Movies to See Right Now

TRUMAN

TRUMAN

Recommended movies to see in theaters this week:

  • The gentle and insightful end-of-life drama Truman. Often funny, it’s a weeper that is never maudlin. One of the best movies of the year.  Hard to find, but worth it.
  • The droll dark comedy Radio Dreams explores the ambivalence of the immigrant experience through the portrait of a flamboyant misfit, a man who rides the roller coaster of megalomania and despair. Radio Dreams opens today for a one-week-only run at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.
  • The Lost City of Z, a thoughtful and beautifully cinematic revival of the adventure epic genre.
  • In Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, writer-director Joseph Cedar and his star Richard Gere combine to create the unforgettable character of Norman Oppenheimer, a Jewish Willy Loman who finally gets his chance to sits with the Movers and Shakers. This may be Gere’s best movie performance ever.
  • The Dinner is an emotional potboiler that showcases Richard Gere, Laura Linney Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall.
  • Free Fire is a witty and fun shoot ’em up.
  • Their Finest is an appealing, middling period drama set during the London Blitz.
TRUMAN

TRUMAN

And movies to avoid:

  • A Quiet Passion, a miserably evocative portrait of a miserable Emily Dickinson.
  • I found the predictable Armenian Genocide drama The Promise to be a colossal waste of Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.

My DVD/Stream of the week is the historical Feel Good Hidden Figures, which tells the hitherto generally unknown story of some African-American women whose math wizardry was key to the success of the US space program in the early 1960s. The audience at my screening burst into applause, which doesn’t happen that often. Hidden Figures is available on DVD from Netflix and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

On May 23, Turner Classic Movies will air two great, great, great Westerns: John Ford’s classic The Searchers with John Wayne and a much less famous film, Sydney Pollack’s under recognized 1972 masterpiece Jeremiah Johnson, which features a brilliantly understated but compelling performance by Robert Redford. If you want to understand why Redford is a movie star, watch this movie. Give lots of credit to Pollack – it’s only 108 minutes long, and today’s filmmakers would bloat this epic tale by 40 minutes longer.

Then on May 25, there is a real curiosity on TCM, the 1933 anti-war movie Men Must Fight, which predicts many aspects World War II with unsettling accuracy. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a trip.

Also on May 25, TCM brings us another two movies from my list of Least Convincing Movie MonstersThe Killer Shrews and The Wasp Woman.

Robert Redford in JEREMIAH JOHNSON

Robert Redford in JEREMIAH JOHNSON

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RADIO DREAMS: stranger in a strange and funny land

RADIO DREAMS

RADIO DREAMS

The droll dark comedy Radio Dreams explores the ambivalence of the immigrant experience through the portrait of a flamboyant misfit, a man who rides the roller coaster of megalomania and despair. That misfit is Hamid Royani (Mohsen Namjoo), the director of programming at an Iranian radio station in the San Francisco Bay Area. Radio Dreams opens tomorrow for a one-week-only run at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

Hamid, an author in Iran, is a man of great certainty, with an unwavering sense of intellectual superiority He assumes that everyone should – and will – buy in to his idiosyncratic taste. This results in extremely random radio programming, and Hamid tries to sabotage everything that he finds vulgar (which is everything that might bring more listeners and revenue to the station.)

With his wild mane and indulgent programming, we first think that Hamid is simply batty. But immigrants to the US generally forge new identities, and we come to understand that Hamid has not, perhaps will not, forge that new identity. His despair is real but it’s hard to empathize with – he might be a legitimate literary figure in Iran, but he’s probably a pompous ass over there, too.

The highlight of Radio Dreams is Hamid’s reaction when he is surprised that Miss Iran USA, whom he has dismissed as a bimbo, might have literary chops that rivaling his.

Hamid has concocted a plan to have Afghanistan’s first rock band visit with the members of Metallica on air, and that’s the movie’s MacGuffin. As we wait to see if Metallica will really show up, the foibles of the radio station crew dot Radio Dreams with moments of absurdity. There are the cheesy commercials about unwanted body hair, Hamid’s obsession with hand sanitizer, a radio jungle played live on keyboards EVERY time, a new employee orientation that focuses on international time zones, along with a station intern compelled to take wrestling lessons.

