Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Founder

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! I don't eat McDonald's very often because I'm trying to lose weight (and I'm poor) but, man, did I want some of their fries after watching this.

The Founder – 4 out of 5

You can lie all you want but we all love McDonald’s in some form or another.  I know I’m pretty obsessed with their McNuggets.  Hell, I know people that love it so much that they eat there several times a week despite numerous claims that their orders are screwed up every time and the fact they absolutely despise the people that work there and think they are all idiots who don’t deserve a living wage—that’s either real love or some sort of chemical dependence, I don't know.  However I will admit, there are some people who really hate McDonald’s but whether you love them or love to hate them, eat their food or don’t eat their food their story of their rise to fast food dominance is an interesting one and that’s one of the many reasons The Founder is a tremendous movie.

What kind of monster could not love this man?

Look, we've all been there where we're basically
making love to our fast food burger.
In 1954, Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a traveling salesman trying to sell mixers to restaurants but isn’t really getting very far.  One day, he stumbles upon a restaurant in California named McDonald’s.  Run by two brothers; Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch), the restaurant proves to be revolutionary as it creates the idea of “fast food.”  Gone are the days of waiting for your order as the meal is served to you seconds after you order it.  Kroc sees the potential in this and attempts to work with the brothers in order to franchise the business and bring McDonald’s to the entire USA.  Hesitantly, the brothers agree but soon learn how driven and deceptive Kroc can be as a business partner.

"He sent us a picture of himself and he's flipping us off."

Bio-pics are pretty fun movies because they are entertaining and they give you the illusion that you are learning something about a historically significant figure.  Yes, so much in them gets changed up and facts get muddied up in order to increase drama and comply with the basics of storytelling (because real life is never as cool as the movies) but they’re definitely engaging.  The meteoric rise that was McDonald’s and how it came to be thanks to a traveling salesman with drive and just the right amount of callousness so he can screw people over and not feel sad about it is really an interesting tale.  Not to mention, it’s hard to imagine that there was once a time when we couldn’t get our food to us in a matter of seconds nor an era where we didn’t see those golden arches on every corner of every city.

Now let's get a bio-pic on Mayor McCheese.

The story to The Founder easily sucked me because it was fascinating to see Kroc’s drive to make McDonald’s a nation-wide success.  The push back he got from Dick and Mac easily created some interesting drama (and some humor too) and the development that Kroc goes through really made for a feature that was just captivating to watch.  The film so seamlessly changes Kroc from a down-on-his-luck salesman who is just trying to get a win to a man who so ruthlessly pulls the rug out from underneath the guys he originally said he wanted to help and build an empire with.  It’s a testament to not just the performance of Keaton but from a writing and filmmaking perspective.  There’s no noticeable transition but rather a natural progression that alters the character and made a lead that is lovable and charming at the beginning but sorta loathsome and despicable by the end.  It was damn impressive and made the film and the drama feel very authentic.

After his lost his company, he found new work as Twisty the Clown.

The performances in this film are top notch.  I have yet to see a film where Michael Keaton isn’t completely amazing and this film keeps that streak alive.  He’s so impressive as Ray Kroc and, as I’ve already mentioned, the way that he makes the character transition from someone you want to see succeed to a person you are disgusted with his actions after he finally does is tremendous.  The film is also filled with numerous great supporting players in the form of Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern and Patrick Wilson.  Each player is doing a fantastic job with their roles and really makes the whole story feel real and vibrant. 

I paused the DVD at just the right time to get this absolutely perfect screencap.

Finally, I was very impressed with the performances of Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch.  Lynch is already a very talented actor who is very underrated when it concerns his versatility and it was excellent to see Offerman play a more down-to-earth role and one that isn’t anything like Ron Swanson.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the character of Ron Swanson (because both it’s a funny character and because my name really is Ron Swanson) but with an iconic character like Swanson it’s easy to be typecast and it’s nice to see him spread his wings and perform something that isn’t overtly funny.  It really shows what he is capable of.

I feel a deep connection to this man--mostly because I am a Ron Swanson
and he played the Ron Swanson.

The Founder is a simple but incredibly memorable and effective bio-pic that does a tremendous job at illustrating the early days of the fast food giant.  The only real drawback I found for the film was a lack of replay value.  As great as the performances are and as engaging as the story is, I don’t think I’m ever going to take the time to watch it again.  However, that doesn’t stop the film from being a spectacular piece of entertainment.

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