Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Title: The Founder Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 115 mins
With: three classes of bored sophomores
What's it about? Two pickles, diced onions and the got-damned United States of America. Well, that and the equally (and immorally) delicious tale of Ray Croc, the man who founded McDonald's in the same way Columbus discovered America. Part-time husband, full-time hustler, Croc turns what was a (not his) family burger business into a global empire. So global in fact, that according to the film, Mickey D's feeds 1% of the world's population every single day.
What works: Keaton is awesome as always, making Croc genuinely human...initially (by the end he's the T-1000 made out of special sauce). The rest of the cast are all charming as well, with Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch (as the McDonald brothers) deserving any and all praise (unless they got shafted, like their real-life counterparts). The film, set in the world of 50's old white-man business, moves along at a pleasantly brisk pace, routinely dropping factual nuggets of McDonald's lore along the way.
What doesn't: I know it's a thankless role, but Dern is pretty much stuck on the moment the vet says that there's nothing that they can do for Mr. Whiskers. More pressing/hurtful, is the fact that some of the larger details seemed to be exaggerated for effect. It feels like we honestly have enough here, and any tweaks to the truth is just piling on.
Yays: Ah, the 50's. I know, racist and horrible, right, but there is a slight bit of old America that could be mistaken for...charming? Just me, then? Say what you want about Croc, but there are some top-level chess moves here, you gotta admit. That tennis court rough-draft scene was awesome (and hopefully based on some level of truth). I think the line "Oh, that's some pure Dick magic" is low-key one of the funniest things I've ever heard (or read, as the subtitles were on for the students [to snicker at]). Speaking of Dick, ahem, he might be portrayed as the wettest of wet of blankets, but the guy had standards and wanted to do things the right way. Buttoned up? Sure. But also pretty damn honorable, too (and honestly, every McDonald's ever could use a little ship-tightening, you know?).
Boos: So, McDonald's invented the landfill, too - got it. Killing the drive-in was necessary, but can't say I wouldn't like it if a few more were still around (scratch that - I hate eating in the car - HATE-HATE). Unintentionally hilarious, but I've never seen a divorce sequence delivered so brutally. They could put that scene as a finishing move in Mortal Kombat 9000 and no one would ever bother it's so vicious. Whoever Patrick Wilson played got done dirty, which seems to be a Wilson hallmark. Oh, and whoever BJ Novak played...uh, we might need a bit more info about that guy, damn. And finally, I don't know if Ray is a true villain, but that final move was pretty hardcore. Yikes.
Two Yutes: I showed this in my Economics class, and at peak moments, I probably only had two or three people even looking at the screen at any given time. My face upon this realization? Grimace.