While sitting down recently to watch some netflix during a period of sickness, *cough* manflu, I decided it would be an ample time to watch a movie I had been curious about for a while. Fat, Sick an Nearly Dead, an Australian documentary released in 2010 about a sensational diet called a juice fast or “reboot”.
Oh no, not another movie on fad diets, great right? Actually, it’s presented really well, it’s honest, it shows real people and real struggles. The information provided is accurate and the specialists are informative. Here is our brekdown of the movie.
The movie starts with an introduction to Joe Cross, an Australian capitol investor turned filmmaker, dad bod and all. We learn early into the documentary that Joe suffers from an Autoimmune disease called Chronic Urticaria (Hives for us simple folk) which is a dibilitating and common disease which sufferers break out in rashes and itchy skin all over their body, with symptoms usually controlled with medications. Joe begins his journey with a plan, 60 days travelling around America meeting people, talking health and wellbeing all the while consuming nothing but healthy vegetable juices he prepares himself, to see if he can lose weight and reduce or eliminte the need for medications.
Joe spends his time travelling between different cities and states, talking to people on the street about the struggles of health and weight. This is both shocking but relatable as most Americans in the film interviewed follow the same ideology, health and well being is too hard, too time consuming and there is a lack of education. We soon meet a character named Terry Pennington, a gunshop owner, with his simple mantra, “If I’m going to die, I’m going to die a happy fat guy“.
We are then introduced to Phil Staples, a truck driver on a random visit Joe had at a truck stop. Joe talks to Phil about his wellbeing and discovers that Phil also suffers from Chronic Urticaria and takes the same medication, with the only difference is he weighs in at 400 lbs. Phil lives on a truckers diet of soda drinks and processed foods while driving long hours. Joe gives Phil a sample of his juice cleanse and that’s the last we see of Phil, or is it?
Of course not! Joe continues on his journey bouncing between Australia and the USA when he recieves a disturbing phone call from Phil, a heart felt plea for help. Joe heads back to the US and gets Phil sorted with a juicing machine and stays with him for a few days while Phil detoxes and adjusts to the juice only diet. Phil succesfully completes the 10 days and loses 17lbs of fat. In total he managed 61 days and lost a staggering 95lbs. Phil then becomes a poster boy for the movie and the plant based diet, go Phil!
The movie comes to completion with Joe back in Australia, busting out some classic INXS, showcasing his new and impressive body. We also learn that Phil has lost an astonishing weight and is spending his time teaching and inspiring others with the juicing diet an that he had given up the trucking life, inspiring stuff.
In total, Joe himself lost 90 odd lbs and looks fantastic for his age. He was also able to completley eliminate his medications and suffer no more outbreaks of Urticaria, these same eliminations are seen with Phil.
All up, it’s a great film. It reminds us a lot of Supersize Me in reverse, it characterises a lot of the modern documentary diet movies with cheesey animations, vocal work and character interactions. It however takes a good look at the mentality of most people in regards to fitness, health and wellbeing and allows us to follow two very different people through an extrodinary journey. Phils story was both emotional and inspiring and you will be rooting for him through the film. There was a sequel to this film released in 2014 and we will also review that movie soon, so stay tuned!
Title: Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead
Release Date: 2010
Running Time: 1hr 36 mins
Starring: Joe Cross, Phil Staples, Terry Pennington
Directed By: Joe Cross, Kurt Engfehr
Reviews: R/T 67%, IMDB 7.6/10, Metaritic 45%