2009, Media  -   69 Comments
Ratings: 8.02/10 from 83 users.

StarsuckersStarsuckers is a feature documentary about the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it.

Made completely independently over 2 years in secret, the film journeys through the dark underbelly of the modern media. Using a combination of never before seen footage, undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all and especially our children.

Chris Atkins presents Starsuckers as a series of five lessons on fame in the modern world: how children are persuaded that fame is something they want, how television and the media reinforces the importance of celebrity and the efforts to attain it, how the mind and body reinforces our need to follow the activities of well-known people and strive to join their number, how the press became addicted to celebrity coverage, and how the art of promoting fame has led to celebrities and their handlers controlling the press instead of the press having say.

Along the way, Atkins demonstrates how celebrity news with no basis in fact gets into print, why newspapers will run press releases almost verbatim, how parents will eagerly sign away the image rights to their kids, how certain mass scale charity events end up helping the performers far more than the causes they designed to support, and how publicists keep accurate but unflattering stories out of the news.

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69 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Stoic187

    Confirms everything I knew about humanity and gave me a few new media manipulation tactics to employ! 10/10

  2. LocoTom

    Sick world.

  3. blaice

    I came here today, because the media covered "brangelina" (barfing from that ridiculously stupid name) over a man shot to death and riots in Charlotte. This is the world I, and we, live in. It is pathetic. I don't know if it is just mainly America, but it makes me disgraced of my country, and especially the mindless drones considered people in it. These m*rons idolize these celebrities with enough money to buy them and all their assets with a mere hundred-thousandth of what the celebrities have, yet they are only feeding these people more.

  4. Keira

    This is absolutely terrifying. We are all prisoners.

  5. Max

    Okay, I've officially lost faith in humanity.
    all i have to say is that i'm glad that Johnny Depp was nowhere to be found in this documentary. i'm a big fan of him, why? i can relate to his personality and i support his view on the world. and because in his interviews he always talks really down to earth and honest. most of his movies have a good message and are mainly not box-office. and yes, his style is amazing. i think that there's nothing wrong with admiring someone as long as you keep thinking clearly. what i mean by that is that you don't blindly buy everything that has the slightest connection with this person just for the sake of being like them or wanting to know everything about them. I've never read a magazine in my life and i never watch tv anymore. i get the info about johnny depp from interviews and i download his movies for free. i don't want to support any (media) corporation/business. i like the idea of how Johnny dresses himself, he never wears clothes that exposes a brand name and in his early years he only bought 2nd hand. that's what i do now. and most of all, he isn't an attention whore at all.

    Depp become famous (21 jump street) hated it, turned to non-box-office stuff, lost his bad-boy labels and did movies for 20 years, then pirates of the Caribbean come out and he became famous/rich again.

    It's funny how i am posting a whole page about how i love a celebrity in a comment section of a documentary that just made me hate the whole idea of fame and media (well, i already hated it, but this got me pretty pissed off)

    The point i'm trying to make here is that the reasons why people like celebrities are f--king mindless. people also admire scientist, but because of their work and view. and that's different. and that's why i like johnny depp.

    to clear it up: i only watch youtube videos of interviews and stuff with johnny depp, and his movies (which i download for free) then i try to style myself like him by going to 2nd hand shops. and i love his personality, he's shy, down to earth, real, humble and an oddball.

    1. Jimmy Mac

      Can't tell if satire...

  6. Euripedes

    Teaching a course in popular culture. Our last two units are on celebrity and social media. SO glad I found this. An excellent intro and eye opener at the same time.

  7. devloid

    Excellent coverage of a key issue of our time. Should be shown to kids as young as they could take it in - like an antidote to all the tv crap they are fed. If anything the narration should be creepier but gets the point across that we are all being played.

  8. Sonya Turner

    What a eye opener. It's sad that I have grown up in this culture. It's just so hard to escape it. This doco should be shown in all high schools.

  9. Furqan Han

    I liked this documentary very much. Well told and good background information. And no, I didn't have any problem with the narration voice. Anyways. So, these questions remain: How can we protect ourselves, if even possible? Or is it already too late? How can we strike back?

  10. Daemous Abadonus

    Wesley Autry - household name?!?! Huh, What?