Writer-director Babak Jalali is an adept storyteller. As the movie opens, we are wondering, why do these guys have musical instruments? Why are they talking about Metallica? What’s with the ON AIR sign? Much of the movie unfolds before Hamid Royani emerges as the centerpiece character.

Hamid is played by the well-known Iranian singer-songwriter Mohsen Namjoo, “Iran’s Bob Dylan”. This is only Namjoo’s second feature film as an actor. He’s a compelling figure, and this is a very fine performance.

Except for Namjoo, the cast is made up of Bay Area actors. Masters of the implacable and the stone face, all of the actors do deadpan really, really well.

As befits the mix of reality and absurdism, here’s a podcast by the characters in Radio Dreams. I saw Radio Dreams at the Camera Cinema Club, and Babak Jalali took Q&A after the screening by phone from Belgium.

Radio Dreams is the second feature for Jalali, an Iranian-born filmmaker living and working in Europe. He shot Radio Dreams with a small crew over only 24 days in San Francisco. About 60% of the dialogue was scripted and 40% improvised. The band in the movie, Kabul Dreams, really is Afghanistan’s first rock band, they did get to meet Metallica in real life and the PARS-FM were filmed at a real Iranian radio station in the Bay Area.

Babak Jalali is a promising filmmaker and Radio Dreams is a movie that we haven’t seen before.

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DVD/Stream of the Week: HIDDEN FIGURES – Woman Power, Black Power, Brain Power

Taraji P. Henson in HIDDEN FIGURES

Taraji P. Henson in HIDDEN FIGURES

Hidden Figures tells the hitherto generally unknown story of some African-American women whose math wizardry was key to the success of the US space program in the early 1960s. It’s pretty rare that someone can make a historical movie about something I had never heard of, but here we are. The screenplay is based on real events, and we see the images of the real thee women at the end of the movie. It’s a good story.

I had forgotten that engineers used to do even the complicated calculations by hand. Indeed, lots of aeronautical engineering calculations were needed to send the first NASA astronauts into space, and this was before the government used mainframe computers, let alone handheld calculators. So the answer was to have, for every room of (all male) engineers, a room full of women with the job title of “Computer” to do and check the math problems.

Hidden Figures’ heroines, including an authentic math prodigy and pioneer in computer programming, are perfectly played by Taraji P. Henson, Olivia Spencer and Janelle Monae (fresh from another acting triumph this fall in Moonlight). Remember that these women had to overcome the automatic sexism of the Mad Men era. On top of that, they were black women working in still-segregated Virginia. And, just to make things even more difficult, they were working for engineers, too!

The entire cast is excellent, especially Mahershala Ali (hunky and compelling yet again), Kevin Costner and Jim Parsons as a particular officious and sexist foil.

We see one of the first massive, room-filling but delicate IBM mainframe computers. That, calling people “computers” and the use of the programming language FORTRAN all drew chuckles from the Silicon Valley audience at my screening.

Hidden Figures does an especially fine job in depicting the tension during John Glenn’s communications blackout. Glenn’s space capsule had a problem with the heat shield. When it re-entered the atmosphere, there was a period of a few minutes when Glenn’s communications went dead. During this time (and I remember it well), everyone on the planet was watching on TV and no one knew whether the craft and Glenn were being consumed by a fireball or on the way to a successful splashdown. Those moments were unbearable.

Hidden Figures is eminently watchable, but not a perfect movie. There are some obviously over-dramatized and over-simplified segments. I thought I heard a character – in this movie about math whizzes – refer to “an altitude of 116 miles per hour” (which should be either an altitude of 116 miles or a velocity of 116 miles per hour). And John Glenn has hair even though, in real life, he was balding at the time (perform a Google Image search for “john glenn mercury 7” if you want to see for yourself).

