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The Founder: Directed by John Lee Hancock; starring Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini

A film like The Founder illustrates what happens when the success you hope for rolls in beyond your wildest dreams. Can an entrepreneur remain humble, focused on his larger goals, or become intoxicated by the process of reaching for success and transform hard-charging drive into utter ruthlessness?

In The Founder, veteran actor Michael Keaton plays legendary businessman Ray Kroc, the man who didn’t invent McDonald’s — the restaurant chain he helmed that became the progenitor of the fast food concept and, ultimately, one of the 20th century’s great mega-corporations.

Though Kroc tried, at one time, to convince the world otherwise, this Illinois native didn’t create the idea. But, in recognizing its effectiveness, he brilliantly appropriated the McDonald Brothers’ idea of a super-efficient fast-food restaurant. Kroc took their idea, and molded it into his own vision like so much hamburger meat. That’s not to diminish his own creativity; he converted the brothers’ notion of a simple and efficient dining experience into the ultimate franchise.

Serviceably directed by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr. Banks), this film presents the narrative of how Kroc was transformed from a long-struggling Midwestern salesman into a land developer and hype man for the Horatio Alger-ish American Dream. For him, McDonald’s golden arches replaced or supplanted both flag and church steeple.

Finding the drama in this rags-to-riches tale torn from a business magazine demanded that it turn on a set of emotional convolutions and convulsions. Casting such skillful actors as Keaton, Laura Dern (as first wife Ethel), or Linda Cardellini as Kroc’s second wife Joan Smith, aided in altering what could have been a fairly dry narrative into something lively, even at times, insidious.

Nick Offerman as Richard “Dick” McDonald and John Carroll Lynch as Maurice “Mac” McDonald, provide the perfect foils to Keaton’s Kroc. Where he is relentless, they are thoughtful, even reticent to adapt their core ideas to grow the business. Where they feared movement forward, Kroc willingly offended to get ahead. Kroc felt their reticence to embrace and expand their own ideas, in a way, led him to believe he better appreciated, and thus, deserved to be master of McDonald’s more than they. This validated whatever betrayals were to come.

In turn, he royally screwed them and everyone along the way who didn’t propel his vision forward. While the narrative almost exclusively focused on Kroc’s ascension to fast-food emperor, this film needed something more to make it other than a dark rags-to-riches morality play. It had to get deeper into Kroc’s psyche.

When this former milk shake machine salesman encounters wealthy businessman Rollie Smith (Patrick Wilson) Kroc pays more attention to his wife rather than on Smith, who wants to spend millions to join on the burger train. But the film never explores how she becomes his second and long-lasting wife. By  not looking into such emotional complexities, such an omission made this a lesser film; it should have been one that examined who Kroc was beyond being just another ruthless capitalist.

And given the recent inauguration, the film’s release seems either uncanny, ideally strategic, or luckily timed as Trump’s questionable Presidency unfolds. In many ways, Kroc’s success reveals both a positive upside and the dark underbelly to American capitalism. Even though this movie goes about making its case in such a bare-bones, workman-like manner, it remains something worth viewing.

While it presents an opportunity to understand what motivates a legendary capitalist like Kroc, it also, by extension, offers a chance to examine the kind of people these billionaire/millionaire capitalists who about to run Washington are or will be like.

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ALEC BALDWIN — I’ve had my own issues with Alec Baldwin for years; then, literally on a dime, it all turned around and I found him to be pretty compassionate, intelligent and a nice guy. What happened in Santa Fe on the Rust set was an unspeakable tragedy, and his trial was halted yesterday and the case was dismissed due to evidence not being given to the Baldwin-team. The Santa Fe prosecutor Kari Morrisey seemingly told two different stories on the stand and outside the court room. She is, without a doubt, toast.

Baldwin is still liable for civil suits, but this case is gone and he cannot be tried again. A win for sure, but the questions still remain: who brought live ammo onto the Rust-set. Clearly that may never, ever be determined.

Baldwin’s a good guy with a short fuse, but this situation, once and for all, is done.

