Michael Keaton has had himself quite a renaissance of a career. With Birdman, Spotlight and soon to be Spider-man: Homecoming, Keaton is one of Hollywood’s best stars. Keaton is at it again in this story of the creation and expansion of McDonald’s.
Ray Kroc (Keaton) was a small time salesman with a penchant for pushing junk who came across a small time burger stand in San Bernadino, California that provided quality food service without the lengthy wait.
The stand was made and run by brothers Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick (Nick Offerman) McDonald. They showed Ray around behind the counter and told him the whole story of how this came about. The McDonald Brothers did not know what was going to happen.
Ray saw this as a huge opportunity to take McDonald’s nationwide by franchising it. Mac and Dick were less than enthusiastic about the thought. Ray had to drag them along. When they officially agreed to expand, Mac and Dick had Ray sign a contract that they believed would keep the decision making progress in their own hands.
They did not understand how persistent Ray Kroc would be.
Ray did what he believed was best for the restaurant and for his own bottom line, whether that meant cutting out the McDonald brothers or dumping his lonely and ignored wife Ethel (Laura Dern). Ray also claimed many of the ideas from the McDonald brothers as his own, including the concept of the golden arches.
Keaton was great as this character who was really not a very likeable protagonist. You could understand why Ray did what he did, but the way he treated the McDonald brothers was anything but decent. John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman were extremely fantastic in this film. They were quirky and likeable and carried the early scenes of this movie. The story about the creation of their McDonald’s was engaging and entertaining. Because they were so likeable, the eventual screw job that they suffered was made all the more emotional.
The film might have dragged a little bit in the middle and could have used some more tightening in the editing department, but otherwise, I enjoyed the Founder. Michael Keaton was wonderful again on his path of making great acting choices. The film was full of great performances and revealed a story that I was unaware about with the tale of how McDonald’s became an American institution.