January 27, 2017, - 3:50 pm

Last Wknd’s Box Office: Split, The Founder, Elle, 20th Century Women

By Debbie Schlussel

I had mixed feelings about the one decent movie last weekend, but it’s still very much worth seeing. I did not see “xXx: Return of Xander Cage.”

* Split – Rated PG-13: I like scary movies and thought I’d like this one. But instead, it turned out to be nothing but, ultimately, a snuff film with the stupid insert of a supernatural angle toward the end plus a dumb ending you won’t get unless you are an M. Night Shyamalan fanatic who remembers every actor, character, and storyline from movies he made long ago. Also, the ending was not satisfying at all. Not even close. In fact, it was a disappointment and a letdown.

There is a giant gimmick in this movie: a guy with 24 split personalities. It could have been more interesting. But, instead, it just seems like the same guy pretending he has different personalities. None of them are particularly distinct or interesting. And since that’s the case, the gimmick of the multiple personalities is just that: a crutch for a weak thriller that isn’t that thrilling and has a lot of large holes in it.

The story: three high school teen girls are kidnapped from a local mall where they were attending one of the girls’ birthday party, one of the cool girls. Um, what cool girls in high school still have a birthday party at a mall? One of the girls is a “loser girl”–an outcast, and the other two are the cool girls. The guy who kidnaps them is James McAvoy plays the aforementioned guy with the multiple personalities. We learn that his mother abused him, probably sexually, and his reaction and coping mechanism was to develop these personalities. We also learn about the “loser girl” in multiple, distracting flashbacks to her youth when she went hunting with her father and uncle, and her father told her how to use a gun and hunt prey.

While the girls are held captive, we see scenes of McAvoy’s psychiatrist, who has written several books on and delivers lectures about people with multiple personalities. She thinks that insane people and those with multiple personalities are “gifted.” We normal people are the “abnormal ones,” she explains. The rest of us are the abnormal ones, she explains. Yeah, a typical liberal intellectual idiot. (The psychiatrist, by the way, is played by Betty Buckley, who portrayed wife “Abby” in the late ’70s/early ’80s TV show, “Eight Is Enough.”)

The girls being held captive are told by several of the split personalities that they are going to be food for someone, and they’re trying to figure out what that means. The girls repeatedly try to look for a way to escape, but as I noted, there are many large holes in this. There is a scene in which one of the girls could have grabbed a baseball bat and beat the guy senseless, but she grabs for a walkie talkie instead. In another scene, the girls figure out an escape route, but they loudly find that route while their captor is right nearby. Why didn’t they wait until he left or was sleeping?

Like I said, I enjoy a good scary thriller, as I hoped this would be. It isn’t. It’s dark but not meaningful, and at times silly without intending to be. It also isn’t very scary. It’s mildly interesting and entertaining, but just not that great or interesting.


Watch the trailer . . .

* The Founder – Rated PG-13: I enjoyed this movie a lot, even if it is kind of slow at times. My primary objection to it is that it shows Ray Kroc, the “expander” (NOT the real founder) of McDonald’s as the typical Hollywood stock businessman: an unethical dirtbag. While many accounts of his life have confirmed he was a jerk (at least in the eyes of many of his employees–he was a big-time alcoholic and married three times), he still accomplished something very big, which made Americans’ lives easier in terms of getting affordable good food quickly. Also, I could have done without the gratuitous reference to Ronald Reagan at the end of the movie. (Reagan is not responsible for Ray Kroc’s conduct in life.) That said, I think this movie is a great window on American capitalism and how, through it, hard work and innovation can lead a person to succeed in life beyond his or her wildest dreams. Michael Keaton does a masterful job at playing Ray Kroc. And the movie captures that era–the 1950s and ’60s in America, when Kroc expanded McDonald’s into a giant enterprise and made it his company.

One of my favorite sites, History v. Hollywood, reports that much of the movie is true to what actually happened (and the sets are virtually identical to the real buildings and locations), although Kroc did not bring the idea of franchising to the McDonald brothers, as they’d done it before with others.

The movie begins with Kroc as a down-on-his-luck salesman of milkshake mixers. He can’t convince restaurants to buy them. But suddenly a restaurant in San Bernardino, California wants eight of them. Kroc can’t believe it and goes to the restaurant to deliver the machines and check the establishment out. He is amazed that place serves a 15-cent hamburger so quickly, and it also tastes good. Soon, he’s asking the owners–the McDonald brothers–how they do it. They show him around, and he convinces them to hire him to franchise their restaurants.