Mirage

SHORT TAKES — Hard to believe the Las Vegas Mirage is closing … after 35 years. Opened in 1983 it was a great hotel and hosted The Beatles’ Love show. I have stayed there numerous times and loved it. The new owner will build a Hard Rock hotel there, with a HUGE guitar in front. Yet again changing the skyline of that town. It’ll open in 2027 …

Lyndsey Parker

Lyndsey Parker is a terrific writer. Her new site, Lyndsanity just posted a great interview with Micky Dolenz about his direction of the video “Love Is Dangerous” from Noel – masterminded by the Mael Brothers in 1979. Great piece, check it out here:  https://www.lyndsanity.com/music/micky-dolenz-on-directing-long-lost-dancing-is-dangerous-video-for-sparks-protege-noel-its-pretty-weird-huh/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTAAAR2W-9c0OfpLdT3WVy52ZWliQu7XTVoVjaYREbiUMSAUcdgJatcsL547X8c_aem_8St7LVBDI_U5Qp-ZJ5lxQA

… Hard to believe there are only 8 episodes left of CBS’ Blue Bloods. Salary concerns killed this show and it’s a shame as it was really superb for 15 years. Bad move on CBS’ part …

Zach Martin

Veteran-broadcaster Denny Somach joins Zach Martin’s NEW HD radio – https://newhdmedia.com/rock-and-roll-for-grownups-debut-denny-somach/?fbclid=IwZXh0bgNhZW0CMTEAAR1j_BeyvWnRksk6pRN7IUtWK-kzu5G35zKqcjBUjVJOJ3w_b4IVFjDE6UI_aem_hW0aEBIVaHEwpJXVTItulA

Benny Harrison

Whatever happened to Benny Harrison’s album Pages? It was a great one. Heard an early advance and loved it …And, (via Deadline)

Stevie Nicks

There are special guest stars, and then there’s extra-special guest stars. Which is what Harry Styles what is as he joined Stevie Nicks at her July 12 concert in the UK for versions of her hits “Stop Draggin’ My heart Around” and “Landslide.” Styles played guitar on stage and held up on the Tom Petty/Lindsey Buckingham vocal parts. It was familiar turf, as Styles has joined Nicks on stage several times in the past. Nicks was appearing at the BST Hyde Park concert series on Friday. Nicks told the audience in London that she asked Styles to help her in commemorating what would have been her late Fleetwood Mac bandmate Christine McVie’s 81st birthday … RIP Dr. Ruth!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Nancy Ruth; Mark Bego; Freda Payne; Jerry Brandt; Kent & Laura Denmark; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; David Kramer; Terry Jastrow; Steve Immerman; Jordan Immerman; Tony Seidl; Roy Trakin; Markos Papadatos; Sparks; Pat Prince; Cindy Adams; Tony LoBianco; Tone Scott; David Adelson; Joel Denver; Pat Prince; and SADIE!

 Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Entertainment

Come Celebrate Harry Peters Birthday at Harry Potter: The Exhibition

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In the first Harry Potter story, The Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry turns 11 on July 31st. In honor of his birthday, Harry Potter: The Exhibition at 50 West 34th Street, is celebrating with a variety of birthday treats and specials for visitors, including: free admission for anyone named “Harry” , $11 ticket special for everyone else, with code HPBDAY2024 (on sale now!), free ice cream for visitors between 11am – 1pm , one-of-a-kind commemorative birthday buttons  and ticket giveaways & contests with Z100 host Crystal Garcia.


Harry Potter: The Exhibition
is the record-breaking exhibition taking visitors of all ages on a one-of-a-kind journey celebrating the entire Wizarding World and includes some of the most iconic moments from the beloved books and films of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts. Upon entry, everyone is given an exhibition wristband for a personalized experience using best-in-class immersive design and technology. From selecting a Hogwarts house (either Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin) to picking your wand and Patronus, visitors will be able to create their own, uniquely magical moments while earning points for their house with each interactive activity.

Harry Potter: The Exhibition closes August 11, 2024, so now is the perfect time to visit.

