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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Michael Keaton Steals the Show (and the Idea for McDonald's) in The Founder





Released by The Weinstein Company

Release Date: January 20th, 2017

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch and Laura Dern

Written by Robert Siegel

Directed by John Lee Hancock

Rated PG-13 (Brief Strong Language)



  When I was a kid and I would walk into a McDonald's no matter which one I went to, there was always a bronze plaque showing the image of Ray Kroc the founder of McDonald's. Growing up we all believed that this Ray Kroc person was the man who invented McDonald's. This man created the most recognized fast food restaurant on the planet. He must have been a genius and everyone must have loved him. In the film The Founder we find out the true story... and it's not so sweet.

The Founder stars Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc and the story is quite simple, it's a movie about how Ray Kroc stole the McDonald's idea away from the McDonald brothers. The movie follows Kroc as he is a failing traveling salesman and on a fluke order from his company he pursues why exactly the massive order was made. This is when he comes upon McDonald's and the McDonald brothers (played by Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch). They describe in a lengthy section of the movie how they came up with the idea and how their business began to boom. Kroc sees this as an opportunity and pressures the brothers into allowing Kroc to franchise their business. Slowly, but surely McDonald's begins to boom and Kroc begins to reap the benefits. But, under a strong contract with the McDonald brothers he is stuck between and a rock and a hard place... drama ensues.


In the past few years, Michael Keaton has really shown us that he is a great dramatic actor. As a kid growing up in the 90s I always looked at Keaton as a comedic actor and then after the mid-90s he kind of disappeared, sent to supporting roles or lesser known movies. In 2014, he blew everyone away with his performance in Birdman and has been on a role ever since; The Founder is no different. Keaton delivers a stellar performance as does Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald. Keaton does a wonderful job creating the role of Ray Kroc as a decent, hardworking and likable man then by the end of the film, makes you hate him.

Overall, the film is great, however it is not without its flaws. I do feel the movie drags a bit in the middle. Kroc's wife (played by Laura Dern) is almost pointless to the movie, other than to show that Kroc's obsession with McDonald's ended his marriage. Also, Kroc's affair with Joan Smith (played by Linda Cardellini) seemed out of place as well, again it was there to show that Kroc wasn't that great of a person. The real meat of the film was the conflict between Kroc and the McDonald brothers and that was wonderfully displayed. Highly recommended!  

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