REVIEW: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

31 03 2012

With “Super Size Me,” Morgan Spurlock set out to change the way we consume fast food.  For the most part, it worked.  (A society doesn’t just naturally all decide they want fruit slices instead of fries with that burger, do they?)  With “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold,” Spurlock set out to change the way we consume movies – and that might be an even bigger challenge.

Did it work?

If you want to judge in box office dollars, no.  There was no consumer rights revolution sparked by this movie.  But while it didn’t affect the masses, those who take the time to watch Spurlock’s documentary will find the way they look at the movies to be totally different.  It’s as if studios are happy for us to watch their products through a foggy lens, and “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” is a wipe that allows us to see them more clearly for what they are: advertisements for all your favorite corporations!

Now that you TiVo through their million-dollar commercials, they have to find some way to reach you!  (After all, you just ignore their sidebar ads on Facebook and phony “top results” on Google.)  Sure enough, most products you see in movies have been paid to appear there.  Tony Stark wasn’t written into “Iron Man” being a Dr. Pepper drinker, but that company sure will pay for Jon Favreau to read between the lines and put a Dr. Pepper can in his hand throughout the movie.

And how does Spurlock make this exposé of new advertising?  Through advertising and product placement.  In other words, prepare yourself for what might be the most meta movie … ever.  It’s self-aware to such extremes that it makes your head hurt.  But I’d rather finish a movie feeling educated and confused than dumber and satisfied.  Please, for heaven’s sake, put down the Big Mac (metaphorically speaking, this would be a movie like “Captain America“) and put some POM Wonderful (continuing the metaphor, this would be “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”) into your body.  It’s time that you consumed a movie that’s healthy and aims for nothing less than changing your views.  A-


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2 responses

8 04 2012
ethnicmuse

“It’s time that you consumed a movie that’s healthy and aims for nothing less than changing your views.” – Amen to that!

11 04 2012
Jay Shaffer

Great review, Marshall! “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” was an engaging movie and the biggest surprise (not readily apparent to Spurlock, however) was that business is based on MUTUAL and VOLUNTARY exchange. The businesses were either interested to make a mutually beneficial
arrangement – “we’ll provide funding for your movie, you promote our product” or they weren’t. (No coercion required). I found the management folks at POM and at SHEETZ delightful. Spurlock ran to two anti-consumerists/anti-capitalists, Ralph Nader and Noam Chomsky (why him?), for comments about his movie project — which would be like asking Hannibal Lecter for a few good dinner recipes. For balance, it would have been nice for Spurlock to interview some business/advertising executives outside the movie business. Balance was not Spurlock’s objective– mocking businesses was his goal. I will voluntarily support the businesses that supported “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”.

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