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Movie Review: Take Out

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Seth Landau took his experience as a journalist along with a bad experience in a chain barbecue restaurant and turned them into the hilarious and smart indepedent film, Take Out. He wrote, directed, and starred in what became an amazingly high quality movie, after beginning with only a great idea and $13,000.

Landau plays the leading character, Zach Turk, who is a disillusioned reporter turned activist. He uses his position at a fictional Arizona newspaper to take on the chain restaurant industry. For added plot depth, he also happens to be the grandson of the CEO of Chief Beef, a fictional chain not unlike McDonalds.

While the film offers some serious and important social and political commentary on the state of food production and consumerism in our current culture, it’s most memorable for its unbelievable humor. As a writer, Landau did a good job of creating a compelling story line and making me think, but the images he created as a director had me laughing nonstop.

He addresses issues such as how do CEOs of corporations, who make billions of dollars making poor people sick, sleep at night, how can food be so cheap, and is the media interested in informing and protecting consumers or catering to corporate advertisers? And he does it brilliantly and humorously.

Take Out poster | hosted by TinyPic.comLandau plays a relatively normal and low-key guy who is surrounded by entirely over-the-top characters. This creates hilarious interactions, but some of the characters went beyond the point of absurd, which really wasn’t necessary. Still, for the most part the satirical sketches worked really well.

The story's not only absurdly funny, it's also fantastical. The protagonist prints a news column that is apparently so memorable (we, the viewers, don’t know what it says) that people everywhere read it and magically renounce chain restaurants. Not really "magically" but just that whatever it says, when people read it they say, "Oh my god, you're absolutely right," and then never patronize a chain again. Ah, a wonderful fantasy, if only it were so easy to affect social change!

Currently the film is being shown at film festivals while they search for a distributor, and hopefully they'll find one soon. There are some really important ideas that are nicely illustrated through it. You can view the trailer here.

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About Staci Schoff

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