Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayals and Greed (13+, 93mins) Directed by Joshua Rofe ***½
He was the showman with a coronary heart of gold. The man with the uplifting, sultry, “liquid tranquilliser of a voice”. America’s favorite artwork teacher.
For greater than a decade, his PBS present The Joy of Painting (filmed in a rented home in Muncie, Indiana) captivated and impressed viewers, not solely within the USA, but in addition Mexico and Japan. The conceit (watch a person create a panorama in 26 minutes) might need sounded about as thrilling as watching paint dry (Ross’ trademark wet-on-wet method lowering that requirement), however, because of his intimate fashion and unflappable, affable character, it grew to become addictive, cult viewing.
“We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents,” was his on-air mantra.
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However, as Joshua Rofe’s enlightening, entertaining and sometimes heart-rending documentary reveals, behind the distinctive Afro (which this confirms, sure, was a perm) and brushes, was a person blighted by tragedy and trapped in a exploitative enterprise relationship.
Rofe’s and our principal information to his story is Ross’ son Steve, a person who made common appearances on the present, tutored in his stead and has, for the previous 25 years, battled for the rights to make use of his late father’s title.
While Bob Ross’ unique enterprise companions Annette and Walt Kowalski have made hundreds of thousands by plastering the painter’s iconic visage on every part from artwork gear to jigsaw puzzles, lunchboxes, espresso cups, mints and chia pets, his personal progeny hasn’t seen a dime.
Happy Accidents, Betrayals and Greed particulars how Ross was hounded by the Kowalskis in his remaining days, as they grew to become determined to maintain milking their money cow after he was gone (they even apparently tried to maintain his dying a secret, which means only a few folks attended his funeral), how they persuaded paint suppliers to freeze out their “opposition” and how they created a tradition of worry and distrust amongst official tutors of the Bob Ross-style.
Much of the testimony comes from Steve, Bob Ross’ associates and colleagues and assorted artwork historians. As it’s repeated a couple of instances all through Happy Accidents, a minimum of a dozen different potential interviewees pulled out for worry of authorized reprisals from the notoriously litigious Kowalskis. While it provides further spice to the revelations, it does imply this portrait isn’t as totally rounded because it could possibly be.
What it does do, in addition to expose the cut-throat world of the passion craft business, is introduce the charming Ross to an entire new viewers.
Rofe, whose earlier topics have included Lorena Bobbitt and sasquatches, right here makes terrific use of archival pictures and TV footage, whereas additionally cleverly utilizing painted non-animated illustrations, as a substitute of the everyday shadowed recreations.
And, the place doable, he lets Bob do the speaking. His well-cultivated on-air persona might have featured many repeated phrases and exultations, however Rofe has nabbed some actually astonishing, heartfelt moments from the a whole lot of hours of The Joy of Painting.
Thanking viewers for the a whole lot of letters of help after his beloved second-wife Jane died of most cancers, he turns to deal with the digital camera.
“You’ve got to have a little sadness in our life so you know when the good times come… I’m waiting for the good times.” He was recognized with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma simply weeks later.
Happy Accidents may not be a masterpiece, nevertheless it’s a wonderful primer a couple of actually vibrant character.
Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayals and Greed is now obtainable to stream on Netflix.
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