the founder cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Today on Bluray/DVD and Digital HD from director John Lee Hancock, the Weinstein Company and Anchor Bay Entertainment is the story behind McDonald’s with THE FOUNDER.

It is 1954 and Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a man who is always on the move with his supply business. Working for Prince Castle who made five-spindle shake makers, he sold them one at a time to restaurants. He was surprised to receive a telephone call from Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) ordering several of the machines.

Living with wife Ethel (Laura Dern) in a beautiful home in Arlington Heights, Illinois, Kroc is always looking for the next big thing to keep their lifestyle. Always on the road, he becomes more and more irritated with the drive-in burger experience.

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Still intrigued by the telephone call for more than one of the machines, Kroc goes to see what restaurant needs more than one! He arrives in San Bernardino, California to see something stunning. People lining up to get a McDonald’s hamburger, fries and a coke, Kroc loves the food.

He introduces himself to Dick and Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) and they give him a tour of their hamburger assembly line process, quality produce and service. Kroc knows that this is a business he wants to be part of and convinces the brothers to go into partnership with Kroc franchising out to others.

Rollie Smith (Patrick Wilson) and wife Joan (Linda Cardellini) show interest in the business and he shows interest in Joan. Finding a boom in the franchising of McDonald’s, Kroc is constantly being stopped by the brothers in making any changes per their contract. If that isn’t enough, Ethel is alone more than with her husband.

Kroc wants to make McDonald’s iconic and without the brothers so with the help of Harry Sonneborn (B.J. Novak). His new company, Franchise Realty Corporation, begins the takeover of land that any McDonald’s is on. Changing the name to The McDonald’s Corporation, he buys out the brothers which includes the name and takes a new wife.

McDonald’s is now a part of the American landscape!

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Keaton as Kroc is stunning in this role. He has this amazing ability to hook me into watching every character he has ever portrayed and the role of Kroc is no exception. I love the way he turns a phrase and gives this character charm – even when I really didn’t want to like Kroc.

Offerman as Nick plays a man who is clear about his business goals. Knowing that the idea of McDonald’s was something special, he does try his damnedest to keep Kroc in line. It’s when things get out of control that Offerman gives us a look at a man who believed in something and someone only to be taken advantage of. Lynch as brother Mac is the brother who absolutely breaks my heart. He wants to believe that expanding would mean so much and was hit the hardest when it turned on them both. Lynch is one of my favorite actors because he can play both the villain and an endearing character and make it look easy.

Dern as Ethel is a woman who is the perfect housewife taking care of Ray when he is home. Supporting every endeavor he takes on means she also comes in second in every endeavor he takes on. Cardellini as Joan is a subtle character who is beautiful, talented, smart and believes in Kroc.

Wilson as Rollie wants to be part of the McDonald’s franchise and offers suggestions. Having his own restaurant, Rollie believes he has a lot to offer Kroc. Novak as Sonneborn is the key to changing everything in the initial deal with the McDonald brothers and it is brilliant actually. Novak is the level headed character in the film while everyone else is shouting and outraged.

Other cast includes Justin Brooke as Fred Turner, Kate Kneeland as June Martino, Griff Furst as Jim Zien, Wilbur Fitzgerald as Jerry Cullen, David de Vriest as Jack Horford, Andrew Benator as Leonard Rosenblatt, and Cara Mantella as Myra Rosenblatt.

The Weinstein Company is the film studio founded by Bob and Harvey Weinstein founded in 1979. Since 2005, TWC has released such films as VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA, THE READER, INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, THE KING’S SPEECH, THE ARTIST, DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE HATEFUL EIGHT. The Weinstein’s have received 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.

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Anchor Bay brings amazing entertainment to those extending their media library and is also celebrating their 20th Anniversary. From theatrical to home release, Anchor Bay brings STARZ Original series, AMC Network series, The Weinstein Company, Radius, children’s entertainment, fitness, and sports to fans. To discover more of what Anchor Bay Entertainment has to offer, please visit www.anchorbayent.com.

THE FOUNDER is such an interesting look at a place known all over the world. I remember my first McDonald’s visit when I was five when the outside was red and white with the big arches on either side of the building.

The one thing that I and others never thought about was the story behind those golden arches. This film is a double edge sword in that it’s a history I want to know but one that I’m surprised to learn. The McDonald brothers are portrayed as two men who have a grand idea and it works for them in a fantastic way.

That is until Ray Kroc comes in and although I understand his excitement, I was very upset in a way about how he went about it all. Does that mean I’ll never eat a McDonald’s French fry ever again – hardly.

Keaton puts his stamp on this role and along with Offerman and Lynch, THE FOUNDER is a film I highly recommend. The cinematography, costumes and sets are amazing and brought me back to that era with ease. This is a story that is well done by writer Robert D. Siegel who is also known for the 2008 film THE WRESTLER.

The Bluray includes the Special Features of a Behind-the-Scenes Gallery Featurette and Press Conferences. The Digital HD allows viewing from your television, computer, tablet and Smartphone.

In the end – risk taker, rule breaker and game changer!

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