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Netflix Pick: Burger and Lies in ‘The Founder’ (2016)

Today's pick is a biographical drama starring Michael Keaton.

The Founder is a 2016 biographical drama a salesman who turned two brothers’ innovative fast food eatery, McDonald’s, into the biggest restaurant business in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence and ruthlessness.

Today’s Netflix Pick is a highly-entertaining bio-pic that goes deep behind the scenes of the hamburger giant’s history. Starring Michael Keaton, the film may not have the greatest of titles and only came up even at the box office, but was praised for its lead performance, one that makes the whole thing worth seeing. It’s The Founder and it’s what you’re watching tonight. Here’s why.

THE STORY: Directed by John Lee Hancock, the story centers on Ray Kroc (Keaton), hawking his milkshake machines out of the trunk of his car, slowly becoming despondent over the state of the American diner. That is until he makes his way to San Bernardino, California where a small family place called McDonald’s is requesting a big order and has enthusiastic customers lining up for its for inexpensive food. He meets Mac (John Carroll Lynch) and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman), brothers who have completely reinvented the concept, creating a kind of assembly line mentality that turned a thirty-minute wait time for drive-in burger joints into an astonishing 30 seconds. Ray is shocked at the efficiency and quality and he wants in, so he makes a deal with the brothers to franchise, despite their hesitations. This sets up a combative relationship that leads Ray to look for a way to go on his own to reach his real vision for the future of their name.

The Founder
The Founder, 2016 © FilmNation Entertainment

WHY YOU NEED TO WATCH: If even you don’t eat at McDonald’s you more than likely have at least one in your hometown, its presence so common, it’s like a beacon of comfort. Getting to know the story of how it all started makes for a fascination watch, even if it embellishes here and there. This is all about the characters and Keaton is spot-on as the driven Kroc, refusing to believe his idea isn’t going to work. It’s a pretty compelling performance, and one of many good ones in the movie. The movie isn’t terribly realistic, playing out more like a fable, but is nonetheless great fun to watch. It’s streaming on Netflix right now.