The Founder Blu-ray Review

The performances complete the recipe 4 Stars

Michael Keaton was was largely ignored by the Academy for his role as Ray Kroc in The Founder , which was a shame, as it is probably his best performance of his career. The film is a fascinating story of how the McDonald brothers revolutionized the food industry and how one man made it a success and in the process stole it out from under them.

The Founder (2016)
Released: 20 Jan 2017
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 115 min
Director: John Lee Hancock
Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Linda Cardellini
Writer(s): Robert D. Siegel
Plot: The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.
IMDB rating: 7.2
MetaScore: 66

Disc Information
Studio: Weinstein
Distributed By: Anchor Bay
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Other
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Rating: PG-13
Run Time: 1 Hr. 55 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray eco keepcase
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 04/18/2017
MSRP: $39.99

The Production: 4/5

Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a travelling salesman, driving from one Drive-In diner to another, peddling his milkshake mixer than can make multiple milkshakes at the same time, occasionally selling one unit to a restaurant. When he receives an order for six of these machines for a restaurant in San Bernardino, California, he calls them to verify the order, and in the process they order two additional mixers, overhearing chaos in the kitchen. Intrigued, Ray makes the long drive out from the Mid-West to the Inland Empire of Southern California. He arrives at a parking lot with a long line of people standing in line outside, but the line is moving quickly. Ray places his order for a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke, and again is surprised when his order arrives only seconds later in a paper bag. He sits at a park bench,opens his bag, and is intoxicated by the smell and taste of the food. Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) is outside, greeting customers, and invites Ray inside for a tour of the restaurant. Mac’s brother, Dick (Nick Offerman), is inside running the kitchen, an efficient assembly line of grills, deep fryers, potato slicers, drink dispensers, condiment dispensers, etc. Ray cannot believe what he is seeing, and returns the next day to pitch the idea of franchising their little hamburger stand, McDonald’s. The brothers have tried before, the result a failure to stay on top of quality control and consistency at the additional locations. Ray won’t give up, almost begging them to let him run with their concept in the Mid-West. Back home, he relates his experience to his wife, Ethel (Laura Dern), and pitches the concept to his friends at the Country Club, who think of Ray as a fast-talking salesman always looking for a quick buck and heckle him about some of his previous schemes before offering to buy one of the first McDonald’s restaurants after his prototype is a success. Finding his wealthy golfing buddies untrustworthy by offering items not on the franchisee menu, Ray goes after the small businessman, and slowly begins to build his empire of restaurants. But the McDonald brothers are not happy with some of Ray’s business decisions, which they feel dilute the brand, even though Ray sees them as ways of saving money for his restaurants, which, although profitable, are not making him or the McDonald’s much money. With Ray about to face foreclosure on his home, which he used as collateral for his first restaurant, he meets Harry J. Sonneborn (B.J. Novak), who tells him the key to success is not selling hamburgers, but collecting the rent from the franchisee from the land the restaurant is sitting on. This infuriates the McDonald brothers, who eventually sell their stake and namesake to Ray, only to have Ray open a McDonald’s across the street from their original hamburger stand.

The early history of McDonald’s is a fascinating story, and director John Lee Hancock (who is no stranger to biographical dramas, with films such as Saving Mr. BanksThe Blind Side, and The Rookie on his resume) and screenwriter Robert D. Siegel tell the story with passion and humor, and the visuals that accompany Dick McDonald’s narration of how he streamlined the inner-workings of the kitchen are mesmerizing. Michael Keaton walks a very fine line from struggling traveling salesman to heroic genius to eventual villain and total jerk, but never making Ray a caricature. Both John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman as the McDonald brothers are also superb, proving that Offerman is an excellent character actor and rarely receives the credit he often deserves (he was also excellent in Me and Earl and the Dying Girl as Greg’s father). The women in Ray’s life, however, are under-written, giving Laura Dern and Linda Cardellini (as Ray’s eventual second wife, Joan) not a whole lot to work with. In fact, Joan first appears as the wife of one of Ray’s franchisees, their eyes sparkle in the two additional scenes they appear together, and at the end of the film, they are now married. The Founder skips over some events like the one just mentioned, and essentially stops at the point where Ray has taken control and purchased the company. We don’t get to see how McDonald’s became a global empire, its many successes and failures in the food industry (McDLT and Salad Shakers, anyone?), but that’s a lot of material to cram into a two hour movie.

