Morgan Spurlock - Director of "Super Size Me" - Dead at 53

Morgan Spurlock
November 7, 1970 - May 23, 2024

Academy Award-nominated director Morgan Spurlock has died on 5/23/2024. He was 53 years old. Spurlock had a long and interesting career as a documentary filmmaker. He first came onto the scene in 2002 with a series of web shorts for MTV called "I Bet You Will," in which he gave participants small amounts of money to do crazy things on camera. In 2004 he released the documentary "Super Size Me," which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and convinced McDonald's to discontinue their (now infamous) Super Size option.

In the years since he continued to direct documentaries that were gimmicky in nature that still managed to ask some deeper questions about how we as a species consume things. "Pom Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" showed the filmmaker getting a movie funded by product placement while also questioning the more intrusiveness of the practice. Another film - "Where in the World is Osama bin Landan?" - asked more provocative questions while playing around with a much worse gimmick. Going forward Spurlock would do a mix of experimental, social, and mainstream documentaries.

A logical follow-up to "Super Size Me" was "30 Days," in which Spurlock and a slew of other subjects put themselves in situations for 30 days to see how one's perspective would change after such an amount of time. He also did some investigative journalism with CNN on the program "Inside Man." Both shows received high praise for their provocative filmmaking. He would also dip his toe into the mainstream world by making two documentaries that didn't involve him at all. One was "Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fans New Hope," which looked at the history of the San Diego Comic-Con. Less impressive was the 3D  concert documentary "One Direction: This is Us," in which the famous boy band performs songs and shares stories of their lives (outside of a few Spurlock touches, the film seemed very corporate).

Fittingly, his final major project was a sequel to the movie that made him a household name: "Super Size Me 2: Holy Chicken!" The film's release got stuck in limbo when Spurlock penned a blog post where he admitted to participating in behavior that could be seen as sexual harassment. The result of the blog meant that his career was effectively dead and it never recovered. While it is a shame to discover some filmmakers are human and make mistakes, it should be noted that he was "caught" or "outed" like other men; he came forward with a hope to change, and hopefully, he managed to in his personal life.

It is interesting to think about what other movies he may have had in mind to make somewhere down the road. Would he have made a film about being canceled? Would he have tackled fast food again with a "Super Size Me 3" of some kind? What other social experiment would he try? The world will never know, but the world can also be thankful that he managed to start so many conversations that most likely changed the world for the better.