    I swear, i've NEVER heard of this guy until i started watching this documentary here.

  11. Looki

    i wrote the satire song "I don't like Geldof" after doing some research into his commercial background and discovering, quite easily, that he has been doing PR work for UBS, The Israeli Government, The MOD, for various Big Pharma, Bankers, Industrialists etc etc.....

  12. Rory Mo

    Im sick of being in the minority of people who realise we are all being sold lies by the media (politics, major companies) every day. Its like some of us are awake from the "matrix" so to speak and see this for what it is! But it seems we are too few to do anything. Fact is our fellow human does'nt give a s*** as long as they've got their tv and dinner.

  13. happytrailz

    YEESH will somebody PLEASE SHOOT THE NARRATOR? Using Mr. Propaganda Voice to do your voice overs in a flick about propaganda is RIDICULOUS. How about just presenting the Facts and letting me make up my own mind, OK. Honestly, I'd love to watch this, but the CONDESCENDING presumptions throughout, i.e. anyone who disagrees with us kills kittens and hates rainbows, is DRIVING ME NUTS!!!! STOP USING THE SAME TOOLS YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE CONDEMNING!!!!!

    1. N30N B0N35

      100% agree with you.

    2. Chronic Chris

      I do see your point, but at the same time, I'd argue and say that the condecending presentation adds another layer to the documentary.
      The reason why, is because I'm sick of documentaries that have that "NEW WORLD ORDER!!! ILLUMINATI AND ALIENS OMG!!!" presentation style, they have computer distorted voices (since the creators of the docs are insane and paranoid) and, maybe it's just me, but when I hit the play button and that's the first thing I hear, I immediately exit or zone out. It's like a switch in my head labeled "conspiracy nut! He's full of Sh*t."

    3. Ray O

      I wouldn't suggest being so aggressive with your opinions. With privacy comes conspiracy of all types, and most can be justified to some extent. But I think that in trying to completely eliminate certain conspiracies, you are dimming an insight that could obtain useful information. Rather than ignoring, we should always remain skeptical of what we are observing.

    4. NareMaghan

      While I agree that the monotone, slightly sinister narration is mildly irritating I think your missing the point. If we researched the information presented in the this doc and it was found to be true does that mean we dismiss the information simply because we do not like the voice of the narrator?

      What if The real "news" was presented by people who wore make up and nice clothes and had a pleasing disposition but everything said was either severely slanted or completely false? Would you rather prefer that? ....oh wait.

  14. hippiehighpriestess

    This was one of the most AMAZING, POWERFUL documentaries I have ever seen. The media and lives of the rich and famous completely rule and dominate our culture, it's quite sickening. Everyone should watch this documentary and spread it to your friends and family. Stop oversubscribing to a fake culture of riches, fame, and illusion!

  15. RobinSweet

    This documentary is very revealing, there should be more like it, but of course while the media is controlled by the people that control it, and remains the circus of the profane and the ridiculous that it is today, such documentaries would only and can only be few and far in between.

    The whole bit about the 5 (6?) year old boy who thought he was "the star" (the quotation marks are there on purpose) was terrifying, unsettling and very hard to watch. It really makes me wander, is this what our kids are becoming today? Is this really their future, and by association, ours? If yes, than we are living in a sad time and a dark reality indeed.
    I think his parents should be ashamed of themselves for encouraging him. Because what they are in essence telling him by giving him all the encouragement that he is getting form them on a daily basis, is that it's ok to be extremely vain and self-centered, and to think that being or becoming famous (and reach, he said that when he "makes it" he will buy his mother a big house, shows you his priorities in life, doesn't it? and he's only 5 (6?)) is more important than doing his homework and doing other things which might be more important for his development and his life in the future. And because they are doing this for their own (monetary)

    The captivating of young children and teens and addicting them to, or rather making them the devoted disciples of the "cult of celebrity" is to me a crime against innocents. It should not be allowed under any circumstances. I was lucky to grow up in a world free of advertising til the age of 10. Then I was suddenly exposed to a media blitz because I move with my family to a country where advertising was everywhere. I was mesmerized! Spent whole days infront of the glowing box in the living room, instead of making friends and having fun. It took a lot of time to realize what I got myself into and get myself out again. Now at 31, I am free of this "bewichment", I no longer buy into anything that any ad or Telly programming tries to sell me and let nothing stand in the way of my own decision making and individualism. A sheep no more.

