Political Film Discuss Documentary + Political Films

King Corn

Old 08-26-09, 06:43 AM
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King Corn

This documentary is quite different in mood and feel from other "muckracking" documentaries out there. First of all, to my knowledge, there are no major factual inaccuracies in this movie. Secondly, this movie does not attempt to demonize or create an atmosphere of sinister motives.

The movie opens with 2 guys who discover that most of their diet, and indeed most of their bodies, is made up of corn. They peruse a supermarket and find that almost every item has a corn-based by-product. The way this is framed and ultimately what motivates them is not based on a fear of why corn makes up the majority of our diet, but genuine curiosity.

The majority of the movie consists of them purchasing land and raising an acre of corn. They discover that the US government heavily subsidizes the corn industry, to the point that their acre of corn should have generated a loss when it indeed created profit.

This film was more about educating the population than about making up their minds for them. There's no token condemnation of factory farming or corporate America. Instead, they simply SHOW US how our most prolific crop is made.

What I liked:

They emphasize how modern farming techniques have dramatically increased food output. In fact, in one of the funnier scenes of the movie, they show the massive corn surplus we've acquired. Thomas Malthus can suck it.

Just because corn is widely consumed isn't necessarily labeled as "bad" in the documentary. On the contrary, they admit that it allows a lot more people to be fed for a lot less money. The driving question behind this movie isn't "is corn bad for you?" but rather, "why do we eat so much corn?"

You could tell that these were two guys with a genuine curiosity about farming and food, and weren't out to make a documentary touting their ideologies. In fact, they spend a great deal of time having FUN doing investigative reporting. They explain the change from family farming to factory farming, why it happened, the pros and cons, and what the effects are today.... but that's it. They just give us the facts and let us decide what we can think.

They didn't assault random people ala Michael Moore and they didn't demonize anyone without cause.
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Old 08-27-09, 06:34 PM
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Re: King Corn

King Corn website:
http://www.kingcorn.net/

King Corn trailer:
http://www.apple.com/trailers/independent/kingcorn/

Also on "Watch Instantly" at NetFlix (for those with accounts):
http://www.netflix.com/Movie/King_Corn/70080822


I was impressed with this documentary. I thought the approach of spending a year growing an acre of corn really put the filmmakers directly into the heart of the issue. And I was amazed on how something as (I would think) initially well-intentioned as the subsidies program has distorted the whole corn industry. And I was surprised to learn that feeding corn to cattle will actually kill them in about a year if they weren't slaughtered before then. But corn is cheap feed (thanks to subsidies) and it fattens cattle up faster, so that's how things are now done.

And I interpreted the final scene....
Spoiler:

...in which the filmmaker kept their acre corn-free for the next year and just played catch on it as them saying "we'd rather no corn grow on our acre than continue to support a broken system." So I think it was very critical of the government subsidy program, which is one that really needs to change but is one of those "third rail" projects that's considered untouchable by either political party.
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Old 08-29-09, 08:25 AM
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Re: King Corn

We can thank high fructose corn syrup for corn being in nearly every grocery item. It's just crazy having to avoid it.
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Old 08-29-09, 08:37 AM
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Re: King Corn

I thought King Corn was great. I also feel they did demonize the HFCS industry in a way...of course, that's pretty much deserved.

I am glad I live in a metro area where shops like Whole Foods are minutes away. I've gone to a small town in Minnesota to visit family before and trying to find foods free of HFCS there is next to impossible or a great challenge.

Now, soy...there's something I have a hard time finding foods without a lot of soy so if it's not corn I am getting too much of, it's probably soy.

As far as being critical of the government subsidies, it's hard not to be. They are subsidizing something that cannot be consumed as a food by itself (this corn is inedible, yet it's in the majority of food people consume) and subsidizing the creation of a chemical sweetener. Why can't they subsidize a healthier strain of corn that is edible and other crops?

I think to put all our "eggs" in one basket like this as a nation to rely on for our entire food supply is very dangerous.
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Old 09-02-09, 03:41 PM
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Re: King Corn

Watched this last night. Very interesting. I was raised on a farm in Iowa and still live in a small town in Iowa. There are corporate farms or a small number of families that farm everything around the town. My dad still farms about 300 acres. But has always had to work a factory job plus farm to make a living due to the small amount of acres. Kinda made me a little ill seeing what HFCS does and how cows are effected by it but what do you do? It's been this way and probably always will since our economy depends on it.
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Old 01-24-10, 07:58 AM
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Re: King Corn

I caught this on television, but I missed the first 20 minutes. What a great documentary. I want to see it again from the beginning.

My favorite part was the interview of long-retired Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz. He said that when he took office, the US government was paying farmers to not grow food and raise food prices, and when he left office, the US government was paying farmers to grow extra food and lower food prices. He was quite proud of that.
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Old 09-13-10, 02:19 PM
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Re: King Corn

Saw this on netflix

Other than the cows, the cool part was them making HFCS. Why would anyone consume it on a regular basis after that is beyond me.
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Old 02-19-11, 10:53 AM
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Re: King Corn

More people should see this one.
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Old 02-19-11, 12:04 PM
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Re: King Corn

Damn you!
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