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Review: The Founder

The Founder
12.08.2016
8 10

PLOT: The story of Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a middle-aged travelling salesman who turns a small-time hamburger joint named McDonalds into a worldwide behemoth.

REVIEW: Full disclosure: my first job ever was at McDonald’s. As a pimple-faced seventeen year old, recently slimmed down from somewhere near 250 pounds to a leaner 190, I remember vividly working as a lobby boy/cook, trying to cool it on the fast food lest I regain too much weight (to counter SUPER SIZE ME, I ate quite a bit and never regained an ounce). It was like boot camp in a way, and I’m convinced the insanity of the job (there’s never a McDonald’s that isn’t busy) means most employees never last beyond a year, but the lessons I learned there, both good and bad, served me well as a young man.

Thus, I was particularly interested in seeing a movie about the “founding” of McDonald’s, particularly with comeback king Michael Keaton in the lead. There’s a reason folks why Keaton’s movies are Oscar bait now – the guy knows his stuff and is showing a good nose for material. Ray Kroc is a great role for him, one that belongs up there with Bruce Wayne, the cokey-lead of CLEAN & SOBER and BIRDMAN.

A deceptively ingratiating figure, Kroc is complex. He’s shown early-on to be an everyman sort, struggling to make ends meet, with his loyal wife (Laura Dern) at his side, dreaming of that elusive big score. When he stumbles about Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick’s (Nick Offerman) roadside burger joint, McDonald’s, his mind is blown. A restaurant with no seats and no waiters? Food served, to go, and ready in thirty seconds, flat? All it takes is for him to see the long, fast-moving lines to know he’s struck gold, with the only roadblock being those pesky McDonald’s brothers.

Portrayed as somewhat naïve, both Mac and Dick are committed to putting out an exceptional product, with Dick’s assembly-line kitchen (which is still used at the chain) making the service fast. It’s here that THE FOUNDER really starts to cook, with Keaton’s Kroc, slowly getting more and more caught-up in building a franchise, something the brothers don’t care about. We even sympathize with Ray at first, with him having to get through the bull-headed Dick and the more sweet-natured Mac – until he starts to get successful.

It’s fascinating to watch as the tables are turned and our perspective starts to change on Ray. When the movie starts you’ll love him, but somewhere along the way that’ll turn to loathing, and it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where. Certainly, the callous treatment of his wife is a big part of it, but Kroc’s not portrayed as a total crook. The movie goes to great lengths to show that his ideas did indeed make McDonald’s what it became, but that end product is not at all what Mac and Dick wanted.

Other than Keaton, the cast in pretty solid, with Offerman getting to show real dramatic chops, and Lynch is likable as his nice-guy brother. Dern is as solid as always, and former “Freaks & Geeks” star Linda Cardellini gets a juicy role as the wife of one of Kroc’s franchisees (Patrick Wilson) who he sets his eyes on. B.J Novak, of “The Office” also impresses as the real estate guru who helps Kroc in his quest for control.

Working with an economical budget, director John Lee Hancock has crafted a solid biopic (I’d wager it’s his best film since THE ROOKIE), all the more impressive for its simplicity, compared his last biopic, SAVING MR. BANKS. He has a good story and the sense to simply tell it without too much fuss. It may not be flashy enough to win major awards, but it’s a well-made, intriguing piece of American history, and a must-see for anyone who likes sinking their teeth into a juicy Big Mac every now and then.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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2:17PM on 12/08/2016
I don't think Keaton has done a bad role yet. Just curious but out of those who hated the idea of a comedian as Batman, looking back at his career do we think they have now changed their minds?
I don't think Keaton has done a bad role yet. Just curious but out of those who hated the idea of a comedian as Batman, looking back at his career do we think they have now changed their minds?
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3:12PM on 12/08/2016
So I've done a huge 180 on Michael Keaton in the past three years or so (I wasn't the biggest fan of his growing up, mainly because I'd mostly seen him in garbage like Jack Frost and Multiplicity). The guy's an insane talent who was underused for almost his entire career, but truth to tell, as horribly blasphemous as this might sound, I think he's the most boring screen Batman we've ever gotten.

