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May 28, 2011 | 11:43 a.m. CST
Remember the Super Size Me guy, Morgan Spurlock? Well, he’s back and more commercialized than ever. Spurlock has always represented the more unconventional side of documentaries. This time, Spurlock has outdone himself. An action movie sponsored by an energy drink is nothing new. A TV show with prominent product placement isn’t surprising. But a documentary film totally sponsored by a multitude of different brands? That’s completely unheard of—until now. In his new film, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock examines the advertising industry and its role in the world of Hollywood.
The movie initially centers on Spurlock’s quest to find sponsors for his new documentary. Essentially, this is a documentary about making a documentary. He effectively blends together a movie genre that prides itself on independence and a business world that essentially strives to limit filmmakers’ integrity via contracts over brands and a direct hand in the movie-making process.
What starts out as a light-hearted film, with Spurlock running from ad agency to ad agency (and standing out amongst the business executives like a hipster in Harpo’s), takes a turn for the serious mid-way through. He brings up deeper, more pressing issues such as: Are we addicted to ads? He even manages to bring up sensitive topics such as school funding and the sometimes too-close-for-comfort relationship between schools and advertising. Ads placed in school buses? You best believe it. Face wash ads during school announcements on TVs in classrooms? No problem.
Spurlock isn’t making a judgment on the advertising industry; all he wants is to simply draw attention to its prominence in American society. Those ads aren’t going away any time soon, and Spurlock accepts that. Better yet, he acknowledges it and harnesses advertising agencies’ power and money to get a fully funded for documentary. Thanks, POM pomegranate juice.