The Founder  (2016)

Sometimes a movie has some great elements, and sometimes those elements end up being less than the sum of their parts. "The Founder" had a good cast, good acting, a good script...but in the end I was underwhelmed, and really just bored.

The story of how Ray Kroc stole McDonald's is somewhat common knowledge at this point. When I grew up I had heard about how Ray Kroc took one small burger stand and turned it into an empire, but in the past few years more details came out about how he basically snatched everything away from the McDonald brothers and left them in the dust. Director John Lee Hancock brought in a solid group of actors to bring life to a script that seemed geared for awards season, but fell short of greatness.

In the early 1950s, Ray Kroc was something of a cliche traveling salesman, trying to get invested into a great product and make his financial dreams come true. He comes across McDonald's Hamburgers in southern California, realizes they are doing things unlike any other burger stand in the country, and decides to plant his flag and expand nation-wide. His vision is different from that of the McDonald brothers, Dick & Mac, and the two clash until Kroc finally completely pulls the rug out from under them, and buys them out.

The problem I saw that was Kroc was never really shown to be down on his luck, scrapping to make a living. The movie begins with him being rejected by various restaurants, but he still manages to come home to his wife, in a very nice house, having dinner at the country club where he is a member. It's not like they were living in a cramped apartment, struggling to make ends meet. Kroc had made some bad investments, but he obviously made some good ones too. His wife does question him about when enough will be enough, and he responds that it will never be enough. I get that is supposed to show his tenacity, but it made him more of a great white shark than an underdog.

Most intriguing, though, was how it was sort a damnation of McDonald's. People already gave up on the restaurant after "Super Size Me", but after seeing how the entire corporation was founded on deception, I wouldn't want to give them another dollar (full disclosure: I haven't eaten at McDonald's in years anyway).

[Celluloid Hero] gives "The Founder" a 5 out of 10.

 

 

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