 

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Film

Gary Springer Remembers Shelley Duvall

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By Gary Springer

I loved Shelley Duvall. She very much changed my life and I am forever grateful. I was a young kid in NYC who luckily wound up in two movies – not that I wanted to be an actor – and decided I wanted to be a NY crew guy. Got cast in another film starring Shelley Duvall, Bud Cort, Dennis Christopher and Veronica Cartwright. Thought it was fun I still had the crew aspirations. Shelley became my instant best friend. She said ‘why don’t you come out to LA and stay with Patrick (Reynolds of tobacco fame) and me until you have to go back to school. I did. I spent 7 months living with Patrick and Shelley in a castle in the Hollywood Hills and then another 4 months rooming with Shelley until she called me one day from NY where she was filming “Annie Hall: and said, I think I’m going to sell the house and move in with Paul (Simon). I had to get my own place and spent the next nine years in LA as a working actor (including a television movie which also co-starred the editor of this publication). Shelley was my mentor, my love (platonically), my facilitator, my friend. I met so many people through her and experienced so much that I never would have. Her bringing me to LA for a couple of weeks changed my life completely. I quit acting and moved back to NY in 1982 to work with my dad, but Shelley and I stayed friends. She called me in 1984 and offered me a role in one of her Faerie Tale Theatre pieces (the last professional phone I had). We stayed friends. She moved to Texas and I visited. She had difficulties and I was her friend. I flew down to Texas bringing our friend Dennis Christopher last month to visit her and spoke to her twice last Sunday on her 75th birthday (one wonderful FaceTime). I loved Shelley Duvall and always will.

Shelley Alexis Duvall, inimitable actor, producer, and style icon, died in her sleep July 11, 2024  at her home in Blanco, Texas. She just turned 75 this past Sunday, July 7. Her longtime partner, Dan Gilroy was at her side. She is survived by Dan Gilroy and her three brothers her brothers Scott, Stewart and Shane.

“My dear, sweet, wonderful life, partner, and friend left us last night. Too much suffering lately, now she’s free. Fly away beautiful Shelley,” said Gilroy

She was born in Fort Worth on July 7, 1949, grew up in Houston, and returned to her Texas roots after successful decades in the Hollywood entertainment industry, Shelley was a brilliant and unique film actor and a visionary television producer.

She was first discovered in 1970 when she hosted a party to try and sell some of her husband, Bernard Sampson’s, paintings. Little did she know that crew members from a movie shoot in town were present and were captivated by her. Under the pretense of selling paintings, they brought her to meet the director, Robert Altman, and producer Lou Adler, who were blown away by her wonderfully quirky distinctiveness and cast her in the movie they were filming, “Brewster McCloud” opposite Bud Cort. In Shelley’s words: “I said, ‘don’t you want to buy any paintings?’ And they said: “No, we want you!’”

She continued working with Bob Altman on six more films such as Thieves Like Us, Nashville, Popeye, and Three Women, for which she won the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. Seeing her in that film inspired Stanley Kubrick to cast her in his film The Shining where Shelley’s harrowing performance is indelibly etched in film lore. Shelley had a one-of-a-kind look and manner—wide-eyed, toothy, skinny and gawky, but with her own beauty and elegance—that endeared her to industry pros and audiences alike. Beyond her striking looks, she was also a serious, dedicated, and admired dramatic and comedic actor. Shelley appeared in many other film and television roles from the 1970s, 80s, and into the 90s.

Behind the camera, Shelley also conceived and created groundbreaking TV fare through her Platypus Productions: she produced, hosted, and sometimes guest-starred in her Faerie Tale Theatre series, which also called upon the talents of her wide circle of notable actors, directors, and film veterans including Robin Williams, Eric Idle, Mick Jagger, Teri Garr, Jean Stapleton, Frank Zappa, Vincent Price, John Lithgow, Pam Dawber, James Earl Jones, Candy Clark, Francis Ford Coppola, Roger Vadim, Tim Burton and so many more who would not usually have worked on a nascent cable channel show.

The Great American Tee Shirt book – with Paris wearing my Dog Day Afternoon shirt, with Dennis Christopher & Bud Cort

Faerie Tale Theatre’s one-hour adaptations of classic stories, followed up by her Tall Tales and Legends series, enchanted children and their elders through most of the 1980s (and live on to enchant in rerun heaven). She continued the streak with Nightmare Classics, Shelley Duvall’s Bedtime Stories, and Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, garnering two Emmy nominations for Producer over the years.

Gary Springer and Shelly in Bernice Bobs Her Hair

Shelley, who had been called ‘The Texas Twiggy’ and, from film critic Pauline Kael, “The Female Buster Keaton,” was a frequent host on Saturday Night Live and during those heady late 70s and 80s was also known for dating the likes of Paul Simon and Ringo Starr.

