(Photo Credit: Weinstein Co.)
Fast Food Version of ‘The Social Network’
Villains sell movies and television shows, period, point blank.
The storyline in “The Founder” has seen the big screen in many forms before like in “The Social Network,” which told the story of the founding of Facebook. But, “The Founder” is basically the same story in the world of fast food restaurant chains.
Despite the derivative nature of “The Founder,” the film is still charming, cutthroat and anger inducing simultaneously, with Michael Keaton’s (“Batman”) brilliant performance producing all of the aforementioned emotions.
In “The Founder,” Keaton is the somewhat successful, but professionally unfulfilled salesperson Ray Kroc.
Ray drives throughout the Midwest in 1954 selling milkshake spindles to fast food joints.
He is very persuasive as a salesperson, but is virtually unable to sell his spindles that allow fast food joints to make multiple milkshakes at one time, which will allow them to make more money.
However, when a burger joint in San Bernardino, Calif. orders eight spindles at one time, Ray makes a cross country trip on Route 66 to see what type of fast food restaurant is doing enough business to require multiple spindles.
What Ray finds on the West Coast is the best inexpensive burgers (15 cents) and French fries in the world, the fastest service (30 seconds) and the longest lines he has ever seen.
Ray desperately wants to partner with the creators of McDonald’s, brothers Dick (Nick Offerman, “Fargo”) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch, “Jackie”). However, the McDonald brothers are leery about the idea of creating a McDonald’s chain.
The brothers tried the chain idea in the past, but could not maintain quality control with so many franchisees running their brand.
Mac and Dick create an ironclad contract between themselves and Ray, which will protect them from any funny business from their partner.
However, contracts are meant to be broken and businessmen are meant to be untrustworthy.
Although “The Founder” is cliché, the wolf in sheep’s clothing-like performance by Keaton helps it succeed.
Offerman and Lynch’s performances are great as well in a charming and naïve kind of way.
And Linda Cardellini’s (“Bloodline”) performance as Joan Smith is seductive and typical of rags to riches stories of betrayal and heartbreak.
Although “The Founder” is definitely good, the lack of uniqueness of the film stops it from being excellent or a classic.
The storyline is something typical of films centered on titans of the business world.
Nevertheless, the film definitely has nothing wrong with it from a script with good comedic timing to the brilliant performances by the actors.
Films like “The Founders” succeed because the message is timeless and universal.
In business and in life, no one deserves one’s full trust.
Placing trust in the wrong people usually results in catastrophic conclusions.
The key is to know who the villain is and keep an eye on that person at all times because in business one has to get in bed with unsavory characters.
But getting in bed does not have to mean you sleep on someone’s true intentions because if one falls asleep, villains will turn dreams into a nightmare very quickly.