How much is Morgan Spurlock worth?
|Net Worth:||$12 Million
|Date of Birth:||November 7, 1970|
|Country:||United States of America|
Who Is Morgan Spurlock
Morgan Spurlock is often referred to a documentary filmmaker, but his movies are more like essays — they are subjective, from his perspective and represent his own world view. The former stand-up comedian takes the funny, one-man approach to comedy and applies it to his films. Spurlock has also branched out into producing films and television shows, and published his first book in 2005.
- Spurlock was born and raised in West Virginia.
- He received his degree in film from New York University.
- He performed stand-up in both New York and Los Angeles.
- His first film, Super Size Me, was released in 2004 and was nominated for an Academy Award.
- Spurlock’s TV series, 30 Days, premiered in 2005.
- His second film, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, was released in 2008.
Morgan Valentine Spurlock was born on November 7, 1970, in Parkersburg, West Virginia. He was raised in nearby Beckley, West Virginia. He moved to New York to attend college, where he graduated from NYU with a BFA in film. After college, he relocated to Los Angeles and began performing stand-up comedy and writing plays. He later created a web cast called “I Bet You Will,” (where regular people were paid money to perform outrageous stunts) which was picked up and turned into a series by MTV.
Getting Super Sized
What happens when you eat McDonald’s for thirty days, three meals a day, super-sized when asked, widely sampling selections from the entire menu from Big Macs meals to yogurt parfaits, salads and fish filets?
In 2004, Spurlock released his first film, Super Size Me. The film followed Spurlock as he ate nothing but McDonald’s fast food three times a day for 30 days and examined the effects the diet had on his health.
With a team of highly qualified doctors monitoring his health every step of the way, director Morgan Spurlock answers this question: your body falls apart.Spurlock also has the perfect narrative hook: himself. Following in the tradition of Michael Moore, Spurlock is the narrative hero of his own film – and this is just fine. An articulate speaker, he is also a compassionate listener and a wonderful guide.
Over the course of his experiment, Spurlock gained eighteen pounds, became depressed and withdrawn, suffered from severe headaches, mood swings and disturbing chest palpitations. All of these shocking changes take place on camera. After thirty days, he goes into liver failure.
“Super Size Me” is a terrific film that takes the seemingly not-so-sexy subjects of health, nutrition, and corporate greed and turns them into informative entertainment. Crisply edited, Spurlock’s steady stream of meals at McDonalds are cut with interviews with his vegan chef girlfriend, his concerned nutritionists and doctors, fast food consumers, and corporate lobbyists.
The film was a success and scored Spurlock an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary feature. It also inspired his first book, Don’t Eat This: Fast Food and the Supersizing of America, released in 2005.
Though there was no official correlation, McDonald’s made several changes to its menu (offering more healthy options) shortly after the release of Spurlock’s film.
The Small Screen
The success of Spurlock’s film led to his own TV series on the FX cable network. The show, called 30 Days, premiered in 2005. The premise — inspired by Super Size Me — finds Spurlock and other participants attempting to spend 30 days in the shoes of someone else (one episode found Spurlock and his then-girlfriend living on minimum wage for 30 days; in another, he spent 25 days in Virginia prison). The show’s third season premiered in 2008.
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?
In 2008, Spurlock released his second feature film, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?. Inspired by the impending birth of his son (Laken, born in 2006), Spurlock heads off to the Middle East to explore questions of terrorism, national safety, conflict in the Middle East — and to find Osama Bin Laden. The film was largely seen as a misfire and didn’t receive the same acclaim as his first effort.
It asks important questions and takes the time to listen to people that don’t always have a voice in American culture. The trouble is that Spurlock is good at asking questions, but doesn’t come up with much else to say.
The central conceit of WITWIOBL is that Spurlock has found out his long-time girlfriend is pregnant and, concerned about what kind of world his new child will be born into, he heads off to the Middle East to look for the most wanted man in the world. The rest of the film follows his journey to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and more to talk with local citizens and a handful of experts about the conflicts they face and how they see America’s place in the world.
I’ll admit that the one-line concept of a lone guy running around trying to find Osama Bin Laden is kind of funny, but that’s not really what Spurlock’s movie is about. I suppose that’s a good thing — he wants to explore something deeper — but the movie feels a little lost and unfocused. It relies heavily on tricks like animations and video-game recreations, but they don’t add much. It seems a little like he and his team of writers started with a title and worked backwards. Ultimately, I think the movie is hanging on too thin a gimmick to sustain itself.
Spurlock’s first film, Super Size Me, also depended on a gimmick — but it was a hell of a gimmick. Spurlock opted to eat nothing but McDonald’s food for 30 days to see the effects it had on his body; at the same time, his film branched off to explore fast food culture and the state of nutrition in America. The film, structured more like an essay than a documentary (the same goes for WITWIOBL), had a clear thesis and stuck to it. Plus, the tone was rather light and Spurlock was clearly at the center — he makes an amusing subject.
WITWIOBL misfires on a lot of what Super Size Me got right. It lacks the focus of the earlier film; it seems like Spurlock only falls back on his “finding Osama” premise when he realize he’s strayed too far off on a tangent — it becomes an afterthought. And though the film centers on Spurlock — it’s his journey, his experience, his worldview — he’s not in it that much. He’s more interested in hearing the thoughts of others, and proves to be a likable and never-condescending interviewer (something that can’t necessarily be said of some of his contemporaries). But the movie misses the “one man, one mission” charm of Super Size Me, even though “one man, one mission” is the central gag of Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?.
The movie is not bad, but it’s not exactly worth recommending, either. I admire Spurlock’s intentions and his willingness to once again sacrifice his body for his films (more than once, Spurlock is shown to be in immediate danger). The movie, though, covers ground that’s similar to a lot of other recent documentaries (among them No End in Sight and Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11) and doesn’t add much to the conversation. Spurlock remains a filmmaker worth watching, but he’s still finding his voice.
- Spurlock studied ballet as a child.
- He was rejected by the USC film school five times.
- In 1996, he worked as an announcer for extreme sports competitions on ESPN.
- He gained 25 pounds during the filming of Super Size Me.
- Spurlock won Best Director for a Documentary Film at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival for Super Size Me.
- He married his long-time girlfriend, Alexandra Jamieson (seen in both Super Size Me and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?) in 2006.