Bale and Affleck own the roles in a way nobody in the Burton/ Schumacher era did, they manage to
So I've done a huge 180 on Michael Keaton in the past three years or so (I wasn't the biggest fan of his growing up, mainly because I'd mostly seen him in garbage like Jack Frost and Multiplicity). The guy's an insane talent who was underused for almost his entire career, but truth to tell, as horribly blasphemous as this might sound, I think he's the most boring screen Batman we've ever gotten.

Bale and Affleck own the roles in a way nobody in the Burton/ Schumacher era did, they manage to make Batman more than just a one dimensional stereotype and make Bruce Wayne even more interesting than Batman. However, out of those early years Kilmer seems the most effortless in the role, he's just a natural for both Bats and Wayne, he seems like he doesn't even have to try, and Clooney (as much as his film sucks monkey balls) exudes charisma galore and, is the main reason the film is watchable at all in a "so bad its good" kind of way (if we had gotten a less confident leading man in the role it would have just been "so bad it's unwatchable" ... which is still almost is.) Keaton puts forth a decent effort, but he's really, really, really, really, one-note as Batman in a way that completely wastes the potential of the character (to be fair this could just as well be a case of poor direction on Burton's part rather than poor acting choices on Keaton's), and you can visibly trying to shed his zany comic persona and struggling to play a serious leading man, to this day when I watch it he just does not seem like a natural fit and its like he's consciously aware of this the entire time he's on screen. I love Keaton, I think he has proven to be one of the absolute greats of his generation, but I still think that a lot, probably even most of his pre-Birdman films are not very good (Beetlejuice is of course an exception and his Dogberry is still the best I've ever seen and probably his best pre-Birdman role), which is just a tragedy, like I mentioned earlier the guy's talent really wasted for literally decades of his career, which is just a testament to the dangers and inherent tragedy of typecasting in Hollywood. But in spite of all that, I really do still think he was miscast as Batman, I would have much rather seen Mel Gibson (Burton's first choice) or Kurt Russell.
9:09PM on 12/08/2016
to luke319: in what way is Multiplicity garbage? That movie was hilarious! One of my favorite Keaton films besides Beetlejuice.
to luke319: in what way is Multiplicity garbage? That movie was hilarious! One of my favorite Keaton films besides Beetlejuice.
12:45PM on 12/08/2016
One of my most anticipated for the year.
One of my most anticipated for the year.
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11:47AM on 12/08/2016

Mmmm

Im literally dying for a big mac after reading this
Im literally dying for a big mac after reading this
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11:29AM on 12/08/2016
Looking forwarded to this. I love how Keaton's went from average 80's early 90's actor to relative obscurity now to where he is now! Fantastic stuff!
Looking forwarded to this. I love how Keaton's went from average 80's early 90's actor to relative obscurity now to where he is now! Fantastic stuff!
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4:07PM on 12/08/2016
Yeah of all the recent comback tales I think his is the most impressive. Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke both went from critical glory to critical glory, however Keaton went from being the Ben Stiller of his era (recognizable but never quite king of the pack and not one who was especially critically praised) to almost completely written-off has been to one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. Crazy fantastic stuff indeed.
Yeah of all the recent comback tales I think his is the most impressive. Robert Downey Jr. and Mickey Rourke both went from critical glory to critical glory, however Keaton went from being the Ben Stiller of his era (recognizable but never quite king of the pack and not one who was especially critically praised) to almost completely written-off has been to one of the most acclaimed actors of his generation. Crazy fantastic stuff indeed.
+0
11:01AM on 12/08/2016
Really hope this nabs him a second Oscar Nom. Would love to see Keaton (Founder) vs Hanks (Sully) vs Washington (Fences) for Best Actor this year (not sure who the last 2 spots would be, im hearing Dev Patel for Lion not sure for 5)
Really hope this nabs him a second Oscar Nom. Would love to see Keaton (Founder) vs Hanks (Sully) vs Washington (Fences) for Best Actor this year (not sure who the last 2 spots would be, im hearing Dev Patel for Lion not sure for 5)
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12:46PM on 12/08/2016
Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.
Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea.
12:53PM on 12/08/2016
Gosling for La La Land
Gosling for La La Land
4:14PM on 12/08/2016
Machester By the Frickin' Sea for sure. Go on Golden Derby and it's the clear frontrunner to win by a landslide. I actually hope Sully doesn't get nominated, Hanks is okay but not doing anything to stretch himself in it. Seeing him get nominated in that would be like seeing Streep get nominated in almost anything -- they'd get the nom just because of who they are, not because they actually deserve it.

