Friday, April 22, 2011

Movie with Abe: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
Directed by Morgan Spurlock
Released April 22, 2011

Morgan Spurlock, the witty, sarcastic director of “Super Size Me,” has again taken on a project of spectacular size and scale designed to illuminate some socially-accepted practice about which many consumers remain woefully unaware. This time, he’s not inhaling Big Macs for a month but instead trying to put together the world’s most ambitious and sponsored film. “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” is enormously entertaining and tongue-in-cheek, and it serves as an enlightening look at the always interesting and often ridiculous world of product placement, using Spurlock’s documentary as the very example of what it is he’s trying to show.

Spurlock is one of those documentarians who, like Michael Moore, makes himself and his singular personality a big part of his films. Fortunately, he’s not nearly as purposefully obnoxious as Moore, and, especially in this case, he’s not preparing anything terrible scathing or skewering any one person or company in particular. Still, he uses his distinctive charms to attempt to woo his prospective sponsors. It’s fun to see him get excited and crack jokes about the many different products and companies (including a shampoo designed for use by humans and horses), and he’s an appropriate hero for this particular mission. He makes for a terrific narrator and it’s fascinating to hear his thought processes.

What Spurlock assembles in “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” is a conglomerate of brands that all see the value in being dubbed, if only for the purposes of this film, the “greatest” of whatever arena it is they occupy. For instance, the city of Altoona, PA will be changing its name to “POM Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold, PA” for two months starting next week, and Spurlock can currently be seen in the introductory video shown right after takeoff on Jet Blue flights, serving both as the company spokesman and an advertisement for the film.

At the same time, this movie is an unfinished work and an experience entirely grander than just one film. So much of the work that went into “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” is going to take place during and after the film’s release, continuing the intense cross-promotion among the sponsoring brands. Therefore, as a film, it’s simply the research and the initial basis for Spurlock’s grander experiment on just what goes into advertising and why certain companies choose to become involved in various enterprises for different reasons. Whatever it is, the film itself is a blast, and there’s a whole lot to think about thanks to the curious mind of Morgan Spurlock.


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