Gary and Shelly on her birthday this year

In the mid-90s, Shelley found herself retreating from Hollywood and retiring from active production; successful though she had been as a star actor and producer. Then, her three-acre home in Studio City, which hosted a menagerie of birds, dogs, and other pets, was heavily damaged in the Northridge earthquake of 1994. Shelley and her partner since 1989, actor and musician Dan Gilroy, moved back to Texas to the small town of Blanco, near Austin, where the couple became a beloved part of the protective community. In recent years, Shelley has reconnected with some old friends and admirers from her Hollywood days while living a peaceful and quiet life in the Texas Hill Country.

Dan Gilroy, her brothers Scott, Stewart and Shane, friends and colleagues, the town of Blanco, and legions of fans mourn the passing of Shelley Duvall.

 

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Events

Comic-Con Museum Presents Julien’s Auctions & TCM 2024 Spotlight Series: Harry Potter & Other Heroes

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On July 28th Comic-Con Museum Presents Julien’s Auctions & TCM 2024 Spotlight Series: Harry Potter & Other Heroes. William Shatner “Captain James T. Kirk” Long-Lost Legendary Phaser and Iconic Communicator from Star Trek Original TV Series Unveiled for the First Time in 50 Years at the Comic-Con Museum. Ryan Reynolds Deadpool & Wolverine Film Worn Shirt Crashes the Party. Collection of Iconic Character Wands Used by Daniel Radcliffe “Harry Potter,” Ralph Fiennes “Lord Voldemort,” Michael Gambon “Albus Dumbledore,” Plus, Gary Oldman “Sirius Black” Shackle Props, Slytherin House Robe & More. Chris Evans “Captain America” Original USO Shield Prop, X2 Storyboard Illustrations and Life-Size “Spider-Man” Madame Tussaud Display Figure. (Balboa Park) 2131 Pan American Plaza, San Diego, CA Stunt Grapple Gun Prop, Batarang Prop, and Unused Cowl Prop


Julien’s Auctions and Turner Classic Movies (TCM), the ultimate destination for Hollywood memorabilia, are heading to the world’s greatest pop culture convention for their first co-branded event with the San Diego Comic Convention (Comic-Con International) / Comic-Con Museum! “Comic-Con Museum Presents Julien’s Auctions & TCM 2024 Spotlight Series: Harry Potter & Other Heroes” kicks off today with an exclusive two-week exhibition featuring a collection of the most instantly recognizable props, production material and memorabilia from the epic sagas of the Harry Potter, Marvel Cinematic Universe and DC Comics franchises that will be offered at a live and online auction presented by Julien’s Auctions Sunday, July 28th at Comic-Con Museum. Adding to the excitement of this exhibition will be the appearance of two extraordinary and important artifacts from Star Trek history long forgotten and believed to have been lost: William Shatner’s legendary phaser and communicator used in his iconic role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek television series. Both props (conservative estimate: $100,000-$200,000 each) will be heading to Julien’s and TCM’s Hollywood auction this fall where they are expected to break world records at auction. They will make their first appearance to the public in over 50 years at this exclusive exhibition at the Comic-Con Museum. Crashing this party of heroes will be Ryan Reynolds “Ryan Gosling” button down shirt worn by the Hollywood legend in his iconic role as Deadpool/Wade Wilson in the highly anticipated blockbuster of the summer, Marvel’s Deadpool & Wolverine.

Comic-Con Museum,  is a division of San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC), a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation organized for charitable purposes and dedicated to creating the general public’s awareness of and appreciation for comics and related popular art forms, including participation in and support of public presentations, conventions, exhibits, museums, and other public outreach activities which celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture. In addition to its San Diego convention each summer, Comic-Con (the premier comics convention of its kind in the world), SDCC organizes the Anaheim-based WonderCon each spring and the SAM: Storytelling Across Media symposium in the fall. On the web: comic-conmuseum.org, Facebook.com/ComicConMuseum, and follow us on X (@ComicConMuseum) and Instagram (@comicconmuseum).

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents classic films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting “Where Then Meets Now.” TCM features insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz along with hosts Alicia Malone, Dave Karger, Jacqueline Stewart and Eddie Muller, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. With three decades as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials and Reframed along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® and Summer Under the Stars. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through popular events such as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise. In addition, TCM produces the wildly successful podcast “The Plot Thickens,” which has had more than 9 million downloads to date. TCM hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app. Fans can also enjoy a classic movie experience on the TCM hub on Max.

