Skip to main content

Review: Everyone Wins Except Audience (The Greatest Movie Ever Sold)

Morgan Spurlock’s newest documentary, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a revue exploiting the use of advertising, branding, and product placement in the movies. The walking contradiction, or the joke that keeps on giving is that his film, is also financed by advertising, branding, and product placement. Luckily the comedy is strong enough to last the film’s 90-minute run-time. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is a daring, competent, and consistently entertaining documentary.

Spurlock is a notorious filmmaker – who is equal measures prolific and eccentric. His 2004 controversial documentary, Super Size Me did direct damage on the McDonalds organization. The same affect is not likely to happen here.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is at its best when Spurlock is interviewing other filmmakers – such as Quentin Tarantino – who admits he’s written numerous scripts in which he wanted his characters eating and talking in a Denny’s (think Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs). But Denny’s shot him down because it was too violent of an atmosphere to represent their restaurant (as if Denny’s is the Tavern on the Green?).

Spurlock gathers other directors for his counter argument – Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) who admits accepting the business is the only to make money and Peter Berg who, like Ratner has just accepted the business for what it is.

How could that be? I’m not one to easily be repulsed by product placement or branding – because I’m aware that without such commercials – movies would be far and few. But a line must be drawn. The fact that these directors care that much about the money and quantity, over quality is saddening. After watching The Greatest Movie Ever Sold my respect for Kevin Smith, who has decided to turn his back on the studios – produce, direct, and market his new film Red State, went up immensely.

Spurlock illustrates the atmosphere we live in with his charming personality. He talks to agents, producers, product reps, musicians, and placement specialists – plenty of those scenes pop – and many of the people on the other line are perplexed by his inquisitions and intent of making a documentary exploiting advertisement and branding, while being produced by advertisement and branding.

Honestly, I too was confused from time to time. When the film concluded I tried to gather my thoughts and figure out what it amounted to. Spurlock is told he should “take the money and go” – and in many ways he does. But that’s ok, because in the process he’s created a film that’s original and entertaining.

By now a majority of people know and understand how films are being made – organizations and companies produce blockbusters and romantic-comedies like clockwork. They create these films by culminating what’s trending in modern-day-society, showcasing their product at every opportunity in the movie, and ultimately try to sell the viewer their product. The crazy thing is, in most cases, it’s done in a very sly and underlying sort of way.

Spurlock’s ingenious documentary is neither groundbreaking nor revelatory – but it is fun. I had a good time watching Spurlock straggle along from product companies to movie studios – and getting rejected, sometimes accepted, but always being charismatic. If you buy into the film’s ploy and let it ride – I can’t imagine you won’t have a good time.

By the way, did I mention the official title of the film is POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”? How about Merrell’s and how they are comfortable, arch supporting, inexpensive shoes? Also did you know POM Wonderful can provide some of the benefits of Viagra? Oh, I almost forgot to mention that Hyatt Hotels blow out the Four Seasons and Mini Coopers are the cars of the future, especially with a full tank of gas from OK Go, while wearing Old Navy.

Too much advertising? Take a hint Hollywood.

Popular posts from this blog

Hulk vs. The Incredible Hulk vs. The Avengers

There are two movies about the Hulk and one that features the green monster as a major player. One was made in 2003 by an auteur, starring a little-known Aussie. Five years later The Incredible Hulk came out to the same tepid reaction as Ang Lee's Hulk did. This weekend, The Avengers made the Hulk as popular as he has been in a long time. So it comes down to this: Hulk vs. Hulk vs. Hulk. Who will smash whom?

Round One: Acting
Edward Norton outshines Eric Bana as the dual persona of the meek Bruce Banner and the rage-induced Hulk. Eric Bana was given little to do but run and fight and often the audience was just waiting for him to transform. With the Incredible Hulk, Norton's Banner is fully fleshed-out and we are given a reason to care about him. Being allowed to go a little dark with Banner's scenes questioning what is left of his life provided emotional resonance to the character that Hulk lacked. Yet even with the capable performance that Norton gives there was something …

Review: The Salvation

Westerns have never recovered from the oversaturation that killed off viewer interest decades ago, but every now and then a gem pops up. Recent successes like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, 2007’s 3:10 to Yuma and the Coen brothers adaptation of True Grit all did well because they tweaked the genre slightly, but director Kristian Levring goes with an old school approach. A faithful recreation of those revenge Westerns made so popular in the 1970s, The Salvation envelopes many elements of previous Clint Eastwood classics and wraps it into a tidy package.

The Salvation starts in on the central dilemma, joining Jon (Hannibal‘s Mad Mikkelsen) at the train station where he awaits the arrival of his wife and son. Jon and his brother, Peter (Mikael Persbrandt), have lived in the United States long enough to build a hospitable life for their family back in Denmark. This homecoming should be a sweet moment to establish the family important to Jon, but fate plays out…

Review: The Voices

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) spends his days working the nine-to-five shift at his new job at the Milton Bathtub Factory. Jerry is chipper to the point that he may turn some people off, but he never stops trying to make friends. Friends are something that Jerry could use because the only other conversation he has is with his dog Bosco and his cat Mr. Whiskers. Things are looking up though, Jerry has been tasked with planning the company picnic and he’s asked a girl (Gemma Arterton) out on a date. Jerry is so excited to share the news he rushes home to tell his pets about Fiona. Oddly enough, both Bosco and Mr. Whiskers start talking back.

No need to go back and re-read that last sentence, yes, Ryan Reynolds has pets who talk back to him. His dog, Bosco, is quite affable, however, his cat, Mr. Whiskers, would feel right at home curled in the lap of Blofeld. Unfortunately for everyone around him, it’s the advice of the evil cat that Jerry heeds more often than not. For all of Jerry’s pleasant…