Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Founder reveals a story you might not know about McDonalds

Movie Title:   The Founder

Grade:  B+

Rating:  PG-13, 115 minutes

In a Nutshell:  The Golden Arches! You may actually want to swing by McDonald’s after you leave the theater to celebrate the American Dream…either that or ban it because of what Ray Kroc did to the real McDonald brothers in order to build his fast food empire.

It’s a fascinating look at business, persistence, and the history of America’s original fast food chain.  According to the movie, every day, McDonald’s feeds 1% of the world’s population!

Uplifting theme: 
  • Hard work, persistence, the American Dream
  • “They all lack the one thing that makes McDonald’s special…” – Ray
“Which is?” – Dick McDonald
“Even YOU don’t know what it is!” – Ray
“Enlighten me.” – Dick
“It’s not just the system, Dick. It’s the name, that glorious name.  It can be anything you want it to be.  It’s limitless.  It sounds like America….” – Ray
  • If you’re an older entrepreneur, you’ll be inspired by these older men who made it big later in life.

Things I liked:
  • I love what director John Lee Hancock did with the movies Saving Mr. Banks and The Blind Side.  He has become quite the storyteller when it comes to biopic dramas.
  • Michael Keaton gives a great performance, especially shines when Ray Kroc’s behavior gets worse and worse.  His piano duet Linda Cardellini was charming.
  • The tennis court scene was fascinating to watch.  Brilliant planning, eh?
  • Parks and Recreation: The Complete Series fan favorite Nick Offerman plays Dick McDonald.
  • You get to see video of the real Ray Kroc at the end of the film.  You also get to see pictures of the real people who played secondary roles in this true story, as well as read what happened to them.  Interesting stuff.

Things I didn’t like:
  • Some people will be a bit bored. 
  • So, the moral of the story seems to be that you can step on people, be unscrupulous and win in the end...?  You'll leave the theater in a bit of a downer.  It's not a "feel good" story with a happy ending that leaves you morally inspired.
  • So, Ray Kroc was basically a thief…he stole a business and he stole someone’s wife.  He’s a scoundrel, but because Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, you somehow cheer for him during the movie.
  • I kind of felt bad for Laura Dern.  Both she and Ethel Kroc, whom she played, probably both wished they could have been given a bigger part in the McDonald's story.

Interesting lines:
  • “McDonald’s can become America’s new church: feeding bodies and feeding souls, and it ain’t just open on Sundays, boys.” – Ray Kroc
  • “There are many things we could do to make a quick buck, but that doesn’t mean we should.” – Dick McDonald
  • “There’s a wolf in the hen house.  We let him in!” – Dick McDonald
  • Good things come to those who wait.” – Joan Smith (Linda Cardellini)
  • “You think big Joan, don’t you?” – Ray
“Is there any other way to?” – Joan
  • “Contracts are like hearts.  They’re made to be broken.” – Ray
  • “Business is war.” – Ray
  • “We will never beat him.  We will never be rid of him.” – Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch)
  • “So, if you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em?” - Dick
  • “You’re not in the food business…you’re in the real estate business.” -  Harry Sonneborn (played by the all grown up B.J. Novak)

Funny lines:
  • “When is enough going to be enough for you?” – Ethel Kroc (Laura Dern)
“Honestly, probably never.” – Ray Kroc
  • “Would you eat at a place named Kroc’s?” - Ray

Tips for parents: 
  • Some profanity, including 1 F-bomb.
  • Those of us who grew up when McDonald's was truly popular (60's & 70's) will enjoy learning more about this American icon.  None of my kids ever liked McDonalds, so the younger generations of viewers will probably only be mildly entertained by this movie. 

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