Katie Couric

Fed Up Girl

It may win the prize for best title of an issue film, but Fed Up is otherwise your standard fare as far as these kinds of documentaries go. It’s about the obesity epidemic, primarily in America, and how the fight against it has been wrongly strategized for the past 30 years. There’s a lot of good information and some effective devices employed to get at the audience’s heart as well as mind, but when all is said and done, I can’t help but wonder who a movie like this is for. Who wants to pay $10 or more to watch a bunch of talking heads make claims about how the food industry and government have made the problem even worse over the years? This shouldn’t be the content of a theatrical release (though I’d love to see the ironic folks watching this while chowing down on popcorn and candy from the concession stand). It should be distributed free, at least to the poor. Maybe as a pamphlet rather than a film. Fed Up is executive produced and narrated by Katie Couric, giving it a journalistic sensibility that many issue films these days lack. This isn’t to say it necessarily has more integrity or truth, but it does come off as a work of news reportage in the skin of a conventional doc. Almost akin to something CBS would have aired back in the days of Friendly and Murrow yet not in their style. I just keep thinking of how a documentary special like their piece on […]

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chubby feet in FED UP

One of the bigger documentary sub-genre booms in recent years has been in the area of food docs exploring and/or decrying what we eat, the way we eat and why we probably shouldn’t be eating it. Films like Food, Inc., Diet for a New America, Forks Over Knives, King Corn, and Super Size Me have all taken a stab at educating Americans on what we put in our mouths. More importantly, they’ve tried to educate us on what we’re putting in our children’s mouths. But if there’s been one constant through the years it’s this: America just doesn’t give a shit. The latest film hoping against hope to change the nation’s lethargic stupidity and penchant for slowburn child abuse is Fed Up from director Stephanie Soechtig and producer Katie Couric. The film addresses the already established problem — Americans are getting fatter and sicker — but instead of simply saying we need to exercise more and eat more fruits & vegetables the film points an accusatory finger at big business and the government that’s supporting them. Check out the depressing trailer for Fed Up below.

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Culture Warrior

There are those on the right who have said that Game Change is a partisan smear. At the same time, some on the left may have gone into the program expecting a SNL-style “look-how-dumb-Palin-is” work of predictable affirmation. But while hit jobs and hagiographies might make for effective 30-second political ads, they can’t sustain a two-hour block of television. Game Change, by contrast, is a gripping (though by no means perfect) two-hour block of television. But the term “block of television” does not necessarily carry the same connotations as “TV movie.” The distinction here is important. Game Change’s central thesis is not a political point about either John McCain or Sarah Palin as candidates (what could a TV movie possibly say that’s new or urgent in this respect?), but is instead a lamentation about how our political landscape is determined (on all sides of the ideological spectrum) by the media cycles of Celebrity 2.0. HBO has been preoccupied for quite some time by the major chapters in American history, rolling out expensive and impressive miniseries detailing the canonical moments that Americans learned about during their primary education: whether it be The Revolutionary War and the stories of the Founding Fathers (John Adams (2008)), WWII (Band of Brothers (2001) and The Pacific (2010)), or man’s journey to the moon (From the Earth to the Moon). However, HBO’s original programming has also taken microscopic examinations of recent, not-so-canonized history with smaller-scale projects like Recount (2008), Too Big to Fail (2011), and, of […]

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