The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
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First, he was bugged by the almighty burger, now Oscar®-nominated renegade filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) is biting the hand that feeds him by exposing Hollywood’s dirtiest little secret: the games they play to get advertisers’ products strategically placed in movies and on television. Spurlock uses his irreverent comedic style to infiltrate corporate boardrooms and ad agency pitch meetings to show how far they will go without our even knowing it!
Since the advent of recording devices and on-demand services, consumers have been bypassing commercials like never before, so advertising agencies have stepped up their use of product placement. In The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) renders the process transparent as he documents his attempts to get Madison Avenue to fund his film. After a flood of rejections, he takes a series of meetings with companies willing to align their brand with his--and make no mistake, Spurlock is as much a brand as Donald Trump or Outkast's Big Boi, who show up to talk about product endorsement. The director's entertaining and enlightening journey even leads him to a juice purveyor that opens its wallet for placement above the title--hence the name of the pomegranate beverage which appears on all promotional materials. As one observer puts it, "You're selling out, but not selling out." For perspective, Spurlock solicits commentary from progressive thinkers, like Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky, and Hollywood types, like J.J. Abrams, who created Lost, and Quentin Tarantino, who admits that a certain all-night diner rejected his offer to appear in Reservoir Dogs. Spurlock even travels to São Paulo to take a look at their ban on outdoor ads: no billboards or messages on cabs and buses, rendering the city clean and downright dull for those accustomed to American-style marketing. The film as a whole resembles a full-length version of a Mad Men pitch meeting--but funnier. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
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Kudos to the companies that had the guts to back him. I made it a point after to let each one know that their willingness to peel bak they veil is why I have at least tried their products (still not rich enough to “try” a Mini). And not surprisingly, those companies tend to actually have quality products since they can stand the scrutiny Spurlock shines on them. Also, it was vey cool on Mane and Tail to allow one of Spurlock’s best jokes… Still waiting for that great POM commercial Morgan pitched but was shot down. C’mon POM: I know that you are a Jewish mother [the POM Marketing VP] but surely your kids have a sense of humor. Do it for the children. ;)
It's a neat idea to have corporate sponsors pay for the production of the movie but the problem is that it takes over the entire documentary. Literally 80-90% is Morgan seeking out advertisers and only a tiny fraction covers the premise of the title.
So how much does corporate sponsorship influence Hollywood? Are advertisers drawn to scripts or are scripts written entirely to promote certain products? What is the agenda? All of these are great questions the film teases us with but never really answers in any detail. And that's a shame since it's a fascinating topic and Morgan Spurlock should be been the perfect guy to expose product placement practices.
Mr. Spurlock's take on how a movie raises money is "transparent". When you see a movie, you see a box of some product. The company that makes that product pays a sum to the producers for the product to be seen.
Mr. Spurlock went all out and called it. The whole move is "sponsor driven" and his humorous dialogue and filming of the process is hysterical.
Love this film - Also liked his previous documentary "Super Size Me".