But those flaws don’t detract from the core story, which is compelling. The audience at my screening burst into applause, which doesn’t happen that often. Hidden Figures is available on DVD from Netflix and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

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Movies to See Right Now

Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

Recommended movies to see in theaters this week:

  • The gentle and insightful end-of-life drama Truman. Often funny, it’s a weeper that is never maudlin. One of the best movies of the year.  Hard to find, but worth it.
  • The Lost City of Z, a thoughtful and beautifully cinematic revival of the adventure epic genre.
  • In Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, writer-director Joseph Cedar and his star Richard Gere combine to create the unforgettable character of Norman Oppenheimer, a Jewish Willy Loman who finally gets his chance to sits with the Movers and Shakers. This may be Gere’s best movie performance ever.
  • The Dinner is an emotional potboiler that showcases Richard Gere, Laura Linney Steve Coogan and Rebecca Hall.
  • Free Fire is a witty and fun shoot ’em up.
  • Their Finest is an appealing, middling period drama set during the London Blitz.
TRUMAN

TRUMAN

And movies to avoid:

  • A Quiet Passion, a miserably evocative portrait of a miserable Emily Dickinson.
  • I found the predictable Armenian Genocide drama The Promise to be a colossal waste of Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.

My DVD/Stream of the Week is the emotionally affecting drama Lion, one of the top crowd pleasers of 2016.  When The Wife and I saw Lion, pretty much the entire audience was choked up. Stay all the way through the end credits for even more tears. Lion is available on DVD from Netflix and Redbox and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

What’s coming up this week on Turner Classic Movies? To start with, tonight TCM broadcasts the iconic generational comedy The Graduate AND my choice for the funniest movie of all time, The Producers.

On May 15, TCM will air the film that launched the Coen Brothers (Ethan and Joel), their first feature Blood Simple. Since their debut, the Coens have gone on to win Oscars for Fargo and No Country for Old Men, and their True Grit and the very, very underrated A Serious Man are just as good. Along the way, they also gave us the unforgettable The Big Lebowski.

It all started with their highly original neo-noir Blood Simple. It’s dark, it’s funny and damned entertaining. The highlight is the singular performance by veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh as a Stetson-topped gunsel. Blood Simple was also the breakthrough performance for Frances McDormand. The suspenseful finale, when Walsh is methodically hunting down McDormand, is brilliant.

BLOOD SIMPLE

M. Emmet Walsh in BLOOD SIMPLE

BLOOD SIMPLE

Frances McDormand in BLOOD SIMPLE

BLOOD SIMPLE

Dan Hedaya and M. Emmet Walsh in BLOOD SIMPLE

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THE DINNER: emotional potboiler

THE DINNER

THE DINNER

In the emotional potboiler The Dinner, Richard Gere plays Stan, a Congressman under a whole lot of pressure. His career-topping legislation is up for a vote tomorrow and he a few votes short. He’s navigating the perils of the 24-hour news cycle as he runs for Governor. And a scandal from his own family is threatening to erupt. It doesn’t look like he’s going to get much help from Kate (Rebecca Hall), his self-described trophy wife, who is very tightly wound.

Stan’s brother Paul (Steve Coogan) knows about pressure because his wife’s Claire cancer episode crushed him into a mental breakdown. He’s out of the asylum, but he’s still a basket case, clinging to a modest level of functionality. Claire (Laura Linney) is now able to run the family, and she’s a rock.

Now the four of them meet at an exclusive and trendy restaurant to discuss how to handle a family crisis. Paul can’t get over his resentment and jealousy of Stan. To describe the plot of the The Dinner as a family meal is like calling The Revenant the story of a hike in the woods. Accustomed to making deals in politics, Stan has to work things out with two hyper-protective mother bears and a volatile and hostile loony. Is Kate really shallow and brittle? She may surprise us as one tough tough-as-nails negotiator. And what is Claire really capable of to protect her child? The pressure builds and builds, all the way up to a shattering and ambiguous ending.

Coogan sheds his usual smugness and delivers a stunning portrait of mental illness. His Paul has the all-time movie meltdown in a high school classroom, and another amazing monologue given to an empty classroom. He has pathetically grasping conversations with a son who now only patronizes him. Coogan’s searing performance is reason enough to see The Dinner.

