by on September 20, 2017

in Entertainment, movie reviews

Review of THE FOUNDER, A McDonald's Story

Movie review of The Founder: Ray Kroc, from humble to arrogant to business shark! What a great film about the man who created one of the biggest, successful business models ever.

The cast includes Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the brothers (Offerman was awesome and funny in a sardonic way), Linda Cardellini, B.J. Novak, Laura Dern, Patrick Wilson and many more.

Michael Keaton movies.

The film is directed by John Lee Hancock, who has helmed such great films as Saving Mr Banks, The Blind Side (A great great film), The Alamo, & The Rookie.

Director John Lee Hancock movies.

In my youth I had been told by someone that Ray Kroc stole McDonald’s from someone, I didn’t question it but neither did I give it credence. I figured, what ever you say.

Until I watched The Founder.


“Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc (October 5, 1902 – January 14, 1984) was an American businessman. He joined then Californian chain McDonald’s in 1954 and built it into a nationwide and eventually global franchise, making it the most successful fast food corporation in the world.”

When The film starts, we follow Ray in his daily grind selling milk shake mixers. It set the tone for where Ray came from, his mindset, his perserverance.

Part of his grind was the time he spent waiting thirty minutes for his “fast food.” And then to see it sometimes being wrong. Then he gets this order for six milk shake machines. He blames his secretary for getting the order wrong and calls this client, because who in the heck needs six machines? He calls them up and inquires, and sure enough, they felt like it was a mistake to order six machines, and that they really need eight!

This intrigues Ray and he goes to California to visit this place that needs that many shake machines and sees what a brilliantl fast system that this McDonald’s has devised. He asks and the two McDonald brothers tell him everything and how they came up with the idea, the business and their ideas.

Ray asks if they tried franchising and they said they had tried, but their levels of quality weren’t being upheld. Ray suggests he can enforce their ideas and rules and to let him give it a go.

Though he couldn’t find any franchise takers, he opens his own franchise with the brothers in Des Plaines, Ill. From there, the story evolves into what we now know to be McDonald’s.

For a non-action film, it’s a riveting tale of how a man took a small business, turned it into a national franchise success and in the process, “stole” the premise of the franchise from the brothers, buying them out because they could not afford to fight him legally, then later, forcing them out of business.

You go into this film believing what a wonderfully hard working man Ray Kroc is and it does take hard work for him to figure out things and get them working. And he ends up changing the world of fast food service.

In that way, Kroc is a genius, but to see how he does it and what he does to the brothers leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You stop cheering for Kroc and yet, he’s taking this business to the next level, while destroying the McDonald’s brothers in the process.

Sure, he bought them out, but he robbed them of so much more when he didn’t hold up his end of his “handshake agreement.” Boy, did he rip them off. Had he kept his word, that handshake would have given the brothers who invented the franchise 1% of the profits, which would have been worth $100 million annually.

If you believe everything in the film.

It’s a riveting tale to follow, from beginning to end.

– – –

Some of the highlights are the phone conversations betwee Kroc and the brothers. The hangups are funny in a film so serious, they make the day.

We also learned, via an idea of Kroc’s, that McDonalds is one of the largest real estate holders in the world (we learned that they buy the land that they lease to their franchisers.) And that they feed 1% of the world’s population.

I can’t believe I had a good time watching this non-action flick. I think Keaton nailed it, and the guys that portrayed the brothers felt spot-on.   To be honest, I’d give this an 8/10 on my dramatic scale. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you go out of your way to catch this flick in any format.

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