Friday, April 22, 2011


POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold When I was riding the New York subway last month, I noticed an advertisement for an upcoming cable television show on the platform. I paused for a moment, not because the poster is striking, but because I was thinking what the poster is really advertising. To me, it is not advertising the show, but the commercials that are about to be aired on the show. The bottom line is that the ad is promoting more ads that you will see, besides the plenty product placements in the show—when you see embedded product promotions in movies and on television.

That is the focus of Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's latest film "POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" (USA 2011 | 88 min.).

His idea is simple. Since many movie and television productions involve product placement, Morgan Spurlock wants to talk companies into sponsor this yet to be made documentary. In return, he presents their products in the film, while showing the audience how the product placements take place in the entertainment industry.

Morgan Spurlock is truly a gifted salesman. His articulate and persuasive, sometimes hilarious, presentations land him a few sponsors who completely pay off his film's production. As a consequence, he gets a beverage brand in his film's title: "POM Wonderful."

Morgan Spurlock and Ralph Nader in The Greatest Movie Ever Sold Photo by Daniel Marracino

Apparently, it is already a matter of fact that we are overwhelmed and consumed by advertisements. A few top internet giants are all based on a business model that sells as many ads as possible. In every possible moment and in every possible way, somebody wants us to buy something. Consumerism has become the driving force in the world's economy. We are already aware of this unhealthy phenomenal, including the product placement in the entertainment industry.

While being amusing from time to time, the film does not offer any insight or solution to the situation. Instead, it becomes part of game, but less subtle and sneaky like in other film productions. Quite contrary, the film lays everything on the table openly and frankly. In the end, we are tricked to watch more commercials, under the intention to expose the dirty tricks in the film industry.

A paradox indeed.

"POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold," a Sony Pictures Classics release, opens on Friday, April 22, 2011 at Bay Area theaters.

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