The Dinner is also a showcase for Linney, Gere and Hall. Adepero Oduye (12 Years a Slave, The Big Short) is excellent (and realistic) as Gere’s never-off-duty chief of staff. Chloe Sevigny nails a character who has the knack of saying exactly the wrong thing to defuse an awkward situation.  The always interesting Michael Chernus provides chuckles as the restaurant’s ringmaster, who presents one pretentious course after another. The restaurant’s locally sourced and extravagantly presented food does look and sound delicious, even if each dish is so overly precious.

The Dinner explores a very thorny philosophical question: what is the parental responsibility to help a child who has done something unforgivable?  Is it better to let him face harsh consequences, even if it will ruin much of his life? Or is it better to help him avoid those consequences so he can get a second chance at a normal life?

I went to see The Dinner because it was directed by (and its screenplay adapted by) Oren Moverman, and I very much admired Moverman’s The Messenger and Rampart. He has a gift for getting great performances from his cast and for portraying the moments in life that are the most emotionally explosive.

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A QUIET PASSION: she was unhappy and so are we

A QUIET PASSION

A QUIET PASSION

Cynthia Nixon plays the 19th Century American poet Emily Dickinson in the biopic A Quiet Passion.  Even though the Dickinson family was free-thinking for its era, Protestant New England society was severe as the women’s hairstyle.   As I watched these characters navigate their world, the words “forbidding” and “stern” kept coming to mind.  It was an age where the groom kisses his new bride on the cheek, and a euphoric outburst is “Reverend Wadsworth’s sermon took my breath away.”

That’s a bad time and place to be innovative or iconoclastic.  And a horrible time for a woman to seek recognition for her art.  The Quiet Passion’s Emily Dickinson is in a constant state of social rebellion and always unappreciated as a poet.

She clearly appreciates the sexism of the era and is enraged by the injustice.  She sees through the unnecessary constrictions of the religiosity of the day and is disgusted. Unfortunately, she also holds everyone to impossible standards.  She suffers emotionally, and then begins to suffer physically.  All of this makes her very unpleasant and difficult to live with.

Cynthia Nixon is a fine actress and vividly conveys Dickinson’s unhappiness.  Nixon, of course, is known for playing Miranda, by far the most interesting character in Sex in the City. Nixon gets to showcase her wit when Dickinson and her sister (Jennifer Ehle) repress laughter during a hilariously awkward tea with Reverend Wadsworth and his abstemious and anti-social wife.

All of the cast in A Quiet Passion is good, with the exception of the hammy Duncan Duff, who plays Dickinson’s brother, who apparently was known for tightening his brow and popping his eyes.  Catherine Bailey gets to sparkle as she pops off the wicked bon mots of Dickinson’s super ironic friend Vryling Buffam.

The British director Terence Davies is a critical favorite, and generously employs arty touches like static shots of long duration and the subjective view.  But I have never warmed to his films.

Davies often follows scenes from Dickinson’s life with a voice over of a Dickinson poem on the same subject.  So Dickinson’s poetry comments on Dickinson’s life.  The problem is that The Quiet Passion is a daisy chain of unlinked anecdotes.  For a linear story, the whole thing is distractingly disjointed.

The Quiet Passion is a dreary and ponderous film.  I was actually rooting for Emily to die so the movie would be over.

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DVD/Stream of the Week: LION – watch, enjoy, weep

Dev Patel in LION

Dev Patel in LION

The emotionally affecting drama Lion is one of the top crowd pleasers of the Holiday season and of the year. Here are the bones of the plot:

  • An Indian boy is accidentally separated from his family and lost, ending up in a hellish orphanage.
  • He is adopted and raised by a loving Australian couple (Nicole Kidman and David Wenham).
  • As a man, (Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire and The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), he sets out on a quest to find his mother and brother in India – a classic Needle in a Haystack search.
  • Amazingly, it’s a true story.

Before the screening, I was ready to dismiss Lion as a stereotypical family melodrama, what movies studio called a “women’s picture” in the 1940s. But it’s much more than that. The young man has survivor’s guilt that becomes an obsession, explored through how it affects his relationship with his significant other (Rooney Mara). His adoptive parents have another adopted son – one who is severely emotionally disturbed.

