Friday, January 20, 2017

You deserve a break today

First time in a while that I've seen a movie in the theaters. I went to see The Founder today. It's an interesting picture about Ray Kroc,who wasn't the founder of McDonalds restaurants, but did found "McDonalds" as a corporate behemoth. The first of the restaurants was built in San Bernardino by Mac and Dick McDonald, migrants from New Hampshire, who eventually hit on the idea of applying Henry Ford's industrial techniques to the making of burgers and fries. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Kroc screws them out of their part in the business while taking it national. Of course there's a little bit of huckster to them as well, and this quality might leave them more vulnerable than they would be to a more vicious - if alcoholic and unpromising - con man.

The cast is excellent, led by Michael Keaton as Kroc and Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the McDonalds. Lynch might be best known - at least by me - as Marge Gunderson's husband Norm in Fargo. He's not the only Coen Brothers connection either. The music is done by their favorite composer, Carter Burwell. He earns gratitude for saving the audience from a soundtrack full of Mickey D's jingles, as thematically appropriate as they might have been.


susan said...

I guess I hadn't been paying attention because I didn't know about this one. In fact, I wasn't even aware that Ray Kroc didn't invent McDonald's, although I do remember when the first one opened just outside Toronto (I think the sign said 150 sold).

Now that I've read your review and watched the trailer it's one we'll definitely put on our list of films to watch this year. I'm not a big fan of Michael Keaton but there's no doubt he's a good actor.

We did one of those very rare (for us) things last night when we stopped watching a movie after an hour because we couldn't stand any more. We found it tedious, contrived and very overrated.

On the other hand, Paris, Texas is still amazing. I hope you've seen it.

susan said...

ps: Oops, it was Monster's Ball :)

Ben said...

Yeah, Kroc did a pretty good job of erasing McDonalds' deeper past. (Although of course I'm aware that the real guy could have been very different from the movie character.) It wasn't until a few years ago that I learned about the McDonald brothers and their original restaurant. Actually it might have been in David Halberstam's The Fifties that I first read that Kroc wasn't the creator.

One store outside Toronto and 150 sold? That must have been when only hipsters knew about them in Canada.

Keaton has to keep the movie going and he excels. The role plays to his strengths, even if he's less sympathetic than usual.

I've never seen Monster's Ball and I'm not really eager to. Something about the premise - a Death Row guard boinking the wife of one of his prisoners - just rubs me the wrong way.