The good news is I was able to fulfill part of my ‘Christmas gift to Dad’ promise by taking him out for a movie. And my Dad was entertained by the automobiles of the 1950’s he could name by make and model.
And the bad news is:
There’s a great comedic way that Fred Willard says, “What Happened?” in one of Christopher Guest’s masterpieces that I was reminded of after seeing the name of the screenwriter for the film “The Founder”, the Ray Kroc story. I mean, Robert Siegel? You were the man who thrilled me with ‘The Wrestler’ and ‘Big Fan’? Forget about it (meaning FANTASTIC!). So, what happened?
Here’s my guess. I bet Ray Kroc’s estate refused to let him add certain aspects of Ray’s life (for instance, he was married three times in real life, but only wife 1 and 2 are ever mentioned).
Only a person buying a fast food franchise would care about the first three quarters of the this film. You can tell where they decided to edit and add filler (hey just like the hamburgers!) like why we needed 10 minutes on the ketchup and mustard squirt process or another 10 of Michael Keaton gnashing his teeth, hotel bedside about his sad financial state. I wanted to scream out, ‘GOT IT’ several times. This was a slow food film about the fast food industry.
The last quarter of the film finally breaks into a stride, where we see a ruthless Ray Kroc who doesn’t mind trampling on a few underlings (notably the McDonald brothers) in order to climb is mountain of golden arches.
There is a more interesting story here (whether it be the wife stealing Ray did with Joan who according to the movie, was married to a franchisee and had cost saving ideas of her own-non refrigerated milk shake mix). Or perhaps Ray’s drinking which seemed to be an ongoing habit at least. Or even when they put drive thru windows in….But alas, that film was not written or at least not allowed to be acted on screen.
You almost feel sorry for Michael Keaton who can do so much more. Let’s hope his next role can be more Birdman like, perhaps Colonel Sanders? Get it, Birdman, KFC…ok…