When I first heard of “The Founder,” I was immediately reminded of recent films of the same genre.
“The Social Network” is a movie that I can go back to and watch many times and still enjoy. Even “Steve Jobs,” a movie that was not quite as praised, still found its place as a solid, interesting, “inspired by real events” drama.
“The Founder” also found a spot to land on this spectrum, but was more of a crash landing into boredom and annoyance.
It tells the story of how one of the biggest food chains in the world became just that.
Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) is a salesman who stumbles on brothers Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) after making a sale to them.
From there, Kroc finds out about a new type of restaurant the McDonalds had invented. Kroc decides to go into business with them, franchising their small restaurant to the rest of the country.
Having conflicts come up in a film is a critical part of any narrative. Conflicts arise and resolution follows most of the time.
In “The Founder,” conflict keeps coming, but we never actually get any resolution; it kind of just goes away in the very next scene as if it was a TV sitcom.
For example, I was watching “Malcolm in the Middle” after finishing the movie. There was a scene in which one of the main characters had all the hair on his body shaved off, including his eyebrows.
As the next episode started, all his hair was back to normal length, even though it was supposed to be just a few days later.
What I’m trying to get at is the conflict resolution was somehow, quite similar.
There was a part in the film that seemed like a real problem; one of the chains started getting away from the traditional model of McDonald's and started selling fried chicken and corn.
The restaurant was also a mess and attracted a less-than-desirable crowd that the chain was not used to.
This was a huge issue for a whole five minutes until we never heard about it again. The film carried on as if nothing was wrong.
It might sound like I’m overreacting to something like this, but it seemed like scene after scene this was happening; huge conflict would be introduced, then disappear in the next scene.
It felt like I was watching a cold open for a TV show.
“The Founder” just felt like Michael Keaton driving across the country, not really doing anything the entire movie, just filling time with montage after montage.
But besides being completely boring and often annoying, there are some bright spots in the film.
Michael Keaton shows he is still at the top of his career and I thoroughly enjoyed the McDonald brothers played by Offerman and Carroll Lynch.
I felt the pain of the brothers, while they deal with Kroc trying to steal their business; they were a shining pair in an otherwise poor film.
“The Founder” could have been something special.
The story of how McDonald's became the juggernaut of fast food chains sounds like an interesting story.
Unfortunately, a boring script that tried to pack too much in makes “The Founder” a forgettable experience in a competitive genre.
Gabriel Hypes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.