Commentary

February 14, 2014

Fly Over: ‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’, and ‘50 First Dates’

Fat,-Sick-&-Nearly-Dead-movie-poster

On Netflix:

‘Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead’

I’m always looking for new documentaries to watch, especially food and health-related ones. I ran into a documentary named “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.” The title itself caught my attention so I decided to watch it.
Juicing – many of us may have heard it’s beneficial for detoxifying one’s body, increasing energy or in some cases, has been noted to cure a plethora of diseases. “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” follows a successful Australian businessman named Joe Cross across the United States for 60 days as he juices.
In the beginning of the documentary, Cross is shown walking beside a pool with his belly in its full glory right before diving in. Although he is successful in the monetary sense, Cross realizes his priorities were all wrong. Instead of focusing on his health, his first priority was work then food, and not healthy food but mostly processed foods. He lists pizza, burgers, soda and booze to have been some of his main staples. In the next 60 days, his goal is to shed fat and heal from all of his ailments by only drinking freshly juiced fruits and vegetables.
The first 30 days of his juicing journey is in New York where he spends time meeting the locals, educating them about juicing and also asking them questions about their own diet and lifestyle. He is put under the care of Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Nutrition Research Foundation’s director of research, to supervise his fast and is ordered to take a blood test every ten days to ensure he’s getting the proper amount of vitamins and minerals in his diet.
In the beginning of his fast, Cross secludes himself since the first few days is said to be the most difficult. He suffers from mild withdrawal symptoms and has a hard time getting used to not eating solid foods. After a few days he takes his first steps back out into the real world. In New York City he is surrounded by fast food, but nonetheless stays on track and finds a few places to get his fruit and vegetable juice. He also finds himself questioning where the logic behind three meals a day came from and finds it easier with each day.
Cross finishes his first 30 days 47 pounds lighter and starts his drive across the United States. His first stop is Washington, D.C., where he asks locals to try the juice. Some say the juice is tolerable while others reply it tastes like grass. He also interviews some locals and asks them what their favorite foods are and if they would try juicing if they knew it was good for them. Surprisingly, most responded that they either didn’t have the willpower or just said no. Cross also carries a juicer wherever he travels and can juice from the trunk of his SUV. He visits local farmer’s markets and makes stops at roadside fruit and vegetable stands.
This documentary was really fun to watch because it not only had cartoon animations showing and teaching you different facts about the human body but was funny as well. Throughout the film are facts and statistics from nutrition experts on the benefits of juicing along with information about the average American diet.
Along the way, Cross challenges a few people to try out juicing to help them with whatever ailments they may have, one of which includes a man named Phil Staples. Cross meets Staples at a truck stop in Arizona and learns that he suffers from the same rare condition Cross has. Cross educates Staples on the benefits of fasting and gives him his number for whenever Staples would like to get in touch with him. It’s after Cross finishes his 60 days that he receives a call from Staples seeking help. Thereafter, Staples begins his own juicing journey but whether he is successful or not, you’ll have to watch the film to know. I highly recommend “Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” to anyone who is a documentary lover like me or to those looking for some inspiration or motivation, because it is also a self-help type of film.
“Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead” is rated PG.

 
fifty-first-dates

On DVD:

’50 First Dates’

I’m not a fan of sappy love stories such as “The Notebook,” but I do enjoy romantic comedies. So when the Thunderbolt editor asked me to write a review for the Valentine’s Day issue, I skipped my wife’s collection of romance movies and pulled my copy of “50 First Dates” from our comedy collection.
“50 First Dates” reunites Adam Sandler with Drew Barrymore after starring together in the 1998 movie “The Wedding Singer.” In this movie, Sandler plays Henry Roth, a marine veterinarian who enjoys one-time flings with tourists visiting Hawaii. He justifies this as giving the ladies the fantasy of a vacation romance while he gets a no-strings attached temporary relationship.
This all changes when Henry meets local art teacher Lucy Whitmore (Barrymore) at a café one morning. The two hit it off, but when Henry sees Lucy again the next day, she has no memory of ever meeting Henry. The café owner explains to Henry that Lucy suffers from anterograde amnesia, meaning Lucy is incapable of turning short-term memory into long-term memory. Every night, Lucy’s slate is wiped clean and she wakes up thinking it’s still Oct. 13, 2002. This is her father’s birthday and the date of the car accident, which resulted in Lucy’s condition. So every morning, Lucy wakes up expecting to have breakfast at the café before going out with her father to pick out a pineapple.
Lucy’s father and brother go through a daily ritual of recreating the activities of Oct. 13 to avoid putting Lucy through the anguish of learning about the car accident.
Henry realizes he’s falling for Lucy. He decides to put an end to his womanizing ways and dedicates himself to making Lucy fall for him every day. This makes for some great comedy as the audience sees the creative extent Henry will go to woo the forgetful Lucy on a daily basis.
“50 First Dates” is full of great comedic and romantic moments, from Henry’s quick escape from a tourist to Lucy rescuing Henry from a mugger.
The movie is well-cast, including the animal performers residing at the ocean theme park where Henry works. Sandler and Barrymore are great in their lead roles as Henry and Lucy, proving their chemistry works a second time. And it wouldn’t be an Adam Sandler movie without the usual gang of supporting actors. Rob Schneider is hilarious as Ula, who doesn’t seem to hold an actual job. Fans will recognize Allen Covert, Peter Dante and Jonathan Loughran from past Adam Sandler movies.
I’m a music lover, so I pay attention to the score and soundtrack when I watch a movie. Since “50 First Dates” is set in Hawaii, the producers assembled a great soundtrack that captures the tropical vibe and flavor of the islands. Tracks include performances by The Beach Boys, 311, Bob Marley, No Doubt and the late Israel “Brudda Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole, who performed an amazing rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Each track is perfectly timed in the movie, enhancing the mood of the intended scene without resorting to oldies selections overly used in romantic movies by Nancy Myers or Nora Ephron.
“50 First Dates” is a comedy with a romantic story, so suspension of disbelief plays a role here. Never mind how ridiculous Lucy’s condition seems in the real world. The story is well-written and the acting is well done, creating a fun and enjoyable movie. The movie draws you in under the guise of a comedy, reveals itself as a romantic movie and leaves you with the feeling that, as corny as it may sound, love really does conquer all.
“Fifty First Dates” is rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor and drug references.




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