Understandably, the young man is driven by an overwhelming need to give closure to his birth mother. What we don’t expect are the needs of the adoptive mother, and what surprises even our main character is what the adoptive mother does and does not need to be protected from.

Lion is the first feature for director Garth Davis, who has made his name in commercials; as one would expect, he is able in manipulating the audience with images and music, but not in a cheap way. The scene where the main character closes in on his search is exceptional.

Patel is remarkably engaging, and our sympathy with his character drives the movie. The other performances are solid. (Wow – Nicole Kidman is now playing the leading man’s Mom!) The two child actors who play the protagonist and his brother as children, Sunny Pawar and Abhishek Bharate, are exceptional.

When The Wife and I saw Lion, pretty much the entire audience was choked up. Stay all the way through the end credits for even more tears. Lion is available on DVD from Netflix and Redbox and to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

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TRUMAN: how people say goodbye

Javier and Ricardo Darin in TRUMAN

Javier Cámara and Ricardo Darin in TRUMAN

This may be the best movie I’ve seen this year.  In the deeply emotionally affecting and humane Spanish film Truman, Tomás (Javier Cámara) leaves Montreal to pay a surprise four-day visit to his longtime friend Julián (Ricardo Darin) in Madrid. Julián has been battling cancer and has just received a very grim prognosis. Julián has chosen to forgo further treatment, and his cousin and caregiver Paula (Dolores Fonzi) is hoping that Tomás can talk Julián out of his decision.

Julián is a roguish bon vivant, although now hobbled by illness. Tomás is a responsible family man.  As the four day visit unfolds, Tomás tags along as Julián cavalierly settles his affairs.  Because of the circumstances, even the most routine activity is heavily charged with emotion.  Julián, who has always been a wild card, is now a tinderbox always on the verge of erupting into some socially inappropriate gesture.  Julián is particularly focused on arranging for adoption of his beloved and ponderous dog Truman.

Julián is a wiseacre, but his reaction to a moment of kindness from an very unexpected source is heartbreaking.  Julián goes to say goodbye to his son, and then the  learn a fact afterward that make this encounter exponentially more poignant.  Truman has an especially sly ending  – the granting of one last favor, however inconvenient.

TRUMAN

TRUMAN

The Argentine actor Darin is one of my favorite screen actors: Nine Queens, The Secret in their Eyes, Carancho, The Aura.  As a man living under a death sentence, Julián has adopted a bemused fatalism, but is ready to burst into rage or despair at any moment, and Darin captures that perfectly.

I was blown away by Javier Cámara’s unforgettable performance, at once creepy and heartbreaking, in the Pedro Almodovar drama Talk to Her. Cámara is a master of the reaction, and his Tomás stoically serves as the loyal wing man to a friend with hair trigger unpredictability, often in a state of cringe.

The Argentine actress Dolores Fonzi (The Aura) is excellent as Paula, whose caregiver fatigue finally explodes.

Packed with bittersweet emotions, Truman is never maudlin.  The Spanish director Cesc Gay, who co-wrote Truman, has created a gentle and insightful exploration into how people can say goodbye.  There’s not a single misstep or hint of inauthenticity.  Again, Truman is one of the best films of the year.

(Note: The crappy trailer below fails to capture all the humor and deep emotion in this film.)

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Movies to See Right Now

Charlie Hunnam in THE LOST CITY OF Z photo courtesy of SFFILM

Charlie Hunnam in THE LOST CITY OF Z
photo courtesy of SFFILM

Recommended movies to see in theaters this week:

      • My top recommendation is The Lost City of Z, a thoughtful and beautifully cinematic revival of the adventure epic genre.
      • In Norman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, writer-director Joseph Cedar and his star Richard Gere combine to create the unforgettable character of Norman Oppenheimer, a Jewish Willy Loman who finally gets his chance to sits with the Movers and Shakers.  This may be Gere’s best movie performance ever.
      • Free Fire is a witty and fun shoot ’em up.
      • Their Finest is an appealing, middling period drama set during the London Blitz.
Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

Richard Gere in NORMAN: THE MODERATE RISE AND TRAGIC FALL OF A NEW YORK FIXER

And four movies to avoid:

      • Kristen Stewart is excellent in Personal Shopper, a murky mess of a movie; don’t bother.
      • I found the predictable Armenian Genocide drama The Promise to be a colossal waste of Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale.
      • Song to Song is yet another visually brilliant storytelling failure from auteur Terence Malick.
      • Also avoid the horror film The Blackcoat’s Daughter, which is out on video and, UNBELIEVABLY, getting some favorable buzz.

