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

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_split_ver3

Split

It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.

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…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Festivals & Awards Archives
Other Articles
Blog 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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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

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

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

Films to Get Us Through The Trump Presidency

Chaz Ebert highlights films with the potential to get us through the confusing political times of the Trump presidenc...

Netflix's "A Series of Unfortunate Events" an Unfunny Parody of Sadness

A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.

The Audacious "Something Wild" Comes to Criterion Blu-ray

One of the most audacious American films from the 1960s is now available via the Criterion Collection.

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus