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on April 26, 2011
I sat through Morgan Spurlock's The Greatest Movie ever sold with fascination, but when it concluded, I wondered where was the film? Spurlock's idea is ingenious. One that very few people could have dared, and pulled of. He makes a film about the difficulty of finding sponsors to give funding for a project. The film however is the mission to meet with sponsors and advertisers; in other words, this seems like a behind the scenes sort of preproduction of funding your project. The money is going towards the film itself which IS the journey to get the funding. With commercials from official sponsors, one wonders if Spurlock himself is embracing the commercial enterprise. In other words, when does a spoof become to close to the subject it lampoons or critiques?

What I always enjoy about Spurlock, including here, is that even though he may disagree with advertising or the nutritional benefits of McDonalds, he appears for a large majority of his films as quite fair and balanced; unlike some people who from the get go detest their subject-*cough* Bill Maher. He actually gets in the game, calls countless companies and corporations for a deal, and gets rejected countless times for good reason. Not many companies would feel great about helping a film that is trying to demonstrate the intrusion of product placement in films. However, he eventually does get a good number of sponsors willing to spend from $25,000 to upwards of a million. Yet, the money is not delivered on the spot. There are countless contractual obligations that need to be followed so the rights of both sides are not compromised.

Morgan Spurlock is not Michael Moore. It's not that Moore is better or ruder than Spurlock, but that their styles differ. This shows for better and worse in this project. First of all, from Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky, to the demanding people at POM, Spurlock is as respectful and cooperative as one can be. There is no sense of superiority on Spurlock's behalf. We get that this is a nice friendly guy. This helps to understand and enjoy Spurlock's point of view. However, what Spurlock is not is an adept interviewer. Noam Chomsky and Quentin Tarantino are fascinating subjects, for completely different reasons, but Spurlock asks them a question or two, and they are forgotten forever. He is inquisitive, but a Moore would push for more information, and really get down to the meat of the issue.

We all know that marketing, advertising, and product placement play a big role in the film business, but Spurlock shows it in its very extreme. He isn't revealing it, but he approaches the issue through film, knowing that advertising touches every section of art. Where it gets most unfortunate is when these corporate powers enters the school: an institution that should be devoid of corporation's reach. A big issue for Spurlock is whether this project will turn him in to a new man who embraces product placement in his work. For many, this may not be a problem, but for him it definitely seems to be.

Rather than being insightful, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is passionate and funny coming from a man who cares about these issues, and deep-down obviously abhors advertising's intrusion in every part of our daily lives. A downside to the film is the ending. Unlike Supersize Me where one could come back with a moral or conclusion, such as "don't eat frequently at McDonalds, till it goes bankrupt" the conclusion of this work suggests there is no way to win against advertising. The only rescue to confide in nature to escape the wicked nature of today's ever increasing commercial world. There is no solution, but only a few routes of escape from such despicable activities. Many things don't get better with time, and it seems that advertising will only debase art more and more as time moves on.
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on December 28, 2013
I saw this once and had to buy it. It is smart, funny and can be eye-opening to those less knowledgable about what goes on in the branding industry. I gave this to a pre-teen to wake them up to what they are consuming and it worked for the better. Spurlock is both funny and keeps it light while also educating people about how much influence the companies that are household names control what goes into making movies they back and how much control they exert. The teens who saw it loved it, so this is a very approachable documentary with great production values.

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. ;)
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VINE VOICEon May 18, 2012
I like Morgan Spurlock and his approach to making documentaries but this one misses the mark. While it's definitely watchable and has interesting parts, the film inadvertently becomes guilty of doing the same things that it criticizes mainstream movies for doing.

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.
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on March 15, 2012
Fantastic documentary that I have watched for my own entertainment and have shown to classrooms of business and marketing students. Morgan Spurlock does a wonderful job of presenting the world of marketing in an educational and entertaining way. I believe it shows a very unbiased approach to the world of marketing. I particularly liked the portions on marketing in Brazil and his interviews with industry experts.
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on February 18, 2016
I expected this to be another slam and this time the movie industry. Actually, it was much more clever than that. It left you with a much clearer understanding of how advertising is woven into our movies and TV shows, and how the money generated by this advertising sways the artistic freedom of the directors of these shows. Not bad, not good, just interesting.
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on January 4, 2016
I have enjoyed everything Morgan Spurlock has produced and this is no exception, its pithy honest and not over the top. Morgan tackles issues while remaining objective in a way that I always wished my homie Micheal Moore had done. I could watch his tv shows and documentaries with my republican parents without making too much of a stir which is perfect for helping us all get closer to the same page on the issues that matter to me. That said this isn't really a home run in the way most all of his other stuff has been, presumably we are feeling the effects of some compromise that was inevitable given this concept: How to sell out and still tell the story you WANT to tell #impossible in that way this film more perfectly illustrates the concept it set out to illustrate that all the world is watered down by our need to avoid offending big business and interest groups that control with their dollars. $$$$ worth a watch.
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on November 3, 2011
The complete corruption of modern media by commercialization could not be more brilliantly presented in this very funny, very tragic documentary told tongue very firmly in cheek by Morgan Spurlock. It's actually a metaphor also for the corruption of the soul, which is what it would have to be: if the society is decaying, then obviously the individuals within it also are. That's heavy, but the film is not, which is its brilliance. A zeitgeist film for the 10 decade.
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on April 17, 2015
Morgan Spurlock is famous for "Supersize Me", the McDonald's binge eating documentary and also did a TV series called 30 days where he did lots of different things for 30 days each. He's great at documentaries and he's super funny! This one however doesn't really do it for me. It's an interesting idea (funding a movie about ads and sponsors by using only money from those ads and sponsors) but it just comes off a bit dry. I don't think it's his fault it's just the topic. Like I said, interesting and somewhat funny but the premise I think is inherently empty.
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on November 25, 2014
It tells us how advertisers stalk us during our every waking hour and how they monopolize the environment to destroy our privacy when we want to be left, for instance just to watch a movie in peace free from corporate propaganda and commercial indoctrination.
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on June 1, 2011
I absolutely loved this movie! It is completely hilarious, caught my attention the entire movie, and I left the theater with a smile on my face. I highly recommend this movie - I hope Morgan hits his $10,000,000 goal so that POM Wonderful will pay for their sponsorship of the movie. In what other film will you see the filmmaker bathing a pony in a tub?
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