Screen Junkies » Morgan Spurlock http://www.screenjunkies.com Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Fri, 29 Aug 2014 17:39:03 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.3.1 CNN Continues To Test Definition Of ‘News’ With Morgan Spurlock Show http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/cnn-continues-to-test-definition-of-news-with-morgan-spurlock-show/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/cnn-continues-to-test-definition-of-news-with-morgan-spurlock-show/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2012 17:51:06 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=250526 Pot, guns, prison? Who do they think they are, MSNBC?

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CNN, having recently announced that they’re cool with abandoning the whole “news” thing since their ratings are so shitty, took one more baby step away from their core competency today by picking up a Morgan Spurlock show, Inside Man, that drops the bubble-gum documentarian amidst subcultural sets in America and beyond, including migrant workers, pot growers, gun lovers, and other things that teenage boys will tune into. (What? Teenage boys are DYING to see the curtain pulled back on the migrant labor force. DYING.)

In response to my suggestion that this sounds an awful lot like his old FX program 30 Days, CNN publicists issued this statement:

Shut up, Penn. Shut up. Shut up.

While it’s not exactly news, and Morgan Spurlock is hardly a bastion of integrity, most anything they could put in front of a camera, including a dead octopus, can be considered a move to restore the integrity the channel lost after picking up Piers Morgan.

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Morgan Spurlock Ruins Small Town To Promote New Movie http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/morgan-spurlock-ruins-small-town-to-promote-new-movie/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/morgan-spurlock-ruins-small-town-to-promote-new-movie/#comments Fri, 15 Apr 2011 06:09:43 +0000 Geoffrey Golden http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=207264 Not forever. He's only ruining Altoona, PA for two months.

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Not forever. He’s only ruining Altoona, PA for two months.

To show how product placement is taking over the world, as discussed in his new movie POM Wonderful Presents The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, director Morgan Spurlock bought the naming rights to a small town in Pennsylvania for 60 days, starting April 27th. For $25,000, Altoona, a town of 46,000, will soon be known as POM Wonderful Present The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Pennsylvania. I bet the convenience store that sells big envelopes is thrilled about the change. You know who’s probably not thrilled about the change? The residents of Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Morgan will screen the movie on the 27th in The Town Currently Known As Altoona, along with a special ceremony at City Hall. Perhaps they’ll give him a giant key to the city, which also opens the door to the Burger King on East Pleasant Valley Boulevard. There’s also a Burger King logo on the key. Here’s what Spurlock has to say about his latest publicity stunt:

“I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the shifting tide of business in America.” He chose Altoona, he said, because it stands as “a shining example of struggling cities across America.”

The promotion seems like a win-win to me. $25,000 is worth two months of a small town’s dignity, right? That’s over 50 cents per citizen. (TheWrap)

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Watch The Trailer For ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’, You Sell Out http://www.screenjunkies.com/video/see-the-trailer-for-the-greatest-movie-ever-sold-brought-to-you-by-pepsi%e2%84%a2/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/video/see-the-trailer-for-the-greatest-movie-ever-sold-brought-to-you-by-pepsi%e2%84%a2/#comments Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:18:07 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?post_type=Video&p=202473 Morgan Spurlock has some ideas about what products you should buy.

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Morgan Spurlock specializes in making documentaries with a gimmick. As an easy example, take Super Size Me. In it, Spurlock documents his experiment to see what would happen to the human body if it subsisted on nothing but McDonald’s for an entire month. And in his latest, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, Spurlock documents what happens to a movie if it subsists entirely on product placement. The result is a movie that is chock full of ads – but does that really make it that different from the average blockbuster? Remember when Tony Stark got Burger King in Iron Man – that alone paid for Iron Man‘s jet-boots.

Anyway, the movie looks pretty funny, but I don’t know how important an issue product placement really is. For example, there’s a clip of an interview with some guy who says the audience should be alerted every time they’re exposed to advertising in a movie. Wouldn’t that just be annoying? Think about it while you enjoy an ice-cold Slurpee™ from 7-11. (via Yahoo!)

