The Source for Youth Ministry

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Founder, The (1/20/2017)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language.

Starring Michael Keaton, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman, Laura Dern, John Carroll Lynch and B.J. Novak

Directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks, The Blind Side, The Alamo and The Rookie)

Todd's Rating: Rental

Dynamic ImageOne man’s dream was other man’s nightmare.

The Founder is a drama that tells the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. He maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire.

The title “The Founder” is in some ways a perplexing descriptor for a biopic of Ray Kroc, the man who took the McDonald’s burger restaurant from a local favorite to a global behemoth. Truth be told, he’s not the founder of McDonald’s. But the title fits Kroc’s specific approach to success, a version of the American Dream that states, if you want something, go out and take it — even if it belongs to someone else.

Director John Lee Hancock is known more for his encouraging and uplifting films, but he shows he can handle darker, more difficult issues too.

Michael Keaton stars as Ray Kroc, a milkshake mixer salesman with big dreams and no integrity. I love Michael Keaton and for him to have me hating him by the end of this film speaks to his ability to take a role and crush it. I love his twitchy, oddball performance.

Ray is an anti-hero, but I struggled with the film’s unwillingness to clearly say that what he is doing is wrong. He is not an example; he should not be honored. And the film seems to honor greed, lying and exploiting of his fellow man.

What made this film so difficult to watch was seeing the integrity and morality of the McDonald brothers compared to Kroc’s. Nick Offerman is fantastic as the stick-in-the-mud Dick, the stronger of the two. And John Carroll Lynch is superb as his more sensitive, more trusting brother.

Kroc is a bad guy who embodies what some believe is the “American Dream” — a man who isn’t necessarily the best or most talented but who’s willing to step on anyone to get ahead. Because of that I, personally, can only go as high as a “Rental.”

There are several F-words in the film, but the bigger issue is the morality of Ray Kroc. His behavior should not be celebrated or imitated.

  1. How would you describe Ray Kroc? Why?

  2. Read Proverbs 6:12-15

      Worthless liars go around winking and giving signals to deceive others. They are always thinking up something cruel and evil, and they stir up trouble. But they will be struck by sudden disaster and left without a hope.

  3. What is the warning in this passage?

  4. How can we live our lives to avoid being without hope?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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