• Fed Up



    Released By: Anchor Bay Entertainment
    Released On: September 9, 2014
    Director: Stephanie Soechtig
    Cast: Katie Couric
    Year: 2014
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    The Movie:

    Fed Up is a documentary from director and producer Stephanie Soechtig (Tapped, GMO OMG) that aims to trash conventional wisdom about America's waistline-expanding epidemic of obesity. Fed Up's thesis is that the ethos of personal responsibility as it relates to personal health and wellbeing is a lie. Fitness only goes so far, as illustrated by damning parallel the film draws between the rise of the fitness revolution and the rising level of obesity and metabolic disease in America. The film smartly alternates between its full-frontal assault of facts and research, and touching scenes with several American teens and their families who struggle with obesity in a society that is making them fat. This is a wildly one-sided documentary, but that's okay, because the other side is winning in the grocery stores, gas stations, stores, malls and schools of America every single day.

    The movie begins with a powerful montage that characterizes obesity as an “epidemic” that is worse than Cancer. This is theme that the film later returns to, as Soechtig and her co-writer Mark Monroe will demonstrate how the Food Industry in America is using many of the same tactics that Tobacco companies utilized before people's awareness of the correlation between cigarette smoking and lung cancer reached critical mass. But before Fed Up starts contradicting everything you know about diet and nutrition, Soechtig zeroes in on the human element of this story, and focuses on the first of several obese teens in the film. These kids are representatives of the most obese generation in American history, but their struggle to lose weight is not their fault, nor is it an accident of genetics. The truth is that decades of Food Industry lobbying and government policies approved by the US Department of Agriculture have had a direct contribution to the decline in the actual nutrition and food value of the American meal.

    Another smart thing that Soechtig does in this film is rely on the narration of popular broadcast journalist Katie Couric. Her narration of the film's events takes on a personal dimension, as she discusses how she first became aware of the fitness movement, but also the growing problem of obesity. Couric's skills as an interviewer, and likely her personal connections, come into play later as she not only interviews former President Bill Clinton, but asks representatives from the Food Industry hard-hitting questions about how their business practices for the last thirty years have had a direct, negative impact on the North American diet.

    The real issue the film highlights, and the source of the obesity epidemic, is America's addiction to sugar. But the problem isn't just our love of the sweet stuff; the issue is that sugar and artificial sweeteners are being added to almost everything we buy off the shelves in our grocery stores. The behaviors and metabolic disorders associated with obesity are a direct result of the biochemistry associated with sugar consumption. Sugar is being added to almost every processed or packaged food on the market, and so it's difficult to cut out of your diet or consume only the recommended 10g daily intake. It's also highly addictive, activating the same receptors in the brain as cocaine. The only difference being, that sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. Sugar is also a poison, and the excess with which we consume sugar in our daily diet is a major contributor to the development of chronic health problems like type-two diabetes, but also several forms of Cancer.

    Rather than continue to just divulge facts and figures from the movie, I recommend you simply find a copy of Fed Up and watch it. While a good amount of this film is a pure info dump, it moves on at a brisk pace throughout it's 99 minute running time. While I was initially skeptical due to Soechtig's one-sided approach to her film's argument, instead I found myself more emotionally invested in Fed Up than any documentary I've seen since Jodorowsky's Dune. Everyone eats, and everyone should be upset by what this film reveals about the truth on the end of your fork.

    Ultimately, Fed Up puts its money where its mouth is, by providing practical advice on how to eat healthy, and challenges viewers to take the Fed Up Challenge by avoiding sugar and processed foods for 10 day after watching the film.

    Audio/Video/Extras:

    Fed Up is served on Blu-ray by Anchor Bay Entertainment with a 1080p transfer in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Visually this a rather nice looking, digitally shot documentary, but picture quality does drop depending on the source footage used in a given scene. Several of the teenagers have recorded video journals for the film, and these are typically done using grainy webcams or consumer grade video cameras. Likewise, older footage from the 70s and 80s is used periodically when discussing the historical context of the obesity problem, but the film interweaves this footage in pretty well so that the transition is never jarring. Generally, Fed Up is a bright, colorful documentary that doesn't attempt to use visual scare tactics or appear too foreboding, despite the startling facts that it reveals about diet and nutrition.

    On the audio side, the film is presented in 5.1 DTSHD-MA in both English and Spanish. In the Spanish version of the film, the narration is handled by Kuno Becker, rather than Katie Couric. There isn't too much to say about the film's audio. The dialogue is clear, the background music fills all the channels nicely, but this isn't the kind of movie you're going to use to show off your 5.1 surround system.

    Fed Up is disappointingly light on bonus features. The only extras included are a handful of deleted scenes, which are mostly extended interviews.

    The Final Word:

    If you've ever struggled with weight loss or healthy eating, then Fed Up is a film you need to see.


    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!





















    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Alison Jane's Avatar
      Alison Jane -
      I have a real problem with sugar. I would like to see this.
    1. Christian Bates-Hardy's Avatar
      Christian Bates-Hardy -
      It's definitely worth watching. I too have a serious snacking problem and am constantly struggling with trying to get enough exercise in the winter months to keep the belly fat blues away.