Michael Keaton was, in many opinions (including mine), the best Batman ever. It is interesting that only in resent years have people noticed what an outstanding actor he really is.


He finally got an Oscar nominated for his performance in "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)" and should have been nominated for last years "Spotlight", both of which went on to when best movie Oscars. Unfortunately, Keaton has a long list of crappy films in between that are probably negating his recent rise. Remember "Multiplicity", "Jack Frost", "First Daughter", "Desperate Measures", and "Quicksand"? Yikes!


While you might not remember them, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) does. In many cases, judging gets weighed (unfairly) by an actors body of work. That body of work extends back a bit, so Mike may be waiting a little bit longer. However, surely everyone will take notice of his latest film, "The Founder" directed by John Lee Hancock (formerly of "Saving Mr Banks" and "The Blindside").

In this biopic, Keaton takes on the lively character of Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonalds corporation, the largest restaurant chain in the world. Hancock takes Robert Seigel's no-nonsense script and paints a picture of a man who exploited capitalism to the max.


The film opens with Kroc hustling a multi-spindled milkshake making machine to various restaurants. Kroc is a fast talking, manure laying shyster who'd rather lay lines of compliments on the potential customers rather than tell them what the machine can or can't do.


He is married to Ethel (Laura Dern) who still believes that he's going to hit it big and they will have a serious upgrade in their lifestyle. She fell for his line of BS hook-line-and-sinker. But things change when Ray comes across a California restaurant called McDonald's that has an express style of serving that is different from all the A&W stands around. Moreover, the restaurants were owned by two trusting pigeons named Mac and Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch perfectly cast).


Kroc immediately latches on and tells them how they (he means himself) could make big money by franchising their stores and that he would show them how. They bought it and the rest is "What the hell did we just lose" history. Kroc was all over them like a cheap suit expanding faster than they imagined and making cost cutting changes until one of the costs that needed to be cut was them.


This is capitalism at its best and cutthroat poker at its most vile. Keaton plays the huckster and con man who is transformed into the quick thinking, clever businessman who stops at nothing to build the largest burger vendor in the world.


Keaton's Kroc is brilliant as he takes credit not only for franchising the company, but creating the company himself. You will love his me first, nobody second attitude as he slices and dices his way to the top.


"The Founder" is a showcase of Michael Keaton as he is so effective that he fries you up a burger meal, sells it to you and leaves you with a sour taste in your mouth about getting ahead in the world.   -- GEOFF BURTON