The Rise and Fall of the Grumpy Burger Matt Gallagher

The Rise and Fall of the Grumpy Burger Matt Gallagher
Marshall Sfalcin is an independent, zero-budget monster movie director in Windsor, Ontario who decides to turn serious for a moment and write a film about a true story that’s close to his heart — the tale of his family’s restaurant, the Hi Ho, which may well have been the very first fast food chain in existence, long before McDonalds opened its doors.

The family’s mini-burger empire boasted several locations at its peak, but when the founder’s four sons (Marshall’s uncles) inherited the business, it all fell apart. Currently, the only remnant of the old Hi Hos is a Chinese restaurant outside of Windsor that still serves the old fast food chain’s signature item: the Grumpy Burger.

The documentary crew follows Marshall and his brother on the world’s most chaotic and poorly planned film shoot as they try to tell the tale of the Hi Ho with a video camera, a handful of local actors and a point form script. Their successes and failures are often amusing but the real story is frustratingly never told.

The actual rise and fall of the Hi Ho is skimmed over, even though the story of (arguably) the world’s first fast food restaurant seems like it’d be pretty interesting. The family issues that led to the demise of the restaurant chain are barely mentioned, and while Marshall hints at the fact that his relatives are upset because his film may uncover some skeletons in the family closet nothing is explained and no family is interviewed at any point in the film.

Did Matt Gallagher attempt to talk to the family and was refused? Did he decide that the real story of the Grumpy Burger wasn’t as interesting as following his buddy around while he hammed it up for the camera? It’s hard to know what anyone was thinking in making this haphazard and meandering film. (Independent)