While I have not personally seen Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me (as I enjoy a bit of fast food every now and then and don’t want to ruin things), and heard enough about Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? that it just didn’t interest me. However, his new documentary, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, making its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, about the crazy world of branding, advertising and product placement is a thing of beauty.
One day Spurlock came upon a grand idea expanding upon something a friend of his said – why not make a film about said film that is literally in and of itself. Beginning with advertising agencies then placement companies they ultimately started calling the corporations themselves before anyone would finally bite. Here’s a film that is fully paid for by sponsors and about finding said sponsors while also trying to find the winning endorser who’s name will be prominently featured about the film’s title: Presented by Brand X. At first it seems like a no win situation but eventually the sponsors begin to line up including but not limited to: Sheetz and Mini Cooper.
In a really funny segment Quentin Tarantino gets brought in to explain how he’s always turned down. Supposedly, the opening scenes of both Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction were to take place within a Denny’s. So while it may seem far fetched for someone to try to make a film solely produced and paid for by sponsors, some filmmakers can’t even get sponsors that are already written into their scripts. Breaking the fourth wall beyond anything you’ve seen before, you watch the film honestly waiting for a camera to walk onstage any moment.
While playing up the conventions of standard documentary filmmaking, the film fuels upon itself bursting with hilarious jabs and stings at how sly and how in your face brand integration truly can be. Spiced up with hilarious commercials that pop up once in awhile featuring the films own sponsors, the tone is kept light and hilarious while the whole thing winds up feeling almost more like a real life spoof. Featuring everything from being presented by PoM Wonderful to other sponsors including JetBlue, Hyatt Hotels and Mane ‘N Tail’s continued refusal to participate, at one point we learn that for the film to be considered successful, one thing it needs is to make approximately 600,000,000 impressions; let the Greatest Movie Ever Sold impressions commence.
Photo courtesy Sony Pictures Classics