Video: 4/5

3D Rating: NA

The Founder arrives on Blu-ray in a nice, but not necessarily dazzling, 1080p transfer compressed using the AVC codec that preserves the film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio. Captured digitally on Arri Alexa XT cameras, the image has a warm, often earthly tone to it. Colors are natural, with added saturation to the neon golden arches. Detail is quite good, particularly the brick walls of the McDonald brother’s offices and natural dirt on vehicles. Contrast is also very good, with deep blacks in the exterior night scenes at the restaurants or the dark dinner meetings at the steakhouse. This is a very clean transfer with minimal noise and compression artifacts.

Audio: 4/5

The Founder comes with a fairly standard DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, what one would expect for a drama of this type. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout, directed mostly to the center channel. Music and atmospheric effects are spread across the soundstage, providing a naturally subtle sense of immersion. LFE is used sparingly, mostly to help fill out the soundtrack’s low end.

Special Features: 2/5

Behind the Scenes Gallery (1080p; 20:10): A collection of EPK shorts that barely scratch the surface of the making of the film, including The Story Behind the StoryMichael Keaton as Ray Kroc, The McDonald Brothers, The Production Design, and Building McDonalds: Time Lapse Video.

Press Conference with Filmmakers and Cast (1080p; 37:44): Recorded in Los Angeles on January 12, 2017, the cast and crew discuss making the film.

DVD Copy

Digital HD Copy

Overall: 4/5

The title may be deceiving, as Ray Kroc was not The Founder of McDonalds (it is actually taken from what appears on his business card at the end of the film), but the movie is an entertaining and fascinating story of one of our nation’s true icons, with outstanding performances from it main leads. Audio and Video are representative of how the film may have appeared in theaters, but the extras are somewhat lacking in content.

Published by

Todd Erwin

administrator

17 Comments

  1. Steve…O

    Great review; thank you Todd.

    I loved this film in the theaters and it is a shame it got lost in the shuffle as it is very entertaining and full of great performances.

    Same here! It never played at my local cinemas, I had to drive down to Metro Detroit to see it.

  2. Mark Booth

    Excellent film! I've read that it is close enough to historically accurate to assuredly proclaim that Ray Kroc was an a$$hole.

    Mark

    When it comes to business empire builders, your a$$hole comment reminds me of the following lines in Casablanca:

    "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here"

    "your winnings sir"

    "oh, thank you very much"

    😀

  3. Watched this film a couple of days ago. The film was good. Unfortunately, the film's subject really rankled me. Ray Cock was just a complete P.O.S. I really can't stand assholes who steal someone's work and claim it as their own. I don't frequent McDonalds very much. I have probably been in one about five times in my life. After this film, it will be zero going forward.

  4. Edwin,

    Felt the same way about Crock when I recently watched the film. But, really, the man is dead and boycotting his restaurants isn't going to make a difference unless, of course, it's just for personal satisfaction.

    I rarely eat McDonalds anyway.

  5. Edwin-S

    Watched this film a couple of days ago. The film was good. Unfortunately, the film's subject really rankled me. Ray Cock was just a complete P.O.S. I really can't stand assholes who steal someone's work and claim it as their own. I don't frequent McDonalds very much. I have probably been in one about five times in my life. After this film, it will be zero going forward.

    "Ray Cock"? I think you watched the wrong movie! 😀

  6. Ronald Epstein

    Edwin,

    Felt the same way about Crock when I recently watched the film. But, really, the man is dead and boycotting his restaurants isn't going to make a difference unless, of course, it's just for personal satisfaction.

    I rarely eat McDonalds anyway.

    Yeah. I have to admit that was an over reaction to my dislike of the man. Boycotting is useless. It's not like he would know anyway. 😆
    What is incredible about the film is that you actually start out feeling for the guy with the constant rejection he faces. But, by the end, Wow. I'll have to say Michael Keaton did a bang-up job of acting in making a person really despise a guy that one never personally knew or had dealings with.

