SUNDANCE 2011

Sundance 2011: Spurlock's 'Greatest Movie Ever Sold' is Fantastic

by
January 23, 2011

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

Anyone who watches TV or movies is inherently familiar with product placement. It's prevalent everywhere you go and in nearly every movie we watch, especially as marketing becomes more and more intrusive. But no one has ever tried to make a documentary about that, funded entirely with product placement, until now. Morgan Spurlock, the acclaimed documentarian behind Super Size Me and Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden, premiered his new documentary titled The Greatest Movie Ever Sold at Sundance and damn was it awesome. Never thought I'd use the word "awesome" to describe a documentary, but this deserves it!

Without giving anyway too much, the film, being released in March/April, is officially (and legally) titled POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. Yes, he did actually fund and make the movie entirely with sponsorship and product placement, but it's a very entertaining and fascinating look into that world and how it all works. At the base of Spurlock's concept is the consideration that big blockbusters like Iron Man and Transformers, which were huge hits, have all kinds of product placement that helped make them successful. So if he wants to make a "doc-buster", he needs tons of product placement, too. Right?

Spurlock not only address the dilemma of product placement, as it's all too often sometimes intrusive and excessive, but he slams the door wide open for audiences to follow as he tries to - and in the process does - make a movie full of product placement. It's one of the most meta films you will ever see, mostly because Spurlock completely transparently shows us what it's like to pitch this film, take meetings with companies looking to sponsor, and actually fit product placement into his doc (complete with actual commercials and lots more promotion to come when it's released). It's fascinating and thoroughly entertaining and incredibly funny, too. If I can say this and get away with it, I think he truly knocked this one out of the park. I loved it!

What he achieves so well with this doc is providing us with an unobstructed perspective on how advertising and product placement works. It seems like a film that no major corporations or studios want anyone to see, because it shows exactly how they take advantage of audiences, but I suggest everyone see it. Spurlock is one of those guys who not only comes up with a captivating concept and does an amazing job of exploring it in full detail, but takes it and runs with it as fast and far as he can. We're in for an experience once this hits theaters, as there's going to be plenty of real life cross-promotion to come, but that's what makes it so great.