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Morgan Spurlock Developing HBO Political Drama Between Burgers http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/morgan-spurlock-developing-hbo-political-drama-between-burgers/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/tv/tv-news/morgan-spurlock-developing-hbo-political-drama-between-burgers/#comments Sat, 12 Feb 2011 05:00:29 +0000 Geoffrey Golden http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=26590 Based on the director's recent work, I'm guessing the Texas-based drama a lot of product placement for Texaco and maybe propane companies.

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When I heard that stunt documentarian Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) and Brokeback Mountain writers Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana were teaming up on a project, like most folks, I assumed it was a documentary about burger-eating gay cowboys. Boy, was I wrong-o on that one.

Executive Producer Spurlock and HBO are working on a Texas political drama series, based on an idea by Spurlock. Not much is known about the new show yet, but based on the director’s recent work, I’m guessing there’s gonna be a lot of product placement for Texaco and maybe propane companies. And who knows? They might throw some burger-eating gay cowboys in there too. It’s hopefully not too late. (Deadline)

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Sundance: Morgan Spurlock Discusses The Advantages Of Selling Out http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-morgan-spurlock-discusses-the-advantages-of-selling-out/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sundance-morgan-spurlock-discusses-the-advantages-of-selling-out/#comments Mon, 07 Feb 2011 17:21:18 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=25171 Number one: It lets you make a movie.

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Morgan Spurlock really worked Sundance to sell the greatest movie ever sold. After debuting his documentary, funded entirely by product placement, he spent days in the Bing lounge doing interviews dressed in his sponsorship suit. .

Greatest Movie shows how advertising works its way into our entertainment. Spurlock was able to get companies like Pom Wonderful juice, Ban deodorant and PA fast food gas station chain Sheetz to contribute to his budget. In return they get prominent display in the movie. The movie details the contracts, for example Pom doesn’t actually pay $1 million until the movie has already made $10 million. The selling continues as Spurlock’s tux is adorned with corporate logos, and everything is the greatest.

Q: How do you decide which interview gets to be the greatest?

MS: I think we’ll have to wait, or maybe this could be it. Maybe this could be the greatest interview.

Q: Okay, now for a serious question. Really, has there not been one greater movie ever sold? Not one?

MS: I thought this one was the greatest. There was a great story told, but this could be the greatest movie ever sold. Or at least to sponsors.

Q: You raised $1.5 million, wouldn’t a studio movie sell tens of millions in fast food alone?

MS: Oh, I can’t even imagine. Could you imagine how much they get? The thing is with the fast food tie-ins, I’d say some of them pay, I think a lot of them don’t. The movie companies know that it’s great cross-promotion. For the bigger movies, I think a lot of them pay real money.

Q: I’m a little confused, you don’t get the full million from Pom until you make $10 million at the box office? How does that work?

MS: No, we got a half a million up front. They gave us another $100,000 to make the commercial but the last $400[K] to get the rest of it, there’s all these benchmarks that we have to hit. What’s in the film is kind of the pinnacle of all those benchmarks. So if we get $10 million worldwide box office, 250 screens worldwide, 600 million media impressions then we will have hit the fill million.

Q: Which is not an unreasonable goal considering your track record.

MS: No, I mean I think they were very fair in what they were asking for.

Q: How is this even an effective strategy? I love Dr. Pepper. I’m never going to drink a Coke no matter how many times Will Smith holds it up in a movie.

MS: Mm hmm, yeah. I think a lot of it, for a lot of these brands, is just awareness and making sure that you always see them, that there is a ubiquity to their brand presence. Coca-Cola’s a great example. Budweiser is as well. Every sporting event and venue, you see Coke signs and Budweiser signs. There’s just an association that they want to have with certain events and things. Does it pay off for them? Does it make you want to get a Coke? Probably not, but it does make you completely see their name all the time so they’re associated with all of these things consistently. For a lot of those brands, that’s more important.

Q: But then why is it specifically important for a character on “Chuck” to say “Let me share this foot long chicken teriyaki sub with you.”

MS: For me, those are unbelievable things to have written into dialogue and stories which was one of the biggest reasons we decided to make this film was watching shows like that. We’ve gotten to this point where they’re writing literally a commercial into the show which for me literally shuts me down automatically.

