"King Corn" is a documentary that follows two recent college graduates as they decide to plant an acre of corn in Iowa and track where it goes after the harvest. While that may not sound like a riveting way to spend an hour and a half, it was actually fascinating to watch what they discovered along the way about food in America today.

Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney were college friends. When they found out in school that their generation was the first in recorded American history to be at risk of a shorter lifespan than their parents, they started what turned into over a year-long project to discovery why. The answer, the food they ate, was so surprising to them that it inspired this documentary.

Their investigation started at school as they kept a food journal and had a hair analysis performed. They were told that basically everything they ate was somehow a product of corn -- from corn-fed animal meat to high fructose corn syrup. To learn how corn was turned into their diet, and therefore a part of their hair, they decided to grow some corn to figure out the mystery.

As it turned out, both Ellis and Cheney had relatives at one time in the same small county in Iowa. This helped them to select Greene as the town for their acre, so they could also do some research into their family history.

Once they got set up in Greene, their adventure turned to learning how government subsidies drive the farming industry, the mechanical advances in the farming community, and how changes in the Department of Agriculture over the last few decades affected both.

I really enjoyed the interviews with the local farmers. I was surprised to learn that the average Iowa farmer no longer can feed his family off of his land, as things like the corn industry take over more and more of the available farmland. The most shocking interview revealed that even some farmers think that the kind of corn they are growing is terrible for the country, but they have to continue growing it to make a living.

After harvesting their acre of corn, Ellis and Cheney decide to follow their crop. They found that most corn is taken to one of two final destinations, either to feed cattle or to corn syrup factories. While the cattle ranchers were willing and eager to show how their corn fed the animals, the factories would not allow any tours of their facilities. This led to an interesting science project to see if they could actually make corn syrup at home.

They followed the corn syrup to soda factories and to the public for consumption. Ellis and Cheney were lucky enough to stumble upon a cab driver whose entire family was afflicted with diabetes and obesity. The driver had actually lost an incredible amount of weight when he decided to cut out soda from his diet to try to combat the diabetes and obesity problem in his family.

Throughout the film there are little animated clips that Ellis and Cheney put together to illustrate different points in their documentary. Although they are simple -- taking a map and animating kernels of corn on top of it, for example -- they add a unique broader perspective to the film.

If you liked the documentary "Super Size Me" or the feature film "Fast Food Nation," I would safely bet that you will enjoy this film as well. It is both educational and entertaining without being over the top with propaganda. The film really serves to educate the public on what exactly they consume every day and how that can have a mushroom effect in personal health as well as the health of the farming industry.

There are three deleted scenes from the documentary that are included in the special features of the DVD. Also included are two featurettes, "The King Corn in the Corn Belt Tour" and "The Lost Basement Lectures."

For a great food documentary, check out "King Corn" in your local store's new releases section. If you can't find it there, many online rental vendors carry this title in stock. I would like to thank the filmmakers for providing me a copy of this great documentary. For more information about them or the documentary, please visit their Web site at www.kingcorn.net.

Please send your questions, comments, and DVD recommendations to Kelsey at pop@normantranscript.com.

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