Consumed is an anti-GMO movie that was just released on Netflix under Conspiracy Theory Movies. I recapped it here so that you don't have to watch it. You're welcome.
Scene 1: Danny Glover’s Organic Farm
The movie opens as Danny Glover walks around in a dark barn, feeding goats and a dog out of silver pails. Danny Glover is authentic with his pails. He also wears suspenders and carries a lantern because he is an authentic organic farmer who doesn’t…believe in flashlights? Headlights! Scary music. Someone has come to intimidate or run over Danny Glover but we don’t know yet because this is a thriller.
I still can’t believe anyone made a thriller about how we breed plants. They should have used mutagenesis because radiation has a lot more potential to be scary when you’re talking about giant chickens which this movie does for some reason even if I’ve never heard of a Giant GMO Chicken (because it doesn’t exist). Or they could have used the old plant sex method but that would have been a different genre and different music.
Scene 2: Interview with Clonestra CEO. (Clonestra is Pig Latin for Monsanto.)
Brilliant CEO used to work at Baskin Robbins [Is there a hidden meaning about ice cream? It seems like they mean for that to be important but I can’t figure it out.] Brilliant CEO is the sexist law professor from Legally Blonde who also plays the role of “Distinguished Dad” on most television shows. Distinguished Dad took the job because of a drought in Africa and he wants to help or something. He seems like a sweet dad. Are we supposed to hate him?
Scene 3: A Diner in the Midwest as Imagined by People from LA and NYC
Opens with an old television at a diner which happens to be showing the interview with Distinguished Dad because everyone in the Midwest goes to old diners to eat supper and watch the news and chat with other Midwesterners. We meet Phoebe (?) – Let’s call her The Mom because they barely say her name in this movie. The Mom is a waitress and serves fried chicken to 2 customers and we’re treated to scary music and a close-up of the GIANT CHICKEN BREAST because…Monsanto? I don’t think the real Monsanto has anything to do with fried chicken because they’re a seed company so I’m confused by this.
The Mom leaves the diner and goes out to her filthy car and she’s the only one in the parking lot in front of the diner and it’s spooky so it must be midnight but then she goes to night school because she’s a plucky single mom. It’s a boring business class. We’re treated to another close-up and meaningful music but this time it’s of a BUSINESS TEXTBOOK because business is…scary? Boring?
The Mom goes home to her mom whose name is Kristin for some reason which is weird because most Kristins aren’t old enough to be grandmas, are they? Wait. Would I look as old as Kristin if I quit sunscreen? Kristin is asleep on the couch, wearing a shirt that is the same floral pattern as the drapes because it’s the Midwest. The Mom gives Kristin some fried chicken and then they both meaningfully munch on chips. Because chips…dun dun dun. Or something.
Scene 4: We meet The Mom’s son who is cute and loves cars – pay attention to the car thing. It’s a very important symbol of something in this movie. I’m not sure what though. I think the writers recalled learning something about symbolism in 8th grade so they had to put that in the movie. Anyway…CARS. Also, there is a Deadly Flu going around but don’t worry about that because it has nothing to do with the plot which is too bad because I loved that Deadly Flu movie where Gwyneth Paltrow starts a pandemic.
Scene 5: Maharashtra, India except that it looks exactly like Illinois and nothing like Maharashtra.
Little boy plays with…a CAR. Distinguished Dad comes in and gives the boy a new toy CAR because he’s evil? Clonestra executives and Indian farmers have a meeting in a field because that’s how the film makers think people in India conduct business. They also think there are “rebels” who run across fields in small packs yelling “GMO!” and brandishing sickles. Scythes? (Rebel is a code word for Greenpeace, by the way.) Oh, and just like Danny Glover, the Indian farmers use lanterns because they are authentic.
Scene 6: The Mom’s House
Cute Boy is unconscious in a huge pile of vomit. Holy shit. Cut to the doctor where he’s fine. It’s the flu but probably not the Deadly Flu so whatevs. I would need all of the Xanax and a few days off if I found my kid like that but plucky mom is plucky so she deals pretty well.