Q: Where’s the line? As a writer, it’s in the details, so you wouldn’t want to have a character say “Let’s get a soda.” It’s more effective if they mention Dr. Pepper.

MS: Well, I think there’s ways to have it be a throwaway. You could throw away a line where it’s like, “I’m going to go get something to drink. Do you want a Coke or something?” Literally that’s a throwaway line. But it’s like “I’m going to get something to drink. Would you like a Coca-Cola or some other type of beverage?” Or just “Would you like a Coca-Cola” somebody just calls it out. I mean, there’s ways to put things in shows and in life, but I think in life people do drink Coke and people do wear Nikes. But I don’t go, “Hey, have you seen these Merrell’s lately.” Which happens more and more on those shows.

Q: Did you contact the writers of “90210” and “Chuck” to find out if it was just their idea?

MS: No, those were all pushed in by the networks. Those were all things that were paid for and put in by them and the writers were pushed into putting them on.

Q: That’s confirmed by?

MS: It was confirmed by somebody we spoke to. I can’t remember who it was now. The network says, “This is a sponsor. We have to talk about them in the show.” Same thing with “Chuck.” Subway’s in multiple “Chuck” episodes, which is crazy. We spoke to a couple people but I thought John Wells was a better kind of representative being this kind of godfather of dramatic television, just talk about the presence of product placement.

Q: I noticed a Park City poster in your office. Does that guarantee you a return to Sundance?

MS: Exactly, the placement, that I had Sundance product placement in my movie. Maybe, I’ve got to ask. I’ve got to make sure. Maybe that’s why they let me back in.

Q: Outside of Pennsylvania, will this help Sheetz?

MS: Well, that’s the thing. Sheetz has 400 stores now that aren’t just in Pennsylvania. Most of the stores are there but they also have stores in West Virginia, in my home state, in New Jersey, in Ohio, down into Kentucky, now into North Carolina and they’re continuing to expand.

Q: But not everywhere this movie will play.

MS: Absolutely not, but part of what I like is there’s this great regional presence. So what that also does is it opens up the ability for us, when the movie’s coming out, to find other regional partners that can also just co-promote the film regionally. So there could be some people that, while they may not be in the film, can become a regional promotional partner.

Q: How many copies of this sponsorship suits do you have?

MS: I’ve got three of these suits. Of which I only brought one to Sundance.

Q: In this weather, does it keep you warm?

MS: Oh, it’s good. I’ve got this fantastic Merrell coat also.

Q: Are those Merrell boots?

MS: These are. These are Merrell boots. These are super fantastic Sundance edition Merrell boots.

Q: Why did you or your wife decide that she would not be in this film?

MS: Well, because a couple years ago she said, “That’s it. I’m done.” And that’s kind of been it, but the little man was in it. It was great.

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Sundance Review: ‘The Greatest Movie Ever Sold’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/sundance-review-the-greatest-movie-ever-sold/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-review/sundance-review-the-greatest-movie-ever-sold/#comments Sun, 23 Jan 2011 17:27:32 +0000 Fred Topel http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=21650 Explains how product placement works, by trying to make an all product placement movie. I’m still left with a few questions, but the film ultimately succeeds.

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Morgan Spurlock is back in top form with a witty, engaging documentary. The Greatest Movie Ever Sold explains how product placement works, by trying to make an all product placement movie. I’m still left with a few questions, but the film ultimately succeeds.

Spurlock lays out how we see products on coat hangers, gas pumps and urinals. Shows like “Chuck” and “90210” blatantly incorporate Subway and Dr. Pepper into their dialogue. His mission is to finance a whole movie on product integration and enjoy the success that blockbuster movies have with fast food tie-ins. He needs 1.5 million dollars.

Greatest Movie is less animation gimmicky. The humor comes more from Spurlock’s own personality. His ideas for commercials are hilarious. The commercial pitches from actual Hollywood campaigns aren’t as funny. Some classic visual bits include a reminder of the 6 1/2 year anniversary DVD of Supersize Me. Three actual advertisements for Pom Wonderful, JetBlue and Hyatt seamlessly incorporate into the movie.

