I have no clue how to review this movie.

Let’s start with…The Founder is about the man who saw a brilliant idea and took that idea farther than anyone thought possible – including the brothers who founded the original McDonalds.  Ray Kroc was a decent salesman who became a man who started to franchise McDonalds.  Still not gaining capital – and finding resistance from the two brothers who own the original McDonalds – Kroc is able to surround himself with people who share his vision…and the vision of near unlimited profit.

NOW – this review is going to go all over the place and I’m going to start by release.  The Founder was moved around a bunch to many different dates.  When I wanted to see it in August I was going to bypass Suicide Squad to see this first.  The Weinstein Company thought December and then, finally, a January release.  They released it in some markets in December to be eligible for the Academy Awards.

Why the push in release date?  I figure it is the Oscar gold.  But this movie received zero Academy Award nominations – no Golden Globes to boot.  As a matter of fact the film is failing at the box office right now – destroyed by Split and XXX: Return of Xander Cage.  Did they believe they possibly had Oscar gold and thus the push?  Possibly.

The thing is I LOVED this movie but it is not a tale where you have sympathy for the main character.  As Ray Kroc, Michael Keaton brings an amazing performance.  He’s incredible.  You see the drive in his face throughout this movie.  You feel through his performance the passion that the actual Ray Kroc may have felt.

Problem is…you don’t like him.

The problem is he takes the McDonalds name, brand, and way of doing business and runs with it.  It is possibly the two brothers, Mac and Dick McDonald, who are at fault.  They only saw things one way – the way they wanted to do it.  They hinder Kroc at every possibility.  The result?  Kroc runs them out of their own company.

I knew Ray Kroc was the “founder” of McDonalds.  Never knew Mac and Dick’s name until this movie.

Ray is married to a loyal wife Ethel who sits at home waiting for him to return from sales calls.  Then franchise calls.  He really wants someone to join him and she really does try to help him in any way she can.  But it is not good enough for Ray.

It’s his drive to succeed that literally runs over everyone else.  I’m not sure how true the movie is but he ends up luckily meeting the right person in Harry Sonneborn – who is able to show Kroc to true way to make these franchises grow.  He meets a beautiful woman named Joan (Linda Cardellini) who is married to one of the franchise owners but has some brilliant ideas on how to make McDonalds grow.

Look at director John Lee Hancock’s track record.  He made The Rookie – the true story of an over-the-hill man who somehow gets his shot playing professional baseball.  There’s The Blind Side – where an inner city kid meets a wealthy family who are able to allow him to succeed in both his education and professional career.   Can’t forget Saving Mr. Banks – a wonderful tale on how Walt Disney had the drive to make the Mary Poppins film a reality though the original author has many ideas on what should (and definitely) should not be done.

John has a knack of bringing us characters to root for.  You want Jim Morris to finally achieve his baseball dreams.  You want Michael Oher to get off the streets and into the NFL.  You want Walt Disney to achieve his awesome vision and make the beloved movie we all know today.

Ray Kroc’s story is an incredible one.  Everyone in the world today knows of McDonalds.  Everyone.  He achieved an amazing feat.  But how he got there and the people he stepped on to achieve that are very much a part of the story of The Founder.

Keaton was brilliant.  But completely unlikeable.  And that’s why I believe that while this is an amazing film it is also why no one wanted to see it win the Oscars.

Plus McDonalds now is not McDonalds then – and the movie can be seen as one long product placement for Mickey D’s.  We see how McDonalds makes their burgers in the film and we all know pretty well that is not how they are making that food now.

The cast is pretty impressive.  Parks and Rec’s Nick Offerman plays Dick McDonald while John Carroll Lynch plays the easier going brother Mac.  Lynch can be in ten thousand great films but I’ll always just remember him from The Drew Carey Show.  Laura Dern is wonderful as Ethel – the spurned wife who sits at home just waiting for her husband.  Patrick Wilson pops up as a restaurant owner who wants in on the McDonalds franchise but its Cardellini as his wife that really gets all the attention on-screen.  The Office’s B.J. Novak plays Sonneborn – the man who really bring McDonalds from the small time to the big leagues with one major idea.

It’s a great film.  It’s a great cast.  It’s beautifully shot.  It’s an interesting story to tell.  But I’ll say it one more time…Ray Kroc was not likable.  Keaton just isn’t winning an Oscar for this role.  Heath Ledger was the Joker.  That dude was a bad guy, an evil killer, but you know what?  You couldn’t help but root for the guy at times.  Kroc?  I knew he succeeded in the end but seeing how he did it really made me want to root against the man.

This film will be out of theaters in just a few short weeks.  It’s a shame they just dumped in the no man’s land of January.  Should have just left it in August, guys.  Well – when it pops up on-demand I really say rent it if the subject matter appeals to you.  It’s an amazing story to tell – no matter who got stepped on so Kroc could get to the top.

RANK: B+