    The Band Aid/Live Aid/Live 8 thing was creepy to say the lest. The blatant lies perpetuated by its organizers, Mainly "Bob" Geldof was heart rending and shattering. Not to mention that instead of bringing aid he made things much worse by watering down, celebritising and de-valuing an important and vital issue and undermining other (real and actually useful) campaigns such as "Make Poverty History" (MPH). And to call something a success when it failed miserably... and use profanities and fist banging on tables while ordering people to stay at a donation venue (which though not mentioned in the doc it self, was part of Geldof's "technique" of getting people to donate money) is appalling and morally repugnant. (For more information on Geldof and his so called "aid campaign" look him up on wikipedia (which is what I did)

    Compare that to the "Music for UNISEF" which was started by the Bee Gees in 1979 (UN's Year of the Child) with the participation of many top musical composers,musicians and performers from around the world. Which resulted in the creation of the collective album "Music For UNISEF" the earnings from the sale all went to UNISEF, generating tens of millions of dollars in aid money, and Barry, Robin and Maurice (unlike Geldof) went around the world and made sure that the money was indeed used as it was supposed to, to help the children, to find out if they are indeed being helped. This concept is alive and well today and continues to generate tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for children around the world.

    The narration from the point of view of the media industry was a nice touch also, a bit like they were confessing their sins. If only they would... But that's a completely different story, perhaps in the next century..."Tomorrow never knows" (as said by Ringo Starr)

  16. Belicious

    that show "teenage wives" which it refers to at 0:13:19 looked creepy. i tried googling it but couldn't find any info about the show

    1. Jacques

      I found the info about the show quite quickly through google. Very disturbing

  17. Rachelnico

    Hilarious! Sadly a majority of society is oblivious; the rest of us are just slightly less oblivious.

  18. Rachelnico

    Hilarious! Sadly a majority of society is oblivious; the rest of us are just slightly less oblivious.

  19. who_me_yeah_you

    I hate Vlatko for making me stay up late at night when i have to go to work in the morning. Damn you and your documentaries!

    1. Erik

      haha hapens to me too many times...knowledge is addicting

    2. Tom Leigh

      only for the inquisitive...

    3. Tom Leigh

      only for the inquisitive...

  20. House Of Pleasure

    Doesn’t seem to load.

  21. GoughLewis

    I can't wait to see this!!! Later tonight I watch....Yesss! All your comments and reviews have made me salivate! Haha my Pavlovian response to the truth, and such a rare thing it is. I have watched two films on this theme recently on Top Documentary Films that I would like to recommend to all of you.

    I just watched an interesting film called PSYWAR on this fabulous site. A fascinating journey into the phycology of Government Intelligence Operations and how they execute influence, opinion, misinformation (polite word for lies), scientifically inflicting policy propaganda on unsuspecting nations and the people of the world really.

    Another film to watch is EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, which also deals with the pursuits of celebrity and fame...and what that really is. God this film is funny, dangerous, and well done. Genius film really, can't recommend it enough.

    This site, Top Documentary Films, is quickly turning into my favorite site on the Internet.

  22. Adam J. Gillis

    A really amazing piece of work. I have no clue how the filmakers got most of the clips here, quite staggering. I know that the same thing happens in the USA. "Jon Stewart's Daily Show" has exposed countless examples of FOX News following stories that they started. They simply make up 'facts' about issues, then report on the stories that they start, like it is some other source for the story. This has happened way too many times to count, and by the time people start to notice, they already have another dramatic story to follow to distract the masses.

  23. Liisa Mialee

    Rather spooky.

  24. Julius Iyama

    Good thing i gave up on tv and news papers. i live in the uk and its full of fake media, too much adverts and reality tv shows, it drives me nuts! I now use the internet to filter all that rubish off by choosing what i think is rationally right for me. i only hope that the internet does not get hijacked by our government, whom inturn would most certainly try to take away the freedom of use and control the internet.

    thanks Vlad for this documentary it was an eye opener, and it also reinforces what i have always believed to be happening within the media industry... "lies"

  25. Karenwasherefirst

    Not everybody is oblivious.

