The Founder is one of those movies that comes along silently, without much promotion, that sort of sneaks up on you. The name itself is nothing special, but when you put “the founder” in front of those magnificent gold arches over a red background… you have the attention of America. 99% of the country has eaten McDonalds at least once in their life, and the other 1% were just born within the past year and haven’t had the chance yet. Those are real numbers which I created just now… I’m pretty sure they’re accurate.

Creating a movie about McDonalds is a brilliant move because it’s something everyone can relate to,  but our familiarity with the company only gets them so far.  There has to be a great story to back it up… how could someone possibly make an interesting movie about making cheap hamburgers? Simple: tell the story of the ruthless takeover and explain how a guy named Ray Kroc became the guy who “founded” a restaurant named McDonalds. It’s pretty awesome. It might be the most AMERICA! movie I’ve ever seen.

SPOILERS, in random notes:

  • Ray Kroc is an asshole, a piece of shit, a terrible and selfish person, but he has all of my respect. He didn’t create anything, he didn’t even have an original idea. He used everyone around him and capitalized on opportunity.
  • It’s a funny thing, you’d assume a movie that portrayed McDonald’s origins in such a sad and ruthless way would make me second-guess my decision to eat there and go to one of the other major fast food chains…. wrong. After watching this all I could think of was eating one of those cheap dollar menu cheeseburgers. In fact, that has become my go-to order, replacing the big mac. Why? I have no idea but those little cheeseburgers are incredible.
  • You can feel bad for the McDonalds brothers but the truth is they screwed up. They had plenty of opportunity to cut ties with this guy, and if they were so hesitant to creating a franchise why would they trust a traveling milkshake salesman in the first place… thats CRAZY.
  • Ray Kroc was in breach of contract, but threatened to tie everything up in legal fees if the brothers attempted to do anything, and instead wrote them a $1,000,000 check to go away.  This was the 1960’s… why wouldn’t the McDonald’s brothers recognize they lost and instead of giving the guy who screwed them the keys to their franchise go find Mr. Burger King and offer their 2/3 ownership to them in return for legal fees to put Ray Kroc in the fucking ground?  They were all done anyways, why not go out swinging. GAWD.
  • If the brothers had only listened to Kroc maybe this would have all worked out differently. He didn’t have crazy ideas at first, but yeah building a restaurant in the mid-west would require a furnace. Wake up and let him change the plans to facilitate a very real necessity unless you want your employees to freeze in February.
  • Divorcing his wife like that was awful. So casual. She stuck around when he was a traveling salesman and a piece of shit, its only right that she benefitted from him being a rich piece of shit. Just rude.
  • If somebody storms onto a golf course to yell at me and shake a hamburger in my face they’re getting a 9 iron to the chest. Be an adult and wait for me in the clubhouse Ray.

This movie is gold. I need to take points away for a lack of development between Ray and his first wife’s divorce, and also for glossing over some of the gritty business details. I understand they needed to fit a ton into a 2 hour movie, but I find it hard to believe Ray got rich off listening to some guy he met in a bank for 5 minutes. “buy the land” ok yeah that’s brilliant but please explain more. Also I was really hoping for some early sketches of the hamburgler or Ronald McDonald at some point but they never came.

Critics rating: 90%
Entertainment score: 4.8 popcorns