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1/19/17

The Founder

Did you think McDonalds just sprang onto this earth fully formed? Au contraire.... Here's how it happened. Writer Robert D. Siegel ("The Wrestler") has provided a script which shows us who started it, and who saw its potential. Director John Lee Hancock ("Saving Mr. Banks") takes it from there.

His cast includes:
  • Michael Keaton ("Birdman") is Ray Kroc, the discouraged but persistent milkshake-machine salesman who changed the face of fast food, for better or for ill.
  • Nick Offerman ("Fargo" TV series) Dick McDonald just wants to make a living doing what he knows best: feed hungry families. He does NOT like it when people hang up on him!
  • John Carroll Lynch ("The Architect") Mac McDonald has a couple of problems: His bad kidneys and his good heart.
  • Laura Dern ("Certain Women") Ethel Kroc keeps changing her expectations, depending on what her volatile husband is promoting this time...
  • Patrick Wilson ("Fargo" TV series) Rollie Smith is a successful restaurateur, but he can see the potential in Kroc's dream...
  • Linda Cardellini (Lots of TV) Joan Smith plays piano in her husband's restaurant. She too, recognizes potential when she sees it... 
  • B.J. Novak ("The Office") Harry J. Sonnenborne is a lawyer who sees a completely different potential, to Kroc's surprise. We didn't see it coming.
This story is as old as time: Greed vs Morality. So why do we still view Ray Kroc with a bit of sympathy? For one thing, we saw him at the bottom of his career, scrounging for sales and struggling to keep an optimistic attitude. The McDonald brothers have already tried to branch out and the montage of their attempts is funny, even though they didn't think so at the time. They do NOT trust him nor do they share his latest vision, because visionaries are notoriously single minded. We, on the other hand, grudgingly respect someone who is determined to find, and then march, to his own drummer.

Keaton does an exemplary job as his character segues from desperation to confidence, ultimately displaying the rapacity Kroc became known for.  You will enjoy the postscript as it tells what happened AFTER the (sorta) happily ever after.

Rated PG-13, you can expect quite a bit of talk about efficiency in the fast food business, little or no profanity, no vehicular mayhem and no blowie uppie stuff. Just remember, "It's Founders Keepers."
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