In his meeting with Ban, Spurlock displays hilarious photos of himself using Ban in blatant ways. The medicine cabinet shot was my favorite. Spurlock even stumps the executives on a question about their own brand. He gets $50K from Ban. The local PA fast food gas stations Sheetz love Spurlock’s ideas for collector’s cups, but his real bonanza is Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice. They commit a million.

Even his rejections are funny. He cold calls companies like Volkswagon, Nintendo, Nike, Jolt Cola and more. He’s honest about his reputation and intentions. He’s not spoofing the products, but they know him for ridiculing McDonald’s. When he gets Minicooper, he does trash talk VW and the delivery is perfect. On a call with Mane & Tail, he can barely keep a straight face.

With the deals in place, Spurlock gets more analytical. Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader and other experts analyze the risks of an artistic compromise and the lasting effects to Spurlock’s reputation. Hollywood directors like J.J. Abrams, Peter Berg, Brett Ratner and even Tarantino comment on product placement. People will slam Ratner for his complacence but he has a sense of humor.

A fascinating subject is Norm Marshall. His agency controls all the products in Hollywood. He’ll withhold your cars if you show Alka Seltzer in a negative light. That’s something I didn’t know happened. The example of Sao Paolo, where outdoor advertising was banned, provides a perspective on the cultural impact of advertising. Spurlock buys some banner ads at schools and in school buses so he does some good to help fund education.

I’m still left with the big question of: How does this actually work? I mean, I like Dr. Pepper. I’m not going to drink Coke no matter how many times Will Smith holds it up in a movie. Spurlock studies the science of the effectiveness of ads but that’s theory. I don’t see it, but maybe I just have strong will power. Greatest Movie Ever Sold still succeeds in both the experiment, and in entertaining.

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Sony Helps Spurlock Sell Out By Picking Up ‘Greatest Movie’ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sony-helps-spurlock-sell-out-by-picking-up-greatest-movie/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sony-helps-spurlock-sell-out-by-picking-up-greatest-movie/#comments Thu, 20 Jan 2011 21:06:39 +0000 Penn Collins http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=21046 Morgan Spurlock is set to open out eyes yet again after getting his newest film, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, picked up for distribution by Sony Studios.

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Morgan Spurlock is set to open our eyes yet again after getting his newest film, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, picked up for distribution by Sony Studios. Spurlock gets a little meta with Greatest Movie, as it’s a documentary on product placement, marketing and advertising that’s 100% funded through its use of product placement, marketing, and advertising. Consider our minds blown.

Spurlock will take audiences into the boardrooms where the advertising decisions are made that ultimately decide what you end up watching on your TV and in the theaters. Essentially, it’s “watch Morgan Spurlock sell out as hard as he can so we can see how everyone sells out.” Which, admittedly, sounds pretty interesting. Add to that Spurlock’s charm as a host, and Sony is probably looking at a film that can demonstrate a pretty solid return, especially if it was all financed as they said it was.

The Greatest Movie Ever Sold premieres at Sundance this weekend, so expect feedback in short order, but something told us Sony has already seen the film if they picked it up for distribution. Movie studios are thorough that way. (Coming Soon)

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Sony Pictures Classics Gets a Woody, Maybe a Spurlock http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sony-pictures-classics-gets-a-woody-maybe-a-spurlock/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/sony-pictures-classics-gets-a-woody-maybe-a-spurlock/#comments Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:49:49 +0000 Joseph Gibson http://www.screenjunkies.com/?p=15263 That strange, omnipresent force that compels Woody Allen to make movies has struck again, and the result has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics.

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That strange, omnipresent force that compels Woody Allen to make movies has struck again, and the result has been picked up by Sony Pictures Classics. This time, the movie is called Midnight in Paris, and it’s probably about a writer who’s traveling in Paris when he has an existential crisis or something. The cast, as always for a Woody Allen movie, is impressive: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Kathy Bates, Michael Sheen, and Adrian Brody are the biggest names in the cast, which also includes French comedians Gad Elmaleh and Manu Payet.

