Friday, January 20, 2017
Movie Review: The Founder
Before seeing this film, the only thing I knew about McDonald's is that two brothers started the company, and also, that their fries are pretty tasty. What I didn't know is that the company was essentially stolen from them, which is the story of The Founder.
Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a salesman for milkshake mixer machines for fast-food restaurants, specifically drive-ins, in the 1950s. When he stumbles across a restaurant called McDonald's, in San Bernardino, CA, which has ordered eight of his machines, he wants to help its owners franchise, as he thinks it would make a great national restaurant chain. The owners, Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch) McDonald, say they've tried franchising before and it failed, but Kroc is determined to make it work this time. What ends up happening is something that spirals out of the McDonald brothers' control, and ends up making Ray Kroc a very rich man.
If I were rating this movie on just the acting, specifically Keaton's, it would get 5 out of 5 stars from me. However, the movie is a little slow in parts, which had me constantly checking my watch, so that drops the star rating a little bit. Offerman and Lynch are great here too - Offerman is clean-shaven and thus barely recognizable here, and you may recognize Lynch from his recent guest appearance on The Walking Dead, or perhaps from Jackie. Other supporting roles were played by Patrick Wilson, Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, and Laura Dern, all of whom were good as well.
Yes, see this film, especially if you like historical movies or have ever eaten at a McDonald's. The story here was quite interesting, and it turns out that McDonald's is actually more of a real estate company versus a food establishment, which I never knew. Keaton plays Kroc with just the right amount of sliminess and also business acumen, and it ends up estranging him more and more from his wife, Ethel (Dern). I'm hoping Keaton gets recognized for this movie by the time awards season 2018 rolls around; hopefully people won't forget about his performance here, since usually "award bait" movies get released closer to the end of the year, versus in January.
The Founder is in theaters today, January 20th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 115 minutes. 4 stars out of 5.