Film reviews and more since 2009

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold (2011) review

Dir. Morgan Spurlock

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★★★

🕯️ Remembering Morgan Spurlock 🕯️

🕯️ 1970 – 2024 🕯️

Over the years, product placement has become increasingly popular in cinema. That is when a company, like Coca-Cola, pays a film, what looks to be a blockbuster, to feature their product in it. The actors can be drinking it or it can just be a billboard in the background, but they have to feature it in a positive manor. If used correctly, it will give the studio money, the company more revenue, and everyone is happy for a short period of time. Until the blockbuster’s sequel comes out and we do it all again.

In this day and age, it’s hard to walk down the street without some form of advertising screaming at you. If one were to look up pictures of Times Square in New York you may get dizzy looking at all the colorful, effervescent advertisements staring you in the face. Even TV commercials have become longer, and more obvious in their marketing schemes. Even one of the most watched Television events known as the Super Bowl has famous commercials that are seconds in length but value at up to over millions of dollars. In this world, advertising is the key to success. Ram it in the public’s head over and over until they give in.

I’m sure if one saw The Greatest Movie Ever Sold in the theaters they had to watch quite a few ads for vehicles like Honda, acne creams like Proactiv, and about ten trailers before getting what they payed for. I just realized not too long ago that studios pay the theaters to run their previews before a film, which is why we get those tediously lengthy previews before what we payed to see. Ralph Nader states in the film that if you want to not see one bit of advertising you should go to sleep. Unless you have nightmares of commercials or consumer products, sleep is the last place you want to go.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is brought to us not only by POM Wonderful, the pomegranate juice that is one of the many sponsors of the film, but also by Morgan Spurlock. Spurlock directed the amazing documentary Super Size Me, the quirky, underrated Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?, and had a Television series on FX called 30 Days which ran for three years and three seasons.

Here, he gives us a taste at product placement, marketing, and advertising, in a film funded by those three things. Sort of a satirical approach at a serious topic. Spurlock is known to add humor into all his documentaries, and this is no exception. He comes equipped with a cheery smile, a calm nature, and an appetite for complication as he speaks to companies like Ban Deodorant, Mane ‘n Tail, JetBlue, POM Wonderful, which later when on to present the film as in the title,, and various others about the method of advertising and if they will agree to help finance his film.

Interviews with Big Boi, J.J. Abrams, and Quentin Tarantino are conducted, as well as a rockin’ soundtrack. So, clearly, this is a fun documentary. But how much fun can you poke at a topic like advertising until the seriousness of the issue rears its head? Morgan does a good job of not going overboard, and carrying the film out to long, but it lacks a time where the film says something like “All right, look, product placement is all around us, etc.” It tries to smile at us when while we are being alienated. I admire the crew for looking at this with a comedic side, but this isn’t a very funny part of our planet.

But I will give POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold a thumbs up for also recommending a shoe I’ve worn for many years.

NOTE: As of this writing, POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold is available to stream on Tubi, free of charge.

NOTE II: My reaction to the death of documentarian Morgan Spurlock and the complicated yet colorful legacy he leaves behind, from my podcast, Sleepless with Steve:

Starring: Morgan Spurlock, Ralph Nader, Quentin Tarantino, Antwon “Big Boi” Patton, and J.J. Abrams. Directed by: Morgan Spurlock.

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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