Scene 7: The University Science Department
There is 1 dean, Kristin the Grandma/Secretary, and 2 scientists who are played by Goose from Top Gun and a scientist on The Big Bang Theory (nice typecasting). This is a really small science department but luckily Clonestra donated millions (say that like Dr. Evil) so maybe they can hire another scientist or something. Or maybe get a few students. Goose farts around with test tubes while Big Bang watches CAR racing and they talk about CARS and how Big Bang will never have a nice CAR. Goose leaves and the test tubes turn black to ominous music because black shit in a test tube is obviously bad.
Scene 8: Outside of School
Hot dad! I think Lady GaGa dumped this guy for Bradley Cooper and now he’s in this stupid movie. That is a serious downward spiral. He’s super cute though and he’s hitting on The Mom in front of the school until her son runs out. She licks her finger and cleans his face with her spit and then freaks out about a rash he has. Let’s start with eliminating that saliva routine. Yuck.
Scene 9: Danny Glover’s Organic Farm
Close up of a windmill. Windmills and goats! I’ll take that as a shout out. So, windmills and Danny Glover hoeing in suspenders because he is authentic, yo. Here comes a black Volvo. He gets the shotgun because Volvo’s always mean danger. Danny Glover’s house looks like a homesteader’s cabin because he is authentic. Organic food must come from people who live in houses that look like the Cracker Barrel. Danny Glover almost shoots Volvo guy but it turns out the poor slob is his attorney there to help him fight Clonestra.
Scene 10: Distinguished Dad’s Mansion
Boring scene where Distinguished Dad fights with his wife and says that science is saving the world and that they’re modifying bananas with a hepatitis vaccine and broccoli with 3x the vitamin C. [The anti-GMO movement gets really pissed off when anyone talks about humanitarian applications for genetic engineering so they’re trolling here.]
Scene 11 - Something: RASH!
The Mom is worried about the rash. There’s a cute part where Cute Boy (who will now be known as Rash Boy) is taking an oatmeal bath and Kristin makes everyone laugh. Also, Rash Boy plays with a CAR in the bath. Rash, rash, rash. At the ER now with the Rash. The ER doctor gives Rash Boy a little dose of Ativan which sounds kind of nice right now.
Scene - Let’s Just Say 14: Law Office in the Midwest as Imagined by People in LA and NYC
Danny Glover wears suspenders and talks to the lawyer he almost murdered in the lawyer's shabby, depressing office. They each take turns reading a script lifted off an anti-GMO website. Danny Glover is very profound when he says, “How can you patent life?” A seed is life, you know and I am going to mass murder a bag of sunflower seeds as a snack later.
Also, here’s the deal with patents on seeds: It’s not just GMO seeds that are patented. Non-GMO and organic seeds are patented too. Why? Because it takes a huge investment to come up with a good seed to sell and companies want to protect that investment. Go fight patent laws if you have an issue with this but it’s not an argument against GMOs. Also, zzzzzz….
This is where we learn that Danny Glover is being harassed by GMO Cops because all corporations hire black ops forces to intimidate customers about patents, especially corn seed. My old company was like that about our patented postage meter ink.
Scene 15: Rash Boy’s Room
The Mom is cutting up Rash Boy’s mattress, looking for bed bugs and she’s supposed to seem crazy but I’ll admit that I would rip my house apart if I thought my kid had bugs under his skin. Kristin the Grandma tries to stop her and the Mom pulls the scissors on her like it’s a prison knife fight. Whoa! Kid looks on sort of listless like, “Mom’s killing Grandma again. Can I have a sandwich?”
Scene 16: The Science Lab as Imagined by People Who Have Never Seen a Science Lab
Big Bang sees a rat with a rash just like the kid’s. Dun dun dun. Cut back to doctor where the doctor tells the Mom that Rash Boy probably just has a case of Hysterical Rash because that’s a thing I guess and doctors suck in this movie. We also find out the Mom suffered from delusions. What is the point of making this character delusional? That she’s delusional but the GMO delusions are actually real even though she’s delusional? I’m confused.
