BETWEEN the street corner and an alley a structure was built that changed my life. I remember walking by the construction site on the way to the library. Construction workers wearing hard hats were moving around the site constantly; in a way it looked like an abstract ballet piece the way each of them seamlessly worked together. The outside of the building was made with white tiles; I thought for sure it would have turned to gray within a week from all the exhaust coming out of the cars driving down the busy thoroughfare. Right in the middle of the growing walls a slab of curved metal was jutting out like an awful hangnail. I could not imagine what these workers were thinking of to stab their beautiful white tiled sides with this hollow, arching monstrosity. OVER the course of a season the building took form and all that remained were a few last details. One day appearing in front was a fenced off area that had round metal tables with big opened umbrellas sticking up from the center. Around the tables were bolted down curved benches. A sign was hung from the building announcing a grand opening. My friends and I were there on opening day and it was crazy with people lined up everywhere. I remember ordering a hamburger, french fries and a soft drink. We each were handed our meal in a paper bag and walked outside to the side of the building where the white tiles were built out to form a ledge to sit on. Prior to that moment I had never had a pickle or mustard on a hamburger, only ketchup; the mix of flavors exploded in my mouth. But what sent me into a caloric craze of complete cherished comfort were the french fries and chocolate milkshake. My affair with those slender strands of potato heaven has lasted all these years. I do not know if they would have had the same effect if I had known the story about the man who brought the restaurant with the golden arches to the world. SALESMAN Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton (Spotlight, White Noise), could not understand the sales order he received from a restaurant in California. Deciding to take a drive out to see the place, Ray was stunned when he came up to this little “food stand” run by brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, played by John Carroll Lynch (Shutter Island, American Horror Story-TV) and Nick Offerman (21 Jump Street franchise, Parks and Recreation-TV). The brothers may not have realized what they had going but Ray sure did. This film festival winning biographical drama succeeded because of Michael’s performance; he played it beautifully to the point where I was reacting negatively to some of Ray’s actions. Having my memories of the fast food restaurants heightened my interest in this historical story. I am not sure how much of the script was truthful, but I enjoyed most of the progression in the story. There were scenes that only implied certain actions that I would have enjoyed better if there was more back story; however, this did not distract me from the story. With most of the earth’s population having knowledge about this company, I cannot imagine someone getting bored with this movie, though you may get a bit hungry.
A movie has to stir something in me, take me into its story. That does not mean I am only expecting happy, pleasant feelings. I have friends who only go to movies that make them happy; and if there is singing and dancing, all the better. There are very few limitations on what I am willing to watch on the big screen. When I went to see this unusual movie I did not know it was inspired by true events. It was quite uncomfortable for me to sit and watch what was taking place on the screen. Now before you decide that is all you have to hear and move on to a different review, let me explain. This movie did what it was supposed to do–it moved me. Knowing the story was based on a kernel or maybe a bushel of truth only creeped me out more. Fast food restaurant manager Sandra, played by Ann Dowd (Garden State, Marley & Me), took a phone call at work from a man who identified himself as a police officer. She was told her employee Becky, played by Dreama Walker (Gran Torino, The Invention of Lying), had stolen money out of a customer’s purse and the victim was at the police station to file a complaint. A woman who did things by the book, Sandra was instructed to secure her employee until the police could arrive at the restaurant. However, until the officer was able to get there, he wanted her to do more than just secure Becky. I just have to tell you I was dumbfounded by the unfolding scenes. But I want to point out that I was okay; the movie was doing what I wanted it to do, stir something inside of me. The story negotiated a fine line between reality and absurdness. How could anyone think what they were doing was okay? Since the movie was based on documented occurrences, I guess there are people out there who believe anything they are told. Ann Dowd’s acting was outstanding. One could see by her expressions how her mind was trying to comprehend the variety of requests. What a movie experience; you will either walk out in the middle of it or stay and be mesmerized by the incredible things taking place.
2 3/4 stars