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January 1, 2012

Movie Review: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010)

Getting and staying healthy is a big deal in the United States. Apparently, it's starting to become an issue in Australia as well. Australian businessman Joe Cross is a guy who is overweight and out off shape, and he's ready to change that with a simple diet that consists purely of juice. He's looking to shed pounds and his medications. Joe suffers from an affliction that causes rashes all over his body. In his trek across America, the place he fell in love with food, he runs into Phil Staples, an obese truck driver who suffers from the same disease.

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I wasn't sure how a documentary like this would play out. Watching a guy drink juice for two months might be tedious, but seeing a person's complete transformation can be fascinating. The juice fast is something that Joe has tried and given up on in the past, but I think having a camera on him for the sixty days of his fast helped keep him on track. He grew up half the time in the US, and he takes us to places where he loved to dine. He sits down in some of these places and talks to patrons who have the same food issues that we all do. Taste, addiction and convenience.

When Joe runs into Phil Staples at a truck stop, we don't expect the meeting to have the effect it does. Phil's food obsession has cost him marriages, relationships with his kids and nearly his life. When Phil reaches out to Joe, Joe steps up and gets the ball rolling on an amazing set of changes. It's wonderful to see, and Phil really takes over as the documentary subject.

If you're into weight loss reality shows, you may like this, but if you're into personal growth and hopeful change, this is definitely something you want to watch. The movie was worth the time, and it really makes you want to go out and start juicing. Can you juice a cheeseburger?

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