    Colin Jacobson

    "Ray Cock"? I think you watched the wrong movie! 😀

    I'm not so sure. By the end, Kroc had screwed so many people that, maybe, it really was a porn movie. 😉

  7. I fully enjoyed the movie. After seeing it I feel that Keaton was *robbed* of an Oscar nomination.

    BTW, while it was criminal that the McDonald brothers were robbed of their royalties it should be pointed out that:

    * 2.7 million up front money in 1961 was a *lot*; especially considering that Kroc still had less than 100 franchises operating on the newly-instigated lease agreements at the time. It’s the equivalent of 22 million today. It was really a huge risk at that point in the growth of the company.

    * According to Kroc's relatives, he was enraged that at the closing the brothers stipulated that he would *not* be acquiring the original location as part of the deal. They stated that that was the main reason he later reneged on the handshake portion of the agreement. (This was not depicted in the movie, but does account for Kroc building a new McDonalds a block from the original, which was depicted in the movie.)

    * There's no excuse for the brothers agreeing to a handshake agreement for such an important part of the deal. As soon as it was evident that both parties were displeased with the proceedings at the closing, a cooling off period was in order.

    In the end Kroc was an S.O.B; there is no disputing that. Most successful businessmen are. What is astonishing is that he acquired this trait in his mid-fifties when most people are locked-in and coasting toward retirement. And it was a real tribute to Michael Keaton that he was able to adequately portray that in the movie.

  8. Joseph Bolus

    In the end Kroc was an S.O.B; there is no disputing that. Most successful businessmen are. What is astonishing is that he acquired this trait in his mid-fifties when most people are locked-in and coasting toward retirement. And it was a real tribute to Michael Keaton that he was able to adequately portray that in the movie.

    As I stated earlier in this thread. Just about all builders of huge business empires have that same S.O.B. trait. From John Rockefeller to Mark Zuckerberg they are ruthless in business dealings. There's a line relating to that in this film when Kroc is talking to one of the McDonald brothers.

  9. Mark Knopfler did the story in song several years back…I present Boom Like That…

    I'm going to San bernardino ring-a-ding-ding
    Milkshake mixers that's my thing, now
    These guys bought a heap of my stuff
    And I gotta see a good thing sure enough, now
    Or my name's not kroc that's kroc with a 'k'
    Like 'crocodile' but not spelled that way, yeah
    It's dog eat dog rat eat rat
    Kroc-style boom, like that
    The folks line up all down the street
    And I'm seeing this girl devour her meat, now
    And then I get it, wham as clear as day
    My pulse begins to hammer and I hear a voice say
    These boys have got this down
    Oughtta be a one of these in every town
    These boys have got the touch
    It's clean as a whistle and it don't cost much
    Wham, bam you don't wait long
    Shake, fries patty, you're gone
    And how about that friendly name?
    Heck, every little thing oughtta stay the same
    Or my name's not kroc that's kroc with a 'k'
    Like 'crocodile' but not spelled that way, now
    It's dog eat dog rat eat rat
    Kroc-style boom, like that
    You gentlemen ought to expand
    You're going to need a helping hand, now
    So, gentlemen well, what about me?
    We'll make a little business history, now
    Or my name's not kroc call me ray
    Like 'crocodile' but not spelled that way, now
    It's dog eat dog rat eat rat
    Kroc-style boom, like that
    Well we build it up and I buy 'em out
    But, man they made me grind it out, now
    They open up a new place flipping meat
    So I do, too right across the street
    I got the name I need the town
    They sell up in the end and it all shuts down>
    Sometimes you gotta be an s.o.b.
    You want to make a dream reality
    Competition? send 'em south
    If they're gonna drown
    Put a hose in their mouth
    Do not pass 'go' go straight to hell
    I smell that meat hook smell
    Or my name's not kroc that's kroc with a 'k'
    Like 'crocodile' but not spelled that way, now
    It's dog eat dog rat eat rat
    Kroc-style boom, like that

    Written by Mark Knopfler • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

  10. Pingback: URL
  11. Pingback: sccn.bkn

Leave a Reply