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Though many jerks in the ad business think they're freakin' geniuses, at best, most are turd polishers. Shuttling to work in their black VW Bugs and Saabs, humorless art directors and copywriters share the vital mission of duping the unwashed mob into buying endless junk they could easily live without. Commercial moviemakers, equally adept at pushing useless crap, love to make Madison Avenue types look foolish. So, now let us celebrate our delightfully pointless consumer society with these ad-bashing classics.

The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (1956)--Nobody does dyspepsia better than Greg Peck. He could have made at least as much bread hawking Di-Gel and Rolaids as he made off MGM. Here, he's the consummate Mad. Ave exec. caught on the corporate treadmill. Nice score by Bernnie Herrmann, too.

How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)-- Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I) wrote and directed this scathing attack on British advertising. An unctuous "Sloan Ranger" ad exec.--stumped at how to spin a new pimple cream--grows a second, vituperative noggin. Though preachy in the second half, it's filled with rabid, choice black humor.

Good Neighbor Sam (1964)--The hilarious Jack Lemmon plays a California ad exec. who has to pretend neighbor (Euro sex bomb) Romy Schneider is his real wife, while putting off his ditzy legal squeeze next door. Silly send-ups of the Hertz rental car spots throughout.

Putney-Swope (1969)--Some may argue that the best thing Robert Downey, Sr. did for the movies was to create Robert Downey, Jr. Still, there are a few chuckles in this funky poke at a Mad. Ave agency taken over by hip black dudes. Will play well with the '70s retro crowd who are growing ever larger--with mold-like charm--in our moisture-friendly city.

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