Scene, I don’t know, 100?: The recapper is getting sleepy and bored.
The Mom is alone in the library because this is a thriller. She Googles GMOs and that’s all she wrote, folks. There’s no going back once you Google the GMOs so she runs to the Science Lab and shows Big Bang pictures of the Rash while a guy lurks in the doorway. The Dean (Kristin’s boss) yanks her into his office and mocks her for learning things from the internet then lies and tells her that Vitamin A rice is saving kids in India.
You know, I have to hand it to these people, they troll really well. This is like a dramatic reenactment of a Pro vs Anti GMO message board on Reddit.
Scene 2000: Are we there yet?
Lurky Guy jump scares her in the parking lot and is all, “Pssst…follow me to my house.” So, she does because she’s plucky but delusional. Lurky Guy explains biotech in a way that would gross anyone out about moving icky viruses around, new allergens and blah, blah, all the usual tropes. I need to find someone else to debunk this shit because Consumed the Movie has sucked the life out of me.
While Lurky Guy does a voiceover where he reads off the Organic Consumer Association’s website, we go to the Science Lab.
Okay, this is by far the best scene. Evil Clonestra suits walk down a hallway to meet with Big Bang and Goose and give them fat envelopes of cash and they tell Big Bang to upgrade his CAR. This is what the anti-GMO people really think, isn’t it? They think evil men in suits creep into science labs and buy off scientists with wads of cash and CARS. How do you even argue with someone about that? It’s impossible and I’m not going to do it anymore because zzzzz…I feel like I’ve got the boy’s rash fatigue.
And now the mom is talking about insurance forever so I have to take a nap. Insurance issues are serious and being put on hold over and over is terrible but oh, dear god, I do not need to watch someone else do it in a movie. This is a thriller. Please get back to creeping around in empty libraries or something.
Scene Infinity: Grocery Store
Mom freaks out because there aren’t GMO labels on the jelly or chicken soup and hold up -where have I seen this before? That’s right, it’s a Just Label It video starring Gary Hirshberg whose company is mentioned at the end and who receives a Very Special Thank You. Aw. Anyway, she has a nervous breakdown because she doesn’t know if peppers or tomatoes are GMOs (they’re not) and she sees maggots on the potatoes. OR DID SHE? We’re not sure because that history of delusions is confusing. Also, potatoes aren’t GMOs either but good work on that visual.
[Because I know someone will bring this up – there is a genetically engineered potato but I don’t know anyone who sells it. It was engineered so that it didn’t produce as much of the shit that causes cancer that regular potatoes do when they’re cooked which seems like a good idea but anti-GMO activists like their old Cancer Potatoes so you’re out of luck for now.]
Scene I Give Up: Danny Glover’s Authentic Farm with Authentic Wooden Sign
Danny Glover and his family are hanging around on their Cracker Barrel porch playing Cracker Barrel Checkers when the Mom shows up to buy organic produce and Danny Glover is a total dick who accuses her of being a GMO Cop. She’s all, “Here’s a rash pic on my old flip phone!” so he believes her and then gives her a speech off the Center for Food Safety’s website about pesticides and toxic rain. Huh?
Back at the Science Lab we see a chicken covered in feces and then shit goes down and Goose is banging on buttons, chickens are killing each other and HOLY HELL. What just happened? I am NOT eating that chicken so it’s a good thing that it DOESN’T EXIST.
More alone time in a dark library and then rain and dark and the Mom’s CAR because this is a thriller. The Mom takes a Silkwood shower because of Danny Glover’s Toxic Rain speech and then self-mutilates because of delusions. Jesus.
Scene “I Can’t Believe You’re Still Reading This”: Kristin is unconscious on the bathroom floor while the bathwater floods the house and Rash Boy just sits in the tub. How old is he? My kids aren’t Little Man Tates but they had the faucet pretty much mastered by age 2. The Rash is on his arm and his brain now.