Kroc works very hard picking people to buy McDonald’s restaurants and convincing them it’s a good investment. He even find the locations for them. But despite his burgeoning success in signing up franchisees, he is losing money and his home is about to be foreclosed upon. That’s because his percentage from the franchises is too low and is barely covering his expenses. He asks the McDonald brothers to change their agreement with him and expand the percentage both he and they get from franchises. They refuse. They also repeatedly refuse to allow him to pursue innovations and other improvements on McDonald’s original method of operation. They shut him down at every turn, and Kroc finally decides to fight back. The rest of the movie is about that fight and who ultimately won it. Kroc headed McDonald’s Corporation for years and built it into an international powerhouse, so I think we all know the ending. Still, it’s a great lesson in how businesses succeed. And the McDonalds brothers, despite their innovations, are a great example of how not to grow a business.

You’ll note that at the end of the movie, there is a note that Joan Kroc, his third wife, donated gazillions to National Palestinian Radio (NPR) after her conservative Republican husband’s death. And that’s another movie. Mrs. Kroc Number Three pretended to be on the same page as her husband, and then when she died, she gave it all to far-left causes and organizations, through the Kroc Foundation. My dad used to tell me about that when I was a kid, since I was sometimes bummed out that we couldn’t eat at McDonald’s as it is not kosher. “Be happy,” he’d say. “Our money would go to anti-Israel NPR.”

An interesting movie and well worth seeing.


Watch the trailer . . .

* Elle – Rated R: I was going to call this “The Feel-Good I-Was-Raped-at-Christmas-And-I-Liked-It Movie of the Year.” It was supposed to be released at Christmastime, takes place during the Christmas season, and so on. This is a French-language movie with subtitles, but it’s made by an American, Paul Verhoeven, who made Showgirls and Basic Instinct. That should tell you something about the vibe of this movie. It’s risque, silly, and way too long at two hours and ten minutes. Verhoeven couldn’t get the film financed or made here, despite trying.

The story: Elle, an aging woman (Isabelle Huppert, aged 62) in Paris, is the sex-obsessed protagonist. She lives alone, is having an affair with her best friend’s husband, and she also has a huge crush on her new next-door neighbor, a married man. She is also the co-owner, with her best friend, of a video game company and is consumed with making rape scenes in her latest video game offering as graphic and brutal as possible.

Huppert is raped by a masked assailant, and she never reports it to the police. She’s not a normal person to begin with. She’s quite damaged, actually. Her father was a mass murderer who is dying in prison. Even though she was a very young girl at the time, she was suspected of knowing about the plot ahead of time or somehow being in on it. Also, her crazy mother pays male prostitutes for sex and has very young, gold-digging boyfriends. She also has a son with a pregnant girlfriend, and Elle attacks the girlfriend repeatedly. That’s not to mention her plan to bed her next-door neighbor, even though he lives with his wife (who is kind to Elle) Although at first Elle seems disturbed about the rape, we later see that she is obsessed with luring the rapist to do it to her again.

I found this movie to be incredibly sick and warped and a complete waste of time. I’m not sure what the point of it is, other than to shock. Elle isn’t likable. She’s manipulative, phony, and creepy. There is absolutely nothing redeeming about her. Not a thing. And it’s not even believable that someone of her age and temperament would be the owner of a successful video game company, no matter how many gamers were in her employ. The “intrigue” part of this movie wasn’t there. I figured out who the rapist was very quickly.

Not a good movie. Not even close.


Watch the trailer . . .

* 20th Century Women – Rated R: This is absolute garbage, which is why all of the mainstream (liberal) movie critics and awards shows love it, using such fertilizer adjectives as “rich” and “multi-layered” to describe this manure. It’s just so warped and disgusting. So stupid. So pointless. And such a waste of time–two hours you’ll never get back. Plus, it’s full of silly gimmicks, too. A portion of profits from this crappy movie go to Planned Parenthood, so you already know it’s gonna stink. (Thanks to radio talk show host Pat Campbell, on whose show I do movie reviews and political commentary, for the tip.)

A divorced single mother, Annette Benning, lives with her young teen son in California. And she’s also constantly smoking. She rents out rooms in her house to a bunch of hippie types. And she enlists her hippie renters to teach her son about sex and encourage him to have it . . . and to be a feminist. The son’s best friend, Elle Fanning, is a complete slut, who tells him–very graphically–about her sexual encounters and abortions. One of the hippie renters is Greta Gerwig. She takes the son out to the clubs to dance and tries to get him to have sex so he can be a feminist. She has a boyfriend and has recently learned that she may not be able to have kids due to a serious illness.

