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With: Ian Cheney, Curtis Ellis
Written by: Ian Cheney, Curtis Ellis, Jeffrey K. Miller, Aaron Woolf
Directed by: Aaron Woolf
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 88
Date: 04/13/2007

King Corn (2007)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Lend Me Your Ears

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Ian Cheney and Curt Ellis conceived this documentary and appear onscreen as tour guides and guinea pigs, much like Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock. Though their onscreen personality is considerably less, and they seem more interested in making jokes and messing around, their reporting is still fascinating, and King Corn becomes an indispensable supplement to Spurlock's Super Size Me (2004). By coincidence, Boston friends Cheney and Ellis both had great-grandfathers living in the same small Iowa farming community. When a doctor tells them that their hair has high amounts of corn residue, they set out to discover why. They do so by planting their own acre of corn and attempting to trace where it all goes. The modern growing process is horrifying enough; apparently, the finished crop is inedible until it's processed. But from there, it goes to feed cattle and gets turned into sweetener. Essentially it's in everything we eat, or at least every form of junk food. Amusingly, the film forgoes fancy graphics or animation; it uses toys and magic markers to illustrate its points. The film mourns the loss of real farming and real food in favor of higher output and greater profits, but thankfully, because of our heroes' lackadaisical approach, King Corn doesn't have a hint of self-righteousness. Every so often, Cheney and Ellis give a shrug and order another cheeseburger. But viewers may come away with an entirely different conclusion.

DVD Details: The DVD from Docurama comes with lots of deleted scenes, a music video, filmmaker bios and two featuettes. The cardboard packaging is made from recycled materials!

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