POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Reviews
Ralph Nader: To sleep.
"He's not selling out, he's buying in."
I'm a big fan of Morgan Spurlock. I have loved everything I've seen from him; from Super Size Me to his show 30 Days. He always has interesting ideas, which combined with his presence and personality, always make for a fun experience. POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold may be his most interesting and brilliant ideas. I love it. A movie about advertising and product placement, that is completely funded by advertising and product.
There are a shit load of products used in the film. It uses commercials and clips from movies to show how product placement is done. Spurlock goes around presenting his ideas to different companies and when they say they're in; he makes a point to advertise their products. He goes as far as to put some commercials for the products in the film. Everything works and entertains. He shows the ins and outs of product placement incredibly well.
Spurlock talks to filmmakers about their experiences with big companies. He speaks with musicians about their songs being used in advertisements. He gets Ok Go to create a song for the film. There's nothing he really leaves untouched. He gets an air line, a drink, a shampoo, a shoe company, a clothing company and a deodorant; all of which are advertised throughout the movie in cool little ways. Every piece of information the film gives is really interesting.
He goes through the whole process from pitching the idea, to getting commercial spots on education television. He gets famous poster creators to design his posters. It's all just spot on.
And POM, I must say; your choice to back the film was a good one because now, I just really want to try POM.
A documentary about branding, advertising and product placement that is financed and made possible by brands, advertising and product placement.
Having taken on the McDonald's diet in "Super Size Me", Morgan Spurlock now turns to advertising. "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" is a look at product placement, completely funded by product placements. Much of the documentary features Spurlock asking people about how product placement works, as well as inquiring about the ethics of it. The big surprise to me is just how prevalent product placement is (you're going to be hard-pressed to find a Hollywood movie that doesn't feature it).
Since a lot of the documentary features talking heads -- among them Noam Chomsky and Quentin Tarantino -- it's a little repetitive at times, but it's mostly a good look at the extent to which commercialism saturates our lives. And very funny every step of the way! And remember: always drink POM!
There is marketing and product placement in movies!
(Okay, you're right. I probably wouldn't be so glib if the inside of the TARDIS resembled the outside of a racing car.)
(And hey, I like trailers because I can get a sense of a movie's visual style that a review may not be able to convey.)
At least, it seems news to Morgan Spurlock, somehow unaware that the practice of product placement goes back as far as the early days of radio. He also thinks that because of how ubiquitous this may seem in movies these days, nobody who makes them currently has any artistic integrity at all, forgetting iconic filmmakers like David Fincher and John Sayles.(What I think Spurlock is getting at is the state of Hollywood, therefore accidentally making a great case for independent movies.) So, if nobody else has any, then it is apparently quite okay for him, in the name of transparency to show how marketing influences movies(ignoring the fact that anybody with something to protect will act differently when they know the camera is running), to prostitute himself to raise funds for this documentary(Jimmy Kimmel may be joking but I am not), even shaking the hand of Donald Trump, while overriding the warnings of those older and wiser than him.
While not as half as smart as he thinks he is, Spurlock is at least a genial host. Still, that does not, with the exception of the interlude in Sao Paolo where they have banned billboards, excuse his not offering any alternatives, as he does not have anything to say that Bill Hicks already did two decades previously with much more anger and humor. In the future, it will be interesting to see how effective Kickstarter will be at funding movies, whose emergence has also dated this documentary.
In a perfect world artists could rely on rich benefactors whose only interest lay in seeing the artists true vision rendered, no matter what the cost. The real world just doesn't work that way, nor has it ever. The originators of product placement were probably the Catholic Church. Without the need to sell their product the public would never have heard Mozart or seen the works of Michaelangelo. Whether Mozart or Michaelangelo believed in the product is up for debate. What's undeniable is that they wouldn't have found an audience without the Church. Maybe they sacrificed their integrity but do we care now? We can enjoy their work thanks to their "selling-out".
So is product placement killing cinema? I can't speak for everyone but I can't think of an example of product placement ruining a movie for me. Quite the opposite in fact. Ever seen a product that's been invented purely for the movie? That instantly takes you out of the film because it automatically reminds you that what you're seeing isn't real. It's like when a phone number starts with 555, it would be much less distracting to just use a real number.
This movie suffers from being a victim of it's own concept. Because he relies on product placement to make the movie Spurlock has to hold back from mocking it. I'm sure a witty biting satire could be made on this subject but this isn't it.
If anyone wishes to sponsor this review contact me and we'll work something out.
In the tradition of Michael Moore and Nick Broomfield, Morgan Spurlock inserts himself center stage into his own documentaries, virtually making them more comedy films than objective real-life studies. As such, this is a thrillingly entertaining, hilarious meta-movie in which we're sold everything from pomegranate juice to Mini-Coopers to luxury hotels, while at the same time being pummeled by the Morgan Spurlock "brand" as well.
While not the searing indictment of how product placement has taken over our lives, the film still packs a punch. Completely financed by the advertisers we see over and over again, Spurlock wants us to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all while questioning whether or not it's a sell-out. This is some creative, exhilarating, movie-making here. The pace is lightning fast throughout as we trace Spurlock's attempt to secure financing for the film and honor those product placement contracts.
There were two moments in the film, however, that really hit home and gave it that little bit of emotional heft. When Spurlock visits Sao Paulo, which enacted a "no outdoor advertising" rule in the city, I was amazed at how simple and serene the city looked without all that "noise pollution". Later, he visits a high school where he asked the students how they felt about advertisements even within their daily news updates. One young teen said, "High school is supposed to tell us how to think, not what to think". It gave me some hope for a generation raised on corporate high fructose b.s.
Spurlock is such a genial host through this potential minefield, that you end up not resenting his advertisers as much as you would on any given episode of [INSERT ANY TELEVISION SHOW HERE - but especially THE AMAZING RACE, you FORD FOCUS whores!]. These advertisers come across as shrewd, down-to-earth business people who are proud of their products. God help us all!