My DVD/Stream of the Week is The Founder starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, the man who created the global corporate superpower that is McDonald’s. It’s both the vivid portrait of a particular change-maker and a cold-eyed study of exactly what capitalism really rewards. The Founder is available on DVD from both Netflix and Redbox and tp stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

On May 11, Turner Classic Movies will air not one, BUT TWO movies on my list of Least Convincing Movie MonstersThe Giant Claw and The Black Scorpion.

THE GIANT CLAW

THE GIANT CLAW

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DVD/Stream of the Week: THE FOUNDER – moneygrubbing visionary

Michael Keaton in THE FOUNDER

Michael Keaton in THE FOUNDER

In the enjoyably addictive The Founder, Michael Keaton brings alive Ray Kroc, the man who created the global corporate superpower that is McDonald’s. It’s both a vivid portrait of a particular change-maker and a cold-eyed study of exactly what capitalism really rewards.

Speaking of capitalism, it’s hard to imagine a truer believer than Ray Kroc, not even Willy Loman. When we meet Kroc, he is grinding through small town America selling milkshake mixers none too successfully. Each night he retires to yet another dingy motel for heavy doses and Early Times bourbon and a motivational speaker on his portable record player.

Then Kroc stumbles across the McDonald brothers Dick (Nick Offerman) and Mac (John Carroll Lynch). In their Riverside, California, hamburger stand, the McDonald brothers invented the industrialization of food service, their achievement being “fast food” as we know it today. One the most fascinating sequences in The Founder is a flashback of the McDonald brothers designing the most efficient fast food kitchen possible with chalk on a tennis court. The brothers are passionate about their business, equally devoted to their product and their customers.

Kroc falls in love. Having driven through every town in the country as a traveling salesman, he can appreciate the untapped market. He persuades the brothers to let him take over franchising McDonald’s restaurants. It turns out that that the 50ish Kroc is well-equipped for the job because he’s driven, absolutely ruthless and always on the verge of desperation. He HAS to succeed. Kroc is hungry, perpetually hungry, and learns to identify potential franchisees who are not complacent investors, but are who are also driven enough to accept his discipline and run each franchise by the numbers. Egotistical as he is, Kroc is also smart enough to adopt a brilliant idea from someone else – the key to making McDonald’s his.

John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman in THE FOUNDER

John Carroll Lynch and Nick Offerman in THE FOUNDER

Dick McDonald is a humorless detail freak with brilliant ideas; Mac is the conflict-avoidant, supportive brother, always unruffling Dick’s feathers and keeping their options alive. Both are proud and true to their values. The McDonald brothers are authentic American business geniuses, but are they too principled to fight off a double cross by Kroc?

In much of the movie, Dick is on phone with Mac listening to Dick’s side of the conversations. Both Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch are superb, but Lynch’s performance is Oscar-worthy. There’s a “handshake” scene where WE know and MAC knows that he is going to get screwed, and Lynch’s eyes in those few seconds are heartbreaking.

As far as I can tell, The Founder is very historically accurate. Thanks to screenwriter Robert D. Siegel (The Wrestler) and director John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), we also meet some other historical characters – Harry Sonneborn, Fred Turner, June Martino and Joan Smith Kroc – and appreciate their contributions to the McDonald’s business.

The Founder’s Ray Kroc is shitty to his wife (Laura Dern), shitty to his partners and, basically, shitty to his core. But we HAVE to keep watching him. Do we root for him because only HE can build this empire? We Americans have a heritage of empire building. And the idea of someone building something so big and so successful with only his smarts, persistence and opportunism is irresistible to us.

This is a good movie. I’ll even watch The Founder again. And I’ll have fries with that. You can watch it on DVD from Netflix and Redbox or stream it from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.

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