The Founder

[3.5 stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Breaking news: Ray Kroc was a visionary. Also a megalomaniac, a cheater (in both his business and his marriage), and a ruthless manipulator.

This movie tells his story, starting from when he was a failing milkshake-mixer salesman, traipsing over the countryside pushing his five-spindle mixers to mostly unreceptive drive-in restaurant owners. But one little outfit in San Bernardino buys a lot of 'em, so Ray drives out there to see what's going on. It's the McDonald brothers, Dick and Mac, who have ingeniously re-invented their restaurant with walk-up windows, disposable packaging, bare-bones menu, and an optimized production design. Ray sees the future, and the rest is history. Including a lot of rewritten history, as Ray eventually squeezes out the innovative brothers and presents himself as the McDonald's "founder".

The McDonald brothers were transplants from New Hampshire! I did not know that.

I like movies about business, and this one held my interest throughout. Michael Keaton is a force of nature as Ray, and the rest of the cast is first rate, especially Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the screwed-over McDonald brothers.

Bonus: when Ray meets wife-to-be Joan (played by Linda Cardellini), she's playing piano and singing in a prospective franchisee's swanky restaurant. At this point they're both married to other people, but that doesn't stop them from getting moony-eyed over each other. Pretty soon, they're duetting on Joan's piano, and that's actually Michael Keaton and Linda Cardellini performing. They're good!

If you watch The Founder, and you're interested, you can do a reality-check here, a page set up by Lisa Napoli, author of the biographical Ray & Joan. As might be expected, the movie did a lot of fact-manipulation in order to tell a good story.


Last Modified 2017-09-06 9:57 AM EDT

URLs du Jour

2017-09-06

Proverbs 21:20 is a paean to prudence:

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
    but fools gulp theirs down.

Also, they buy lottery tickets.


@JonahNRO makes a useful distinction: Antifa Is Trouble, but Not Terrorism. It's a good review of Antifa antics, their too-often-successful "heckler's veto" (although their tactics are well beyond "heckling"), and the regrettable overreach of some anti-Antifa folks. Bottom line:

Elevating Antifa to the category of terrorist organization would fuel the worst trends in our politics. It would entice President Trump to indulge his strongman shtick, and it would give Antifa the stature it clearly craves. It would also likely accelerate vigilante violence among the white nationalists. Launching a federal crusade against domestic enemies would only fuel the fallacy that anyone Antifa attacks is a fascist. We should fight crime, whatever guise it takes, on the local level — as the founders intended.

There's no reason to start shredding the Constitution over either the alt-right neo-Nazi scumbags or the Antifa scumbags.


■ At the Federalist, David Harsany opines: Rescinding DACA Is The Right Thing To Do. He is (rightly) irritated by…

The reaction to DACA exposes much of the disingenuousness of the post-election “norms” crowd. How could those who took part in the national hissy fit over the “unconstitutional” short-term executive restriction on immigration from terrorist-ridden nations now act as if DACA is a proper way to govern? I mean, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has threated to sue the president for rolling back the executive actions of another president, which were enacted ostensibly on the idea of prosecutorial discretion. Sue over what—following the law as written?

It would be nice if people took a principled stand against unconstitutional executive action, no matter who the executive happens to be.


■ At Reason, Marian Tupy notes an Inconvenient Truth: Europe's Anti-GMO Stance Is Killing Africans.

While imports of GMOs are not barred from Europe by law, the EU food labelling system obliges companies to indicate if the food or feed they produce contains GMOs. This labelling applies when GMOs account for at least 0.9 percent of the food or the feed. Since Europeans have been brainwashed into believing that GMO foods are unsafe, scary labelling could dampen European demand for African agricultural produce. As such, much of Africa has not only refused to grow GMOs, but also refused U.S. food aid.

… and the results are pretty much what you would expect. Dead Africans, which the rest of the world ignores.


■ The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a new Due Process Report, rating "the top 53 universities in the country" (based on the US News list) as to their "due process and fundamental fairness" policies for student accused of misbehavior.

Due process and fundamental fairness are in crisis on America’s college and university campuses. Colleges today investigate and punish offenses ranging from vandalism and housing violations to felonious acts of sexual assault, taking on the responsibility—often at the behest of the federal government—to punish offenses that are arguably better left to courts and law enforcement. But this willingness to administer what is effectively a shadow justice system has not been accompanied by a willingness to provide even the most basic procedural protections that should accompany accusations of serious wrongdoing.

It's a dismal report. FIRE summarizes their findings on an A-F scale, with no school receiving an A. Among those getting Fs: Caltech, Harvard, Penn State. Dartmouth received an F for its policies on alleged sexual misconduct, a D for non-sexual conduct. (A number of schools "have one set of standards for adjudicating charges of sexual misconduct and another for all other charges".)

The University Near Here does not appear on the list because it is not in the US News top 53. Dodged a bullet there, UNH.