Sony Pictures Classics is also interested in the latest documentary from Super Size Me McAuteur Morgan Spurlock, The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. It appears to be kind of a documentary-about-a-documentary depicting Spurlock’s attempts to get sponsors for his movie, etc. Expect a fun moral about the evils of advertising and corporate sponsorship. Spurlock himself recently told The Hollywood Reporter: “Everywhere you look it seems like something’s being brought to you by some sponsor or some corporation. So we said, ‘Why not make a doc that looks at that and have the brands actually pay for it?’” Brought to you by Toyota! (IndieWire)


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Joss Whedon and Morgan Spurlock’s Nerd Documentary Gets a Nerdy Title http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/joss-whedon-and-morgan-spurlocks-nerd-documentary-gets-a-nerdy-title/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/joss-whedon-and-morgan-spurlocks-nerd-documentary-gets-a-nerdy-title/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 That sandwich doesn't stand a chance with Knowles hanging around.Morgan Spurlock and Harry Knowles may not see eye to eye on the subject of McDonald's, but they're willing to put that difference aside. The Ain't It Cool News founder and comics legend Stan Lee will join Spurlock and Joss Whedon in producing their San Diego Comic-Con documentary. The doc, newly titled Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan's Hope, will begin following seven fans in June as they prepare for this year's convention.I've only been to the crappy New York version of Comic-Con and am looking forward to see how the film captures the spirit in San Diego. And with the Four Horsemen of Geekdom (Acne, Asthma, Cheeto Fingers, and Dumb Laugh) behind the lens, it's sure to take us where no film ever cared to go before. (THR)

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That sandwich doesn’t stand a chance with Knowles hanging around.

Morgan Spurlock and Harry Knowles may not see eye to eye on the subject of McDonald’s, but they’re willing to put that difference aside. The Ain’t It Cool News founder and comics legend Stan Lee will join Spurlock and Joss Whedon in producing their San Diego Comic-Con documentary. The doc, newly titled Comic-Con Episode Four: A Fan’s Hope, will begin following seven fans in June as they prepare for this year’s convention.

I’ve only been to the crappy New York version of Comic-Con and am looking forward to see how the film capture the spirit in San Diego. And with the Four Horsemen of Geekdom (Acne, Asthma, Cheeto Fingers, and Dumb Laugh) behind the lens, it’s sure to take us where no film ever cared to go before. (THR)

 

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Joss Whedon and Morgan Spurlock Combine Nerd Powers for Comic-Con Documentary http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/joss-whedon-and-morgan-spurlock-combine-nerd-powers-for-comic-con-documentary/ http://www.screenjunkies.com/movies/movie-news/joss-whedon-and-morgan-spurlock-combine-nerd-powers-for-comic-con-documentary/#comments Wed, 30 Nov -0001 00:00:00 +0000 Joss Whedon is looking for a few big nerds. The Buffy/Dollhouse/Dr. Horrible creator is currently searching for three fanboys or fangirls for an upcoming documentary about San Diego Comic-Con and nerd culture. He and Super-Size Me director/star Morgan Spurlock want to follow their subjects around for the three months leading up to this year's convention. Why they want three months worth of masturbating to anime footage is well beyond me.Filming is sure to be hectic on convention day when the crew loses Whedon due to his instantaneous blending in with the crowd. He's like a nerd chameleon. In all earnestness, this seems like a unique look at a growing counter-culture. I am a little bummed though that Spurlock will not be upping the ante of his previous works by remaining a virgin and living in his parent's basement for 30 years. (E!)

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Joss Whedon is looking for a few big nerds. The Buffy/Dollhouse/Dr. Horrible creator is currently searching for three fanboys or fangirls for an upcoming documentary about San Diego Comic-Con and nerd culture. He and Super-Size Me director/star Morgan Spurlock want to follow their subjects around for the three months leading up to this year’s convention. Why they want three months worth of masturbating to anime footage is well beyond me.

Filming is sure to be hectic on convention day when the crew loses Whedon due to his instantaneous blending in with the crowd. He’s like a nerd chameleon. In all earnestness, this seems like a unique look at a growing counter-culture I am a little bummed though that Spurlock will not be upping the ante of his previous works by remaining a virgin and living in his parent’s basement for 30 years. (E!)

 

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