Alex's Sundance Rating: 9 out of 10

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  • http://twitter.com/ModAmericanMan Modern American Man
    "He slams the door wide open"--nice one Alex. ;)
  • Buddyboy
    he is a genius, i loved Supersize me...although i felt terribly hungry at the end and went straight to a fast food joint...but that aside i look forward to seeing this as a massive movie fan and someone who likes to point his kind of stuff out to people !!!! Bring it on... This quote has been brought to you and sponsored by...
    • Josef
      During Super Size Me, I realized I hadn't had a Big Mac in years. I made it my goal to have one as soon as I could. The Big Mac I had was glorious.
  • darthmaul1
    looks to be hilarious, can't wait to see what products are gonna be all over this one
  • http://twitter.com/johnmadden78 John Madden
    It sounds really interesting, but one sentence troubles me: "Never thought I'd use the word "awesome" to describe a documentary, but this deserves it!" PLEASE tell me this isn't the first documentary you've seen that you'd describe as 'awesome'. You have an awful lot of catching up to do if that's the case.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
      Well I don't really watch a lot of documentaries on a regular basis anyway... But of those I've seen, a lot of have been very good, but not many have been "awesome". I'd rather ask you what docs you've seen that you thought were "awesome" so I can make sure to check them out as well... So?
      • ChrisC5g
        Michael Moores Docs are good and are eye openers, his are so well known they practically don't count though :)
      • http://twitter.com/johnmadden78 John Madden
        No problemo - it's all pretty mainstream stuff, and it's just a list of my favourites. If you've seen them all, and don't think they're awesome... so be it. Anyway: - The King of Kong - Man On Wire - This Film Is Not Yet Rated - The Fog Of War - The Thin Blue Line - Outfoxed - Helvetica (admittedly this one is awesome if you're a font/design dork, but probably incredibly dull if you're not) I had more when I posted that first comment last night. If/when I remember them, I'll post again.
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9emWB_rrMt0 Crapola
    Everything I look at these days is an advert trying to sell me something, I don't buy any of it because I have no money so it doesn't bother me. My kid does have a lot of Toy Story toys so somehow they fucked me on that but that is the ultimate product placement for children. I watched a Ryan Reynolds film last night that for a great part of the film he wears a VW hat for no good reason, it's balls but no-one cares.
    • http://twitter.com/johnmadden78 John Madden
      I always thought the VW hat in question was a gag based on the character's initials. Call me naïve...
  • http://twitter.com/Cold417 Cold417
    I don't mind subtle placement...I mean, in real life we all do it ourselves and mention brand names in conversations.
  • Don't be Silly
    The irony is, the only way this site is able to continue is because of the flying super mario ad in the top left corner. I wouldn't pay for FS.net would you? Gotta love advertising.
    • http://www.firstshowing.net Alex Billington
      We will NEVER ask anyone to every pay for FS.net - it will always be free. And everyone gets paid to do their job, same here, why is that suck a shocker? You're comment makes no sense and is fully of nothing but sheer jealousy... congrats.
      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=546240646 Nick Rayner
        How does it not make sense? You go on about marketing in your article in a negative tone, but you find this site through ads. You're being called a hypocrite. Then you got all butthurt. Seems pretty cut and dry to me.
        • Dudeman
          haha, plus Billington said "you're" instead of "your". C'MON BILLINGTON, YOU WRITE FOR A LIVING.
          • No
            You guys are dicks. If you have nothing constructive to say, shut the fuck up.
    • Dudeman
      Wow, this is integrity at its finest. The person who made the "Don't be silly" comment really doesn't accuse FS of doing anything wrong - more, they describe why product placement / advertising often is very important. Billington furiously and mysteriously replies defensively (with a bunch of hilarious grammatical and spelling errors to boot) - two posts give him flak over the absurdity of this post and he deletes them. At least he fixed his post and removed the numerous errors. Billington, you structure this site as if it's news, that's what drives your hits, thus your income - we can come and see what the latest in film is. You aren't special because your opinion is sought after - we go to Ebert for that. Very quickly you jump to the "oh this is my BLOG where I post my OPINIONS" whenever your opinions cause drama. Vaguely disappointing for your readers, but it's still easy to ignore the dreck and still easily scan the headlines for interesting news. However.. then censoring people replying to your opinions because you don't like the content of their posts? Have you considered what that kind of behaviour is actually called?
    • Voice of Reason
      I think "Dont be Silly" is simply saying is that advertising is everywhere and put certain things together, its all just part of how things work, in this case eCommerce, no one site more so than the other. How is this is a jab at FS.net let alone an indication of jealousy?
  • Voice of Reason
    Statistically Spurlock is hit-or-miss with me. SSM was great, but the OSAMA pic was crap. His segment in Freakonomics was good; so that said, I'll give this a go, in fact I'm quite into it....but Spurlock does not yet have my trust as a great documentarian for me to buy into this glowing endorsement from FS.net
  • Apoc
    This film sounds good, I wish there was a trailer to it. I don't mind product placment in movies, mostly because I'm a penny pincher and wont go out and buy there junk.The only place i do hate it is on web sites. Every time I try to watch a movie trailer, "BAAM" a car insuance add, I visit a news web site, "KABOOM" a megazine subscription offer for as low as 1.99 a month, a porn site, "WHACK", penis cream to make your junk......well, you get the point. I hope he puts the "KAPOOW" on some of this with this Indie Doc. Sorry about all the BAAM's and what not, just read a comic book.......with 10 ad placments in it. Now if you don't mind, I'm going to rent a movie on NETFLIX and buy some of that cream for my junk and maybe a that Jack Sparrow action figure thats posted on this sites ad window.

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