out scenes, but it isn't as affecting as what feels like the foreground of the movie, which is the experiences of the Mexican workers. If for no other reason, the movie is worth seeing because it is the first commercial movie I've ever seen that really takes the lives of the Mexicans who work the bottom of the US economic food chain seriously. The current hysteria about terrorism and illegal immigration seems to me to never really consider the lives of the people who are living that life.

The rest of the movie is as apparently aimless as "Slacker" was -- in fact as a whole "Fast Food Nation" comes off as "Slacker 2006: Shit Don't Seem So Funny Any More." Greg Kinnear and Bruce Willis are pretty great -- the little takes Kinnear does when he sits down with a hamburger, where he has to force himself to think about what's actually in it, are perfect. Willis basically comes in to deliver a monologue, which in a talky Linklater film can be a real weak point. But Willis is an amazing actor when he's not being a tabloid idiot, and the way he completely catches the tone of an amoral corporate badass is scary and every bit as ugly as the skinned heads of cows at the end of the movie.

The politics of the movie are kind of Austin-hippie downbeat, and really beside the point. The scenes with the Mexican workers in the slaughterhouse show the message better than amount of white-kid would-be revolutionaries slouching around flapping their gums about corporate greed and dishonesty.