I'm back again with film suggestions for you viewing pleasure. These are movies you may have missed during their theatrical releases. This first one is a must-see for Michael Keaton fans. He gives one of his strongest performances as the man who made Big Macs popular.
Michael Keaton is at his dramatic best in THE FOUNDER (2016). He plays Ray Kroc, the struggling Southern California salesman who became one of America's most successful businessmen as head of the McDonald's corporation. Back in the 70s and 80s, Kroc was in the spotlight a lot as an American success story, a man who gave us an All-American product -- the hamburger with fries. But the story of how a guy with the last name "Kroc" gave us a franchise called "McDonald's" was always vague if not ignored completely. Why weren't we eating a "Big Kroc" instead of "Big Mac"? Well, the business started in Southern California with a burger stand owned by two men -- the McDonald Brothers. Ray is in his early 50s and not having much on the road selling milk shake machines. When Ray hits the burger stand, he notices all the teens hanging out having burgers and shakes. Ray may not be a success as a milk shake machine salesman, but he's persistent. He's quick to seize upon any opportunity that can make his dreams bigger/ The McDonald Brothers are polite, conservative men. Ray tells them to franchise. He has a vision. It's a vision they don't share. Ray is ambitious and has ideas that we like. We start to see the dark side of persistence in pursuing the American Dream. He will make his vision, his dream come true. Even if he has to be ruthless. This look inside burgers and buns is also a cautionary tale.
Directed by John Lee Hancock (THE BLIND SIDE and SAVING MR. BANKS) with an intelligent screenplay by Robert Siegel, THE FOUNDER boasts several good performance. The cast includes Laura Dern, Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch. Here's a trailer.
In her post-1940s lifetime, Lucille Ball was called "The Queen of Comedy." When I was a baby boomer kid, it was noted that I LOVE LUCY reruns aired every hour of the day somewhere in the world. For as much as she made me laugh -- and she made me laugh a lot -- my favorite Lucille Ball movie is a drama. It's a 1942 drama called THE BIG STREET. Lucy stars opposite Henry Fonda in a movie based on a short story by Damon Runyon. There's at least one character in this feature who reappears in the Broadway musical, GUYS AND DOLLS, also based on the writings of Damon Runyon.