Julien’s, exist to bring those moments back into your life through iconic artifacts and one-of-a-kind collections. Whether collaborating directly with artists, partnering with legendary estates, or working closely with discerning collectors, our auctions make culture pop with the promise of discovery and reconnection. From Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and Ringo Starr to Lady Gaga, Banksy, and Kurt Cobain-from LA to the world, we are where originals find their kind.

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

ARGENT RETIRES — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Rod Argent, a founder and longtime keyboardist for the British Invasion band the Zombies, has announced his retirement from touring following a stroke.

The group’s management announced in a statement that said: “We are saddened to report that Rod Argent, founder, keyboardist and primary songwriter of the Zombies, has suffered a stroke. Rod had recently returned home from a triumphant Zombies tour of the U.K. and spent a weekend in London with his beloved wife, Cathy, celebrating his 79th birthday and their 52nd wedding anniversary, before the stroke occurred.

“He was hospitalized overnight and released the next day. Doctors have advised that Rod will need several months of rest and recuperation. Rod has asked us to convey that he has made the very difficult decision to immediately retire from touring in order to protect his health. He was already preparing to wind down his live performance schedule after health scares on recent tours.”

In January 2022, the Zombies pushed back tour dates to 2023 after an unnamed member required an “urgent but non-life-threatening” medical procedure.

The band has been active in recent years, following their 2019 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They released their seventh album, Different Game, last year.

Argent and the Zombies had their first hit in 1964 with “She’s Not There.” The Hertfordshire, England-formed band, featuring singer Colin Blunstone, scored three Top 10 singles by the end of the decade, including “Time of the Season” from their classic 1968 album Odessey and Oracle, their last before a 1991 reunion LP.

During the break, Argent led the band Argent, which had a Top 5 hit in 1972 with “Hold Your Head Up.”

Argent and Blunstone, along with original bassist Chris White and original drummer Hugh Grundy, got back together for a 50th anniversary tour of Odessey and Oracle in 2017. (Original guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004.) The quartet has since toured with other current members of the band.

The statement concluded, “We don’t know what the future holds. What we have to tell fans today is that all upcoming performances by the Zombies will be canceled.”

SHORT TAKES — Watched the cast of Stereophonic perform two numbers on Thursday’s Today show.

This is the show that openly boasts that the play is a performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours album and how it was recorded. I was actually surprised by just how closely it sounded like that album. If I was Mick Fleetwood, I’d ask for some of the profits. Amazing! …

Nicky Hopkins

You may not know the name Nicky Hopkins, but in the 60’s and 70’s he played with everyone from Joe Cocker to John Lennon and George Harrison.

He also put out a killer solo album called The Tin Man Was a Dreamer in 1983. He passed away years ago, but there’s a new doc on him (Session Man). He was a great player. Check out the trailer: https://thesessionmanfilm.com

… A Broadway-play on the life of Muhammad Ali is in the works … Saw the first commercial yesterday for back-to-school. does that mean the summer is officially over? …

Kevin Costner’s Horizon is going to MAX shortly. Sadly, it has not been the smash everyone desperately wanted. Check out Deadline’stake on it: https://deadline.com/2024/07/horizon-2-delayed-1236006327/

The Alec Baldwin trial has begun in Santa Fe. Will he testify? Hard call. Again, I think it was just a terrible accident. Should gun-safety be increased on movie sets? Of course …

Jeff Zucker

The Zuck returns? Rumors spread like wildfire Thursday that Jeff Zucker (NBC and CNN) will now run CBS News. He’s a visionary for sure … Happy Bday Shep Pettibone … RIP Shelley Duvall

NAMES IN THE NEWS —– Jackie Stander; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Owen Bradley; Jon Bon Jovi; Brad Balfour; Jordan Gray; Steve Immerman; Tony Seidl; Frank’s Steaks; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Nancy Ruth; Teresa Knox; Freda Payne; Brenda Lee; Mike Campbell; Veruca Salt; Bonnie Culpeppersmith; Roy Trakin; Daryl Hall; Jonathan Wolfson; Carl Perkins; Tommy James; Carol Ross; Marty Ostrow; Jann Wenner; and BELLA!

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