In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_mv5bmjixmdywmtg3m15bml5banbnxkftztgwmdq1nzq0mze_._v1__sx1216_sy712_

Red Army

Emotionally charged, viscerally exciting and consistently enlightening, Gabe Polsky’s Red Army is a sports documentary like no other.

Thumb_mv5bmtg4mjuxodczm15bml5banbnxkftztgwmdy4mjy0mze_._v1__sx1216_sy712_

Son of a Gun

Avery’s more than capable behind the camera, he just needs to be met halfway by his screenwriting, which dwells in overly familiar territory.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives

Reviews

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Movie Review
  |  

Morgan Spurlock's new documentary, "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," finances itself by its own bootstraps. It is a movie about making a movie paid for by product placements. In fact, its official title is "POM Wonderful Presents the Greatest Movie Ever Sold," after the pomegranate juice that is, I now know, 100 percent pomegranate juice — unlike Minute Maid's, which is mostly apple and grape juice, with pomegranate finishing under 2 percent.

The film also makes mention of Hyatt Hotels, Mini Coopers, OK Go, Old Navy and Jet Blue. (No promotional consideration was received by me for mentioning these products.) Spurlock is the star, just as he was when he ate only at McDonald's for a month in "Super Size Me." He talks to agents, lawyers, product reps, movie directors, musicians and placement specialists, and then makes calls on a series of would-be sponsors, some of whom are extremely wary of his scheme.

He strikes paydirt with POM Wonderful, which agrees to be a major sponsor, and then some of the other pieces fall into place. He raises $1.5 million and spent it on this film, he says, although this would be a perfect opportunity for a con of the sort exploited in "The Producers."

Along the way, he consults various learned experts, including Ralph Nader, Noam Chomsky and Donald Trump (of the Trump Towers franchise), who appear as talking heads in so many docs these days, they might almost be product placement for themselves. He finds directors like Brett Ratner willing to talk on the record — and Quentin Tarantino, who complains he wanted to shoot scenes for "Reservoir Dogs" and "Pulp Fiction" in Denny's, but they wouldn't let him. Spurlock begins as almost serious about his subject, but about the time one of his authorities advises him to take the money and run, we realize that's what he's doing.

The movie is quick and cheerful, and Spurlock is engaging. I already knew what he was telling us, and I think many people do. I'm not sure Spurlock himself ever defined a purpose greater than raising the money on camera, but then he never claimed to. I can't exactly recommend the film, but I do recommend drinking POM Wonderful. Did you know it's a powerful antioxidant, and can provide some of the benefits of Viagra? Maybe if Minute Maid used more pomegranate, it could be called Ten Minute Maid.

Popular Blog Posts

Confessions of an Awards Season Skeptic, Part Two: I, A Lone Voice of Sanity and Calm Awash in a Sea of Noise and Indignation

Glenn Kenny tries to provide some calm, reason, and perspective to today's major Oscar nominations.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

They're All Gonna Laugh At You: The "Carrie" Remake

A look at Kimberly Pierce's 2013 version of "Carrie."

Gratitude

A note of thanks from Chaz Ebert to the wonderful people behind "Life Itself."

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus