Melon Movie: King Corn
When Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis decide to journey to Iowa to grow an acre of corn and document their experience, they end up biting off a bit more than they can chew…sigh. Actually the movie produces far more than an acre of corn and bad puns.
The film begins with Ian and Curt discovering that their hair is made up of mostly corn particles. From there they show us (or rather they are shown) how corn is produced for the mass market − ammonia spray, pesticides and all baby. Corn, according to interviewed farmers, is produced not for quality but quantity. This means lower nutritional value for consumers. As it turns out, golden corn is not even edible until it is processed.
After Ian and Curt’s corn has…err…blossomed, the duo spends the second half of the film traveling America to find out what happens with their corn. What they find out is most concerning.
While a heft percent of corn is transformed into (everyone’s favorite) corn syrup (which might as well be poison), a majority is utilized for cattle feed which becomes a serious problem. Why? Because farmers feed cows corn-feed to fatten them quicker than natural grazing. This allows cows to meet minimum weight requirements for processing – mmmm processing at a faster rate. That’s right, farmers are feeding cows corn-meal so they can fatten them up, produce more meat for the American consumer and make more dollar, dollar bills y’all. These fatty cows are kept in confinement so they can’t graze and put on real muscle mass. As a result, the meat produced today actually looks more like fat than meat. In other words, this movie made me feel a lot better about being a vegetarian.
The film offers further perspective on what keeps the farming market alive, be it mass-quantity production or government subsides (after putting around $300 towards their acre of corn, Ian and Curt end up
losing all of their money before receiving government reimbursement.)
This wealth of punishing information along with much more can all be found neatly presented by Ian and Curt. The film succeeds not only because it presents relevant information for the modern eater/historian, but also because it offers a perspective displaying the same curiosity as the viewer.
For anyone interested in American history or is wondering what exactly is put into your food, I highly recommend King Corn.
Melon Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 Melons.