Thursday, February 2, 2017

Movies: One New, One Old

While on vacation in Disney World last week, we did take an afternoon (the weather was dicey at the time) to see a movie at Disney Springs.  It was the new Michael Keaton movie, "The Founder."

This is the story of the founder of the McDonald's fast food empire, Ray Kroc.   This movie was heavily promoted in trailers at theaters all last summer, and it seemed that there would be Oscar buzz for both the movie and for the star, Keaton, but somewhere along the way, the studio seemed to back off from the hype and delayed release until after the first of the year.

The movie tells the story if itinerant salesman Ray Kroc, who in the mid-1950's stumbles across a small hamburger restaurant in southern California run by two brothers, the McDonald brothers, that had developed a system for preparing food quickly and inexpensively.  Kroc strikes a deal to go into a partnership with the brothers, franchises the restaurants, develops a fast food empire, and becomes a multi-multi-millionaire in the process.  Oh, yeah, he squeezes out the McDonald brothers and fleeces them in the process.  And dumps his loyal wife for a younger woman.  Turns out that Kroc, while he may have been a slick salesman and a smart business man, he wasn't a very nice guy.

From what I can tell from cursory research, "The Founder" is fairly accurate in its depiction of both Kroc and the story of McDonald's, but it is a movie, not a documentary, so who really knows what license may have been taken by the film makers here.   I would give this movie two and one-half stars, and say that it is worth seeing, if for no other reason than to see Michael Keaton give yet another terrific performance.


Right before we left on our vacation, we saw the 1952 classic, "Singin' In The Rain" on a big screen as part of the TCM/Fathom Events series.  Video streaming, giant HDTV's, and Blue-ray discs are great, but nothing beats the experience of seeing a movie  in a theater on a Big Screen.  Thanks to TCM and Fathom Events for providing this service.

I have written often about "Singin' In The Rain" in this space over the years, and I won't do it again right now, except to say that this is just a remarkable and fun movie that everyone needs to see.  It seems like many agree because when we went to a Wednesday night performance, the theater was probably 80% filled for the showing, easily the biggest crowd we have been in for any of the TCM/Fathom series.   I suspect that the recent death of Debbie Reynolds and the spotlight that it put on her career had a lot to do with that.  As I was leaving the movie, I saw a young girl, probably only 9 or 10 years old there with her parents.  I asked her if she had enjoyed the movie, and she said "Of course!", and she was most definite about it. 

Great movies never get old, and "Singin' In The Rain", now sixty-five years young is as fresh and funny and entertaining as ever.   

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