  26. Heather Wade

    Wow, blew my mind. Glad I ditched my tv 10 years ago.

  27. Clix (????)

    Fantastic! Great film and great topic. It's a revelation to me the Brits are worse at this stuff, however. I thought them more sensible people. In hindsight though, no wonder why the Anglo-trash has invaded our airwaves in the US over the past several years.

    The scientific stuff (i.e. we're hard wired for fame) is bogus though. There is no hard science to support such assertion. Fame and popularity is a social construct that is peculiar primarily to the west. Even in the west, some countries like Sweden have a much tempered view of fame.

    Otherwise, a great film that spotlights the sad state of things in the US and UK today.

    1. Guest

      Go to Japan and China...and Bollywood!

    2. southab403

      We aren't hared wired for fame; we are hardwired for socialization around a 'leader' who has a successful group. A successul group would many good and useful members.

      The ‘good’ part of all this media attention to celebrities is that the majority of people give positive status to actors playing heroes or good folk who are protecting our culture or nature from evil doers.

      The bad part is that the bubble bursts when the actors turn out to be actual human beings with all the flaws inherent in everyone. Then the negative press has a field day.

      I'm so glad that my abhorence of TV ads has kept me away from the proliferation of 'crap' tv.

      Way too much attention of the general populace is given over to non-issues of social design/redirection/consumer consuption.

      How can we re-direct peoples attention away from the bombardment of day to day commercialization towards the much more important aspects of life?

      Moving towards more sustainable living would be nice. Not wasting $300 million (per election!!) on a forth election in 7 years would be nice. (Canada, March 2011, non-confidence vote).

  28. David T

    @Alex Jones
    I thought you were Original Alex Jones!!

  29. Alex Jones

    I forgot the most important "media" - the internet!

  30. Alex Jones

    That little kid - I am sorry to say this - was annoying. So self-centered and encouraged to be so vain, it's disgusting to me that children are being raised to be materialistic consumers. It is like one big giant cult of personality (remember that song by Living Colour?) I just went to youtube to look up that song - and guess who Vevo is shoving down my throat? Britney Spears advertising surrounding the screen. This celebrity fame crap is inescapable - can't even go grocery shopping without Tabloids literally shoved in my face. The racks are literally raised to eye-level so you I'm forced to look at these celebs.

    1. Guest

      I agree with you...he is made into a little circus monkey...but the thing is; most people will see him only once in their life and in that instant will probably think ...How cute!...I wish my kid was that popular!...He looks cool in those clothes!...Can i have my photo taken with him!...and blah blah blah
      In the end it's all about money, the money his parents are making out of has become their jobs and the kid is their factory. I bet they claim that they are putting the dough away for his education although for now instead of a book on his laps he has a mirror into his looks.

  31. Alex Jones

    This doc is so amazing - Chris Atkins, I'll be looking out for you now that YOU'RE famous!! I love these types of films that explore our culture: The Corporation, The Century of Self, Zeitgeist series. They reveal, clarify and explain our psychology - and have helped me to better identify who I am as one who realizes that it's not me that's crazy or paranoid, but that we are all actually being manipulated by invisible hands in the media that collaborate to keep us distracted from more important concerns. Books, magazines, TV shows, radio, films, newspapers, celebrities, toys, clothing - am I missing anything? - all these "media" are used to magically provide the illusions we are hard-wired to desire on a massive scale. I have to watch this one again.

  32. Nathan Cory


  33. Yavanna

    I`ll second that - fascinating. Best doc I`ve seen without David Attenborough in that I`ve seen in a while.

    1. Guest

      you'll be happy with the new one that just came in... syncronicity!