Who I Hope Gets Nominated

Casey Affleck - Manchester By The Sea
Nate Parker - The Birth
Machester By the Frickin' Sea for sure. Go on Golden Derby and it's the clear frontrunner to win by a landslide. I actually hope Sully doesn't get nominated, Hanks is okay but not doing anything to stretch himself in it. Seeing him get nominated in that would be like seeing Streep get nominated in almost anything -- they'd get the nom just because of who they are, not because they actually deserve it.

Who I Hope Gets Nominated

Casey Affleck - Manchester By The Sea
Nate Parker - The Birth of the Nation (It won't happen but man is the guy good in it)
Adam Driver - Patterson
Andrew Garfield - Silence
I'm torn on the last one, but probably either Denzel in Fences or Edgerton in Loving. Fences actually isn't getting that stellar of reviews so I just worry that if Denzel does get nominated it'll be a Hanks/Streep thing where he's nominated just because he's an easy pick and not because the work is actually the best of the year.
4:59PM on 12/08/2016
Completely forgot about Affleck... ya he is 100% getting a nomination.

Hanks may not make the short list for the 5, but i think he did a tremendous job, and it could make up for not being nominated for both Saving Mr. Banks and Capt Phillips
Completely forgot about Affleck... ya he is 100% getting a nomination.

Hanks may not make the short list for the 5, but i think he did a tremendous job, and it could make up for not being nominated for both Saving Mr. Banks and Capt Phillips
9:21AM on 12/08/2016
Glad to read that the film is exceptional with another solid performance from Keaton, who just keeps making his comeback that much better every new role/film he does (ie Birdman, Spotlight, The Founder, Spider Man: Homecoming, American Assassin).
Glad to read that the film is exceptional with another solid performance from Keaton, who just keeps making his comeback that much better every new role/film he does (ie Birdman, Spotlight, The Founder, Spider Man: Homecoming, American Assassin).
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11:01AM on 12/08/2016
Exceptional? Would that not be a 10 to be exceptional? I would honestly love to read reviews through your eyes and with your mind because you always pick up on things not mentioned in the reviews on this site.
Exceptional? Would that not be a 10 to be exceptional? I would honestly love to read reviews through your eyes and with your mind because you always pick up on things not mentioned in the reviews on this site.
8:37AM on 12/08/2016

I learned more working a during a summer for McDo than the rest of my profesional life...

My best summer job : hard work, team work, booze, boobs and of course BIG MACS for free !!!!!!!!
Good old days...
A friend of mine owns a few McDonalds in Ohio and he invited me at a preview of the movie. Great movie with an amazing Keaton (as usual). But I will Watch it again when release in France (28 december) cause i had some trouble to understand some accents...
8.5/10
My best summer job : hard work, team work, booze, boobs and of course BIG MACS for free !!!!!!!!
Good old days...
A friend of mine owns a few McDonalds in Ohio and he invited me at a preview of the movie. Great movie with an amazing Keaton (as usual). But I will Watch it again when release in France (28 december) cause i had some trouble to understand some accents...
8.5/10
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