Generally favorable reviews - based on 15 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 6 Ratings

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  • Summary: America’s fast-food empire is fueled by a secret ingredient: corn. High fructose corn syrup makes the sodas sweet, corn-fed beef makes the burgers fat, and corn oil crisps the fries. As college buddies Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis find out, their junk food generation has grown up eating so much corn that if you test their hair– it’s actually made of the stuff. King Corn follows Ian and Curt to a tiny town in the middle of Iowa, where they plant and grow an acre of America’s most powerful crop, and attempt to follow its fate as food. What they find is alternately hilarious and horrifying: genetically modified seeds and home- brewed corn syrup, a bumper crop of obesity and diabetes, and a government paying farmers to grow what’s making us sick. You’ll never enjoy a soda again. (Balcony Releasing) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15
  1. Aaron Woolf's we-are-what-we-eat documentary King Corn is a lively introduction to the corn industrial complex.
  2. A breezy diary from a pair of first-time farmers, as well as a wry rebuke to a nation devoted to eating cheaply but not necessarily well, King Corn makes its points without much finger-wagging.
  3. 83
    The film always teaches and entertains in equal, ample measure. It's a treat -- and it's good for you.
  4. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    No doubt inspired to some degree by "Super Size Me," this equally engaging, slightly better-crafted documentary deftly balances humor and insight.
  5. 70
    Thankfully, this information arrives via a graceful and frequently humorous film that captures the idiosyncrasies of its characters and never hectors.
  6. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    King Corn will put you off corn for a long, long time, but this is as much a thoughtful meditation on the plight of the American farmer as it is a rant against our expanding waistlines.
  7. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Mr. Cheney and Mr. Ellis are so pleasantly nondescript that they make no particular impression. As a result, all the time spent on autobiographical detail and personal banter hampers the film’s urgency, and plays like an awkward attempt to justify a format that the filmmakers are too self-effacing to exploit.

See all 15 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. FloydH.
    Sep 17, 2008
    Everyone seems to have missed the whole point of this eye-opening and noteworthy documentary. Folks in the corn belt will view this film as an attack upon their livelihood. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals will only see this as an indictment of meat. Both hit the board but miss the bulls eye by a mile. We have an obesity epidemic in America that is spreading to the whole world, and already some two-thirds of Americans are going to die an early death because they are either obese or overweight. The negative effect of obesity on productivity and enjoyment of life is monumentally more damaging to the soul of America than most can easly surmise. High fructose corn syrup is killing America. When carbohydrates are consumed your pancreas is signaled to produce insulin, and every calorie is stored as FAT. If you eat a high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate diet, you will lose about .2 lbs per day, and will become exponentially healthier. Take the zero carb not Peppsi challenge. Go to your local mart and actually look at how little food is low or zero carb. The government food pyramid is made of carbs. High fructose corn syrup has virtually replaced sugar because it is cheaper for the farmer to produce due to subsidies, and therefore has a higher profit margin. The Corn industry justifies its subsidized existence by touting how little money the average consumer has to spend to acquire sufficient daily calories (never minding the fact that a subsidy to a parasite is a tax on a producer). But as Gary Taubes in his new book Good Calories Bad Calories - using rigorous science and documentation, and as any follower of Atkins knows, one tends to eat dramatically less on a low carb diet to the point of almost rectifying the price imbalance. Had Morgenschiester from Super Size Thee, only ate Meat and Cheese at MickieD's he would have been sated far too early to finish the bun, fries, and high fructose corn syrup. How can we fault the farmer, FastFood, or the Consumer for taking the easy way out? We should place blame squarely on the shoulders of the Government for its communistic social engineering of our society that yields big bucks for big industry on the backs of a populace that will die an early death. But if you view the American population as one giant herd of cattle, then it makes sense that our reproduction and early death is preferred for its effect on GDP? Ketogenisis, D3 (4k+ I.U. /d), and SlowBurn weightlifting have the capacity to virtually end early death in America. Google it, do the research, stop relying on MSM and give this little gem of a documentary a chance. This film was brought to you by entrepreneurs working in the free market - reward them with your viewing dollars. As an aside; there is mention in the film about how healthy free ranged grass fed cattle are. That is the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Some in the know have warrant for the belief that if we turned all corn acres into grass land for cattle, its effect on carbon sequestration would IMMEDIATELY remove enough carbon green house gas to completely reverse global warming. That is if you believe in that socialist wealth redistribution scheme. ;-) Expand
  2. rb
    Nov 24, 2007
    An important film, a must see for everone in our nation, and beyond. Tackles and gets to the heart of the American industry that runs an important part of all our lives. Expand
  3. JayH.
    Apr 26, 2008
    Informative and thought provoking documentary about corn. The film starts from planting corn seeds and progresses to what is made of corn and the effects that has on all of us. Expand
  4. RobertB.
    Aug 16, 2008
    Deceptively interesting subject matter, boring film. Way too much time is wasted on things like the filmmakers interviewing their family members in the area, and minutes of transitional footage whenever the filmmakers travel from one location to another. This would be tolerable if it helped to present an interesting narrative relating the the subject matter of the film, or if it infused the documentary with some sense of drama, but it doesn't. It may be difficult for me to judge this movie fairly though, as I already everything they presented from reading the first 109 pages of Michael Pollan's book, The Omnivore's Dilemma. In fact, this movie is essentially just an illustrated version of the first part of that book, and Pollan appears to offer a few interview snippets during the movie. So what I'd recommend is that you skip this film and read the book instead. Or if you don't feel like reading, watch Michael Pollan's talk on The Omnivore's Dilemma on YouTube, which goes into more depth than the film and is every bit as intriguing (and is free to boot), even if it lacks some of the imagery of King Corn. Expand