The Founder

John Lee Hancock’s story of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc lacks the flavor and commentary of what “The Social Network” was to Facebook.

The Founder PosterI can imagine a sleazy, slick talking huckster pitching the idea for “The Founder” now: Let’s make a movie about a capitalizing asshole who stole an idea from two entrepreneurial brothers, but let’s wrap it in a sunny package and sell it as a story for the whole family! We’ll remind people how hard work and financial loopholes can help you build an empire on the backs of somebody’s namesake, and we’ll call it a crowd-pleaser. Do you want fries with that too?

“The Founder” is to McDonalds what “The Social Network” was to Facebook, except director John Lee Hancock lacks the irony and social commentary that someone like David Fincher could bring to this material. He’s all wrong for it, and “The Founder” needs more spice and flavor if it wants to be anything but bland. Continue reading “The Founder”

The Blind Side

“The Blind Side” may be the most manipulative film all year. Some have criticized “Precious,” the other “black” film this year, for manipulating audiences through unfathomable hardship. But I will take the tragedy of that brave film over the very fathomable hardship of this one, a wholesomely safe movie that tugs the audience’s heartstrings as though they were attached to marionettes.

Sadly, “The Blind Side” is not the most cliché movie I’ve seen from 2009, but it’s the kind of highly orchestrated familiarity that attracts those wit white guilt, the black audience and the juvenile type. There’s a group of token rich white women that serve as Sandra Bullock’s friends that are only seen gossiping at an exclusive restaurant in front of overpriced salads. I can imagine this group greatly enjoying “The Blind Side,” discussing it as if it was a mature film and as if they now knew something about cinema.

In reality, this is a film with zero character development and a highly accessible plot that loses all of the true story’s authenticity. It’s the heartwarming story of Michael “Big Mike” Oher (Quinton Aaron), a drifter foster child who’s brought in and cared for by Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock). Tuohy pays for his education, gets him to go out for football and until he is eventually drafted by the NFL as recent as last year.

It’s important to take this true story with a grain of salt, because this definitely is a story in which lives were changed, families grew and dreams were accomplished, but we get very little of that here. This is just a movie designed to make the widest audience possible feel warm and fuzzy inside, and the result is fairly tepid. Continue reading “The Blind Side”