Perhaps it’s fitting that an unabashedly commercial filmmaker’s last work is… a commercial. Shortly before his death, Tony Scott directed a commercial for Mountain Dew, entitled “LIVIN’ THE LIFE”. The concept is comedic, dealing with a man fantasizing about a life of extreme luxury when billionaire Mark Cuban offers him a huge sum of money in exchange for the last can of Diet Mountain Dew.
It’s about as conventional as commercials get, in terms of the concept. Mark Cuban has proved to be a great sport in lampooning his image in pop culture as an obscenely successful businessman (if not a very successful actor). The story is cute, but one can’t deny how much of a cliche it is within the world of commercials. The ad agency was really reaching for the stars on this one.
Visually, it’s a Scott work through and through. The image is high in contrast and incredibly saturated with bright, warm colors. Scott makes good use of his circular dolly, rack zooms, and Hollywood mega-budget playthings (helicopters, tigers, mansion fountains, etc.). Basically, it’s a license for Scott to shoot whatever wild luxury scenario he can come up with him. To say the scope of that imagination is limited is an understatement. Overlaid with a terrible hip hop song, the spot is short, punchy and ends with the gag that, despite all these crazy riches, the protagonist would still rather have that last can of Diet Mountain Dew.
It’s somewhat sad for a director’s last work to be a commercial, as it suggests something of a career failure, or a fall from grace. However, Scott dabbled in all mediums and made no bones about enjoying his craft, whatever the end product may be. In this case, it’s Scott who has the last laugh.
MOUNTAIN DEW: LIVIN’ THE LIFE is available in its entirety on Vimeo via the embed above.