You ever watch a performance and wonder, “why weren’t they nominated for that?” That’s how I felt after watching Michael Keaton’s explosive and dynamic performance as Ray Kroc in The Founder.  This dude becomes Ray Kroc and within seconds you forget you are watching an actor, you are just watching a person. Keaton falls into this role with reckless abandon and takes you one hell of a ride.

The Founder follows the saga of how mega-hit fast food restaurant McDonald’s came to be.  Kroc, a milk machine salesman, heads to San Bernadino, California, to check out a client who’s high order of milk machines piques his interest. What he finds is McDonald’s, a first of its kind fast food joint run by Dick and Mac McDonald (an impressive duo: Nick Offerman and John Carrol Lynch). Instantly smitten by the idea and the operation he’s been shown, Kroc decides he needs to be part of it. The McDonald fellas aren’t buying his idea to franchise but Kroc being the stellar salesman he is manages to become not only a member of the team but the “founder” and owner of what we now know as McDonald’s.

Directed by John Lee Hancock, the film is swift, sharp, witty and manages to be informative without missing a beat. I will be honest and say I didn’t know this entire saga and Hancock and screenwriter Robert Seigel manage to pack in a stupid amount of information in a relatively short amount of time. They give you the facts, the give you the people and they rock and roll. Clever additions of real life footage and photographs help the appeal and keep it fun even when Keaton’s Kroc becomes a class A douche bag.  The film walks a fine line of keeping you inspired and disgusted by the gusto our main guy and somehow that combination is quite tasty. Despite Kroc’s short-comings and arguable thievery, he is one inspirational fella and you can’t help but feel like anything is possible.

I keep wondering why this film and its star were missing from the awards season. Was it timing? Was it a lack pushing from the Weinsteins? Has Harvey lost his luster? Whatever the case may be, this film should be in the conversation and deserves to be on more “tops lists” for the year; I know it’s on mine. It certainly lived up to expectations and I can’t say that about everything I’ve seen this past year. I know I was lovin’ it!

Tristan Layne Tapscott has been dubbed the “Quad Cities’ P.T. Barnum” and although the person who initially said it meant it as an insult, he happily accepts the title.