Kristin is in a diabetic coma because she forgot her insulin (an actual GMO, unlike say Homicidal Chicken).
Back at the lab, Big Bang tries to warn the main evil Clonestra suit about homicidal chickens but the Suit is all, “Don’t care. Get your shit and get out.”
Scene “We’re Speeding this Shit Up”: Danny Glover’s Farm
Danny Glover loses organic certification. Spoiler: He dies.
Back at the Mom’s house she’s paying bills with Rash Boy who has that listless sick thing down cold by now. She decides to see a lawyer who reads a GMO labeling speech off the Just Label It website.
The Mom decides to break into the Science Lab with Lurky Guy to steal evidence or something. They get caught and…is this almost over?
Scene with a Chicken Farmer and a Contract: Contracts are thrilling! Distinguished Dad and Evil Clonestra Suit take advantage of the poor chicken farmer. This is how the film makers see farmers – as giant infants who can’t read contracts.
Scene with Hot Dad and Internet Allergy Pics: Zzzzz..
Scene “Who Cares?”: The Mom is doing laundry because it NEVER FUCKING ENDS, does it? Working and boring business school and breaking into labs and the Rash – I totally don’t blame her for never using a hairbrush.
Anyway, she’s doing the laundry and comes across Hot Dad’s Clonestra Letterhead. He’s a GMO Cop! This is thrilling.
Scene Where the Kid Plays with a CAR: CAR close up and scary music.
Back at the lab, Big Bang breaks into the computer and finds, wait for it,…the Seralini Rat Study!
I CANNOT GO ON
Seriously, I can’t go on plus I bet nobody wants me to anyway so let’s wrap this up.
The Mom starts drinking again and Big Bang is killed by drunk GMO Cops because he wants to give the Mom the Seralini Rat study. (I’m just going to link to explanations about Tumor Rats and allergens and blah, blah because I have no energy left after watching this movie and nobody will read this anyway.) The Mom breaks into a junk yard and rescues the Seralini Rat study from Big Bang’s totaled car.
Distinguished Dad is told by his son to “Try Saying Something Different” which is super deep and I think it’s a message from the anti-GMO folks that they are bored with that story about how humans bred broccoli from a mustard plant. I hear ya, kid.
For some reason, Kristin the Grandma is feeding Rash Boy toast by hand because the Rash makes his arms not work but he and the Mom are able to run through the halls of Clonestra with Hot Dad a few minutes later so I’m thinking the doctor might be onto something with the Hysterical Rash theory. We see a room full of chicken farmers sitting in a room at Clonestra where they’re left waiting by the Suits because they are dupes. Get it?
The Mom finds Distinguished Dad and thrusts Seralini Rat pics at him and gives him the GMO labeling speech off the Food Democracy Now website and brings up the tobacco lobby which is a tactic used so often that it deserves its own Latin name and a place on Logical Fallacy Bingo. Argumentum ad Smoke-em?
I am really cutting this down but you’re not missing anything. Distinguished Dad quits. Homicidal Chicken goes to a supermarket near you. Hot Dad and the Mom take Rash Boy to a football game which is nice but then the Mom sees people eating popcorn and hotdogs so she goes into a catatonic state. The End. No, really - that’s how it ends. A close-up on the Mom’s catatonic face because…popcorn - which is so weird since popcorn isn’t a GMO. But this movie isn’t big on fact checking so..shrug.
I’ll do another post later about all the reasons this movie is stupid and wrong. (Actually, no I won't because I took one for the team and watched this movie so someone else can talk about the Tumor Rats.) I mean, it’s basically a propaganda film and I think the people involved should be ashamed but they think they’re doing a good thing I guess. It’s an extremist view, fueled by every conspiracy, but I could have forgiven them if it hadn’t been SO BORING. Jesus.
So, that’s a wrap. I’m going to go work on my own extremist Netflix drama now where European environmental groups team up with American organic executives to starve and blind people in the developing world. That would be about as helpful to the GMO conversation as Consumed the Movie is.