  34. hailflavour

    great doc, it is definitely a must watch

  35. Mad

    Excellent documentary, however is it coincidence I just finished reading Edward Bernays book titled "Propaganda"? This confirms much of what he was describing out 'invisible government' & how from the jokes you laugh at to what clothes you think are fashionable are not decisions of your own. Even the presidential candidates are NOT decided by voters but by small round tables of seldom heard of yet very powerful men. Propaganda is EVERYWHERE folks you can't hide from it, the best I could suggest for you if you want to be informed learn a little bit from everything even that which YOU THINK you may despise, history is written by the victorious. I highly suggest this documentary to ANYBODY living in the "civilized" world because you have been programmed by the elites & its time people wake up. People are sheep being told constantly to sleep, they pull the cover over your eyes to keep you asleep cause if you seen the true problems in the world your mind would weep. The majority of sheeple wont understand this documentary but I have hopes for my fellow viewers here on TDF. THIS SH!TS GOT TO GO!

    "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free"
    ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    1. Nathan Cory

      hey who is the author of the book you read?

    2. Pavilions

      His name in Eddy Bernays. Essentially created PR and advertisement as we know it today.

      Check out Adam Curtis' The Century of the Self for more info. It's on this site somewhere.

    3. Alex Jones

      As I recall Ed Bernays was nephew to Sigmund Freud, whom I wonder if either are related to Emma or Matthew Freud who are featured in Star Suckers at 1:27:49?

    4. Mad

      They are both related to Sigmund their great-grandfather is Sigmund Freud and are doubly related to Edward Bernays, whose father was Sigmund Freud's brother-in-law.

    5. jellybean8309

      I just watched 'The Century of Self" @ 6:52 says Bernays was employed by the gov't 's? 'Committee of Public Information'.. i instantly thought of 'the 'CFR' ( wikipedia(DOT)org/wiki/Council­_on_Foreign_Relations ) ...wonder if it's the same thing..the same one? hillary clinton now calls 'the Mothership' ..?!?! Vlatko,another good one to have on here! ;)

  36. Rufio El Rocco

    Nothing new, grew up with this belife allready. Never had TV at home, thats maybe why. Media is a big SCAM. Do never buy in to it.

    1. David Foster

      My dad called it: "The Id**t Box". That was forty years ago.

    2. Stig_Jensen

      A documentary site that edits and cencores the word id**t. If he called someone an id**t I could understand, but in its current context it seems a bit harsh.

    3. Epicurus

      why does it bother you so much? is it just because you dont like your comment going to moderation and having to wait for it to be approved? because i assure you that us mods (especially achems) are going through that list of in moderation posts almost by the hour. dont get too upset about it. not the end of the world.

  37. chaysun

    Interesting doc! Is there any profession in the world that's honest?

    1. Arif Karim

      Yes. Housewife :)

    2. Guest!
      Most professions have the potential to be honest but with money and people being involved, they aren't. Check yourself for 24hours, every time your mouth says something your mind and moral
      label yourself dishonest, even when you are just trying to be nice to someone else. And the more we do that, the more we are willing to do it because the less we notice it about ourself.
      The fact that we care so much about others makes us deceitful...and then people fight or lose friendships, even family members.
      How can one be relentlessly honest?
      Act genuinely and slowly and don't react instinctively and fast!
      I keep working on this and i'll tell you, it is the hardest thing to do as a constant!

  38. Guest

    Watching the first 10 minutes i thought this was going to be mildly interesting...but i couldn't go much further. If i see anything positive in the comments i may give it an other try but....yaw........!
    That said, i will add..... being loved or hated is pleasurable or tolerable but being absolutely ignored is torture to most people. That goes for lover relationship, family, work and just about any situation where you put your attention...people want attention is as simple as that.
    and who ever is going to dispute this...think about the many situations where this might have happened to you.

  39. Badcat_2

    Pure crap. I'm not the starstruck type for sure. If you can spot Harrison Ford across the street and not care, I don't think you'd be either.

    1. gooddog1

      but you still feel the need to mention that....

  40. ethy_ethy

    This is amazing.

  41. Colete

    Some good points are given. And makes me scared watching the parents of the 6 years old boy trying to earn on him and programming his little mind of how important and cool he is. His future seems unhappy.

  42. Arif Karim

    Great DOC! Must watch.

  43. Emanuele Pavone

    the section about the reality tv show is one of the most appalling sights i've ever seen in my life. Holy moly these people have hit rock bottom or what?

  44. wadee uthman

    While pagan-religions had their own idols, the common-man today has his own Idolised Celebrity.

  45. Tyler Stanley