The movie begins in 1954 with Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a 52-year-old dreamer whose get-rich-quick ideas have largely led nowhere and who's on the road all the time selling milkshake machines. His life is also stressful on his wife Ethel (Laura Dern), who wishes he'd stay home with her.
A large machine order piques Ray's interest, leading him to drive out to California, where he finds a restaurant called McDonald's -- which brings people their food orders in under a minute, instead of the 20-30 minutes of other places. Ray meets with the restaurant's founders -- brothers Dick McDonald (Nick Offerman) and Mac McDonald (John Carroll Lynch) -- who have an almost scientific method to making good food and getting it out quickly. Ray sees a huge opportunity, and he talks the brothers into letting him franchise the restaurant -- despite their previous failed attempt to franchise and concerns about maintaining their standards. A contract seems to take care of the latter issue.
Overall grade: A-
Reviewed by James Lynch
(who still eats at McDonald's)