The Founder review
When somebody like myself can describe their childhood as always remembering the golden arches from the McDonalds, I don’t know whether to describe this memory as sad, like an imprinted advertisement, or simply American. Regardless of the opinion of their food, McDonalds is the standing example of the American dream, both for the consumer and the businesspeople. For a typical family, they have the option of forgoing the hard work of cooking in favor of having hamburgers in a short time (I never said it’s a good thing, just an option). For the entrepreneur, McDonalds is more then just a restaurant; it’s a success story of an American company that has gone global.
McDonalds today represents American capitalism; always expanding, always trying to please the customer, and always ruthless. For a company that has prided itself off of its food, they’ve been criticized for the health factor and their aggressive marketing tactics. A lot of a companies behavior goes back to the ones the started it. It may be the case for a lot of companies like Apple, Starbucks, Wal Mart, and Playboy, but McDonalds actually had two beginnings. Their stories are shown in The Founder.
Milkshake maker salesman Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) seems to be doing well at his job, but is striving for something bigger. His usual sales to restaurants and drive-ins give him a glimpse at the flaws of these places including wrong food orders, long waits, and loud atmosphere full of teens. When an order for eight mixers is placed by a restaurant in San Bernardino, Kroc drives out there to see this “McDonalds”. What he encounters is a revolutionary speed system that allows food to ready fast along with disposable paper and a family friendly environment. Kroc meets the McDonalds brothers, Dick (played by Nick Offerman) and Mac (played by John Carroll Lynch) who convinces them to let him help franchise the restaurant.
Kroc at first has a hard time convincing investors to join in on this new restaurant idea, and the few wealthy ones that do try to do things their own way (including fried chicken on the menu!). Once he gets the idea that middle class investors are more likely to follow the McDonalds standards, restaurants start to explode across the Midwest and the business takes off like crazy. As Kroc gains power, he starts to become more defiant against the McDonalds brothers, despite being restricted by their original contract.
My original fear was that The Founder was simply going to be a commercial for McDonalds. What I got instead was a very fascinating character study into the mind of Ray Kroc. A bad screenplay could have easily made Ray Kroc a pioneer or a monster, but this somehow balances out everything in a fair viewpoint. You don’t agree with a lot of the tactics Kroc does to make the burger business boom, but the movie shows where he’s coming from. They also portray him as vulnerable, as they show later that one of the companies biggest tactics comes from a third party.
Michael Keaton is perfect as Ray Kroc. He balances the scripts tough job of making him tough and backstabbing, yet likable enough that you still want to follow him.
I have to give a lot of credit to both Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the McDonalds brothers who have the caliber to pull off the perfectionist, yet naïve attitude that the original siblings had.
The Founder is neither a pro or anti McDonalds movie. This is more like Patton or Nightcrawler; it’s a study on a person in which your supposed to make your own judgment on.
I’ll give this five McDonalds logos out of five. Had I seen this last year, it probably would’ve ended up on the best of 2016. The good news is that even without the accolades it missed out on, The Founder is still a good movie from start to finish. Check it out and see if your lovin it like I am.