The movie has this incredibly stupid gimmick in which, throughout its scenes, there are interruptions of pictures from the news or pop culture at the time the movie takes place (1979). While the pictures are quickly flashing on and off the screen, the son and mother narrate what is happening to themselves and other characters at various future stages in life. Who cares? I didn’t care about them in the present on the screen, much less in the future. I am so sick of these movies that glorify the “disaffected” neo-Bohemian lowlifes that infect this country. They are the problem, NOT the heroes.

I was bored to tears and annoyed as hell that I was enduring such trash while I was trying to get through this awful movie. It’s perfect Gitmo torture material, and the terrorists should be forced to watch it over and over and over again.

Yes, it’s that bad. Even though I’m staunchly pro-life, the writers, director, and producers of this trash heap are an argument for abortion.


Watch the trailer . . .

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5 Responses

I listened to Ray Kroc’s autobiography on tape years ago. Read by Ray Kroc himself. He was a fascinating guy.
He certainly was a hard working person. His story is a great rags to riches tale. You find yourself rooting for him throughout the story hoping he’ll finally get a break in life.
I haven’t seen the movie yet, so it will be interesting to see how Hollywood changes things.
Even with Kroc writing the story himself you can’t help but see how he screwed his 2nd wife over to run off with his 3rd wife. But as he says in the book, he left her a bunch of money, so that made everything alright.

Steve G on January 28, 2017 at 9:28 am

Split was a let down again m knight shamalan put together a nonsensical death fest. garbage

MrBigBrain on January 28, 2017 at 12:53 pm

No will ever eat McDonald’s again if they either watch SUPERSIZE ME or see the study (Google “Why McDonald’s Happy Meal hamburgers won’t decompose”)of how the same chemicals put in sneakers is put in McBurger patties to keep them looking “fresh”. But McDonald’s was my first job and Kroc’s biography GRINDING IT OUT is one of the best biographies I’ve ever read. I’m sure it is skewed to his side of the story but I noticed in the Washington Times article they completely glossed over original “McDonald” owners own conniving (they sold the “exclusive” rights to 12 different people) just to make Kroc look bad. More #FakeNews.

Debbie, I also like the site Reel vs Real Hollywood for the fact vs fiction. Both great sources.

PJ: So sorry you bought into the fraud of far-left, HAMAS CAIR-honoree Morgan Spurlock, about whom I wrote in the Wall Street Journal and with whose lying I have personal, direct experience. Supersize Me was a lie from beginning to end. Please wake up to him and his phony claims, as Supersize Me was fake news parading as a documentary. Nobody is supposed to eat a supersized McDonald’s meal at every sitting for 30 days. That would make anyone fat and is a stupid proposition. I don’t eat McDonald’s food because it is not kosher (except in Israel). But it makes food affordable, fast, and convenient for millions of Americans every single day. DS

PolitiJim (@PolitiJim) on January 28, 2017 at 2:28 pm

Ray Kroc made the McDonald’s we know today, despite his personal flaws. Also, that franchise does provide an affordable dining experience for people who could otherwise never afford to eat out, as noted by Debbie.

Worry01 on January 29, 2017 at 3:24 pm

Don’t you guys know that Walmart, Google, and McDonalds will rule the world. Throw in Verizon and you have a fourplex of companies that if you live under a rock you know the name. Now as to Debbie’s awesome reviews I love your rating Debbie for that dreck “20th Century Woman.” I won’t even watch that mess when it eventually comes out on network TV. I can’t stand that shrew Benning with her crap acting. The fact that the profits go to Planned Parenthood is another reason that I’ll avoid this one like the plague. I’ll definitely go see “The Founder” as one I like Keaton two I’ve read Croc’s AB “Grinding It Out” years ago and three Mickey Dees was the first place my family ever ate out at and it was my first job. Good times getting dressed. Yep that’s right I said dressed (now you can go to McDonalds in a cut off wife beater and flip flops or a robe, sippers and hair rollers.) I’m talking your good school clothes. Or good times getting your drivers license and making a name for yourself in corporate America. With your parents insurance and car help of course. The other two movies for me will be Red Box specials but I will shell out some bucks to see the interaction between the McDonald Brothers and Croc.

Ken B on January 30, 2017 at 12:14 pm

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