By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
Along with Michael Moore, Morgan Spurlock is one of the most (and few) recognizable documentary filmmakers out there. His goal was to make the first “docbuster,” all about advertising. Basically, he creates a film in which he explores product placement in his film via finding product placement to fund his film, documenting every step of the way, which ends up being about as meta as you can get.
Eat your heart out
Spurlock gets out to cover everything involved in product placement and he does a great job of it, whisking us from media consultants to marketing departments to the process of advertising the film itself up to its release. Along the way he hits up everyone from Noam Chomsky to Big Boi.
Who, mystifyingly, turn out to not be the same person
He is telling us something we already know, that marketing is manipulative, but where this movie excels is showing us, most disturbingly with “neural marketing,” which uses CAT scan experiments straight out of A Clockwork Orange to measure brain response to commercials. This is almost as scary as his interviews with directors about product placement, which includes a gem of a Brett Ratner quote… “Artistic integrity, whatever.”
We know, Brett, we know
A final nod goes to the commercials Spurlock makes and inserts into the film. While his POM commercials may never air on primetime, they and his Mane and Tail ad are hilarious. Oh, and the theme song is filthy awesome.
One thing that does hold the movie back a bit is Spurlock’s reputation after his evisceration of McDonald’s in Supersize Me. He gets turned down left and right for promotion and interviews and it starts to become obvious that his image stands in the way of his own film. It doesn’t sink it, but who wouldn’t have wanted to see a Nike or Warner Bros. angle?
You should probably throw back a beer to better accept the argument that cities would be better off allowing no advertising at all. Sao Paulo has apparently done this, and call me brainwashed, but I kind of liked the ‘before’ picture better. Also, how ‘bout Tokyo?
Hideous. Simply hideous…
Morgan Spurlock is one of those always watchable personalities that generally finds interesting material to boot. If you liked Supersize Me you’ll be right on board with this one.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every celebrity interviewee
Take a Drink: every time Spurlock is turned down for something
Drink a Shot: for every Mane and Tale reference