Morgan Spurlock vs McOneDirection

Documentary maker Morgan Spurlock made his name battling Big Macs and big business, now he's going to be the director for One Direction’s upcoming 3D movie. Incongruous? Not really.
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The other night whilst flicking through Netflix trying to find something to watch not from the “straight to DVD” genre, which seems to be the speciality of Netflix, I found that Supersize Me was lurking on there. You remember Supersize Me right? The film where a guy ate McDonalds three times a day for a month and it made him fat, and we were all supposed to act shocked? That one.

Oh don’t look at me like that! C’mon! Supersize Me is a very funny, entertaining movie, but it’s overall message is this: fast food is bad for you. The Guardian described Spurlock recently as making “hard-hitting” documentaries. Not bloody likely! Supersize Me is about as hard hitting as...well, a Big Mac to the face I guess.  It doesn’t criticise any of the working practices of McDonalds, doesn’t properly interrogate any of their deforestation of the rainforest or any of the other horrible, unethical things done in their name, it simply examines their pervasiveness and insidiousness as a brand. It attacks their product, not the means by which that product comes about. It’s a study of capitalism, marketing and pop culture, and a very good one at that.

I think it’s these three themes that unite all of Spurlock’s movies up to this point, his most recent feature “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” perhaps most explicitly, but also his documentaries on pop-culture staples such as Comic-Con, The Simpsons, hell, even his film on the Iraq War, “Where In The World is Osama Bin Laden?”, didn’t nearly come with as much aggressive didacticism as the likes of Michael Moore.


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It is for all these reason that he is the perfect and obvious choice to make a movie about One Direction, the world’s biggest boy band, whose dictatorial reign over the Twitter trending tables shows no sign of abating and whose legions and legions of fans grow exponentially by the day it seems. As well as the film containing 3D concert footage, there will also be backstage stuff – presumably Zayn doing blow off on a toilet seat and Harry washing his condom out after shagging the local milf, or y’know, stuff of that nature at least.

Essentially, Spurlock has been given exclusive access to the five most marketable products in the entireworld. It’s like all his heavily advertised, Coca-Cola branded Christmases have come at once. The film will be a unique insight into the machine that pop music has become, where the market is targeted – in this case, insecure teenage girls going through adolescence – and the product is created – “You don’t know you’re beautiful, that’s what makes you beautiful” – simple eh? It’s production line capitalism on a massive, massive scale.

This isn’t quite the first time a meeting-of-minds of this ilk has been attempted either, though maybe it is the first time on film. I’m reminded of a fantastic interview in The Guardian a couple of years ago, where Jon Ronson sat down with Justin Bieber, who then was the sole dictator of Twitter – him accounting for 3% of their traffic – I’d imagine he shares a lot of it with 1D these days. It’s a fascinating interview, one that really highlights the huge circus around such a young, vulnerable child star. I think it’ll be very hard for Spurlock to take the same tack, and indeed I don’t think he has the same journalistic tendencies as Ronson does, but it’s an interesting point of comparison nonetheless.

There’s every likelihood in this instance that Simon Cowell will have so much creative control over the finished product that Morgan may end up being nothing more than the guy who holds the camera, but I sincerely hope that’s not the case. If he is allowed to make the film which his output so far points to him making, then it’ll be a dead interesting examination of five kids thrust into the limelight, and the suited and booted sharks operating the controls in the backroom. All in fucking 3D too. Imagine Harry Styles’ hair in 3D. Jesus. Did you know Niall has one kidney too? I’ll stop now.

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