As soon as I saw a transit ad for The Founder, I knew I had to see it and I was right. It was fantastic. The Founder, starring Michael Keaton, focuses on the early days of McDonald’s and explains how Ray Kroc transformed a burger shack in California into an international institution. This portrayal of Ray Kroc’s life deserves to be nominated for awards and win.
Ray met the brothers behind the original McDonald’s while selling mixers. He was impressed by their story and observed that their cooking process was like “choreographing a crazy burger ballet.” After learning about their speedy system for serving fast food, which they called a “symphony of efficiency,” he convinced them to open franchises under his leadership.
He was so excited about expanding that he didn’t even negotiate a good contract when he partnered with them, but that all changed when he met Harry Sonneborn (B. J. Novak), a finance executive. Harry showed Ray how to earn more profit through real estate and the rest is history.
The evolution of fast food chains is integral to modern American history and I had to laugh when they said you could get a burger, soft drink and fries for 35 cents in 1954. From the moment Ray decided to get involved, he connected the golden arches to crosses and American flags and preached that they were symbolic of being wholesome with family values. That message was very powerful and in the end, he was rewarded for his persistence and relentless sense of optimism.
The Founder made me want to take Grinding It Out off my bookshelf and start reading it immediately so I can learn more about the story directly from Ray. If you’re looking for an inspiring biopic featuring top stars like Laura Dern, Nick Offerman and Linda Cardellini, look no further than this one.
Plus, Michael Keaton has the same birthday as me, so there’s that!