‘Bob Ross’ review: Netflix’s ‘Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed’ documentary paints a sophisticated portrait of the artist’s existence, and the fight that adopted it

“Bob Ross” starts by dutifully charting Ross’ increase as a Tv personality. He adopted a stint in the Air Force by teaching art, making use of his comforting voice, trademark mane and knack for churning out landscapes at lightning velocity to secure a place on television internet hosting “The Pleasure of Painting.”

Ross realized individuals breakthroughs with the assistance of a pair, Annette and Walt Kowalski, who championed him and his function, in advance of assuming handle of Bob Ross Inc. just after he died of most cancers in 1995 at 52.

It can be at that point when the documentary — directed by Joshua Rofé, and generated by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone — kicks into a distinct equipment. The filmmakers commence to investigate how the Kowalskis cemented and guarded their authority more than Ross’ legacy, and their dispute with Ross’ son Steve, in a bitter struggle that continued prolonged after Bob Ross’ dying and wound up in the courts.

“Bob Ross” in lots of strategies feels like the oldest of tales, presenting the avuncular artist as a gifted practitioner of his craft who possibly lacked the company savvy to guard his interests. (The aim on the Ross estate to some degree glosses above other facts of the artist’s lifestyle, which includes his extramarital affairs, which are alluded to briefly.)

Whilst Steve Ross was interviewed extensively, several others declined to be, together with the Kowalskis, who the documentary responded to the filmmakers with a letter that lifted the specter of lawful action towards them. In a statement to Vainness Fair, the corporation dismissed the documentary as making an attempt to “relitigate promises brought towards Bob Ross Inc.” in Steve Ross’ 2017 lawsuit.

Subsequent preliminary publication of this evaluation, a consultant of Bob Ross Inc. contacted CNN with a statement outlining the company’s objections to the film.

“Bob Ross Inc. usually takes powerful concern with the inaccurate and greatly slanted portrayal of our organization in the Netflix film, ‘Bob Ross: Satisfied Accidents, Betrayal & Greed,'” their assertion browse in portion. “While the producers of the Netflix movie did make contact with Bob Ross Inc. two times, in late August and October 2020, every single ask for arrived replete with a confounding deficiency of transparency. At no time did they pose particular concerns to Bob Ross Inc. or check with for any kind of rebuttal to certain assertions they experienced made a decision to consist of in the movie.”

By running on twin tracks, the movie manages to tap into the nostalgia regarding Ross, which has grown by the decades — from a 2019 exhibition to the Bob Ross Practical experience in Indiana — even though venturing into murkier corners that danger casting far more challenging clouds around these recollections.

“Bob Ross” paints a portrait of the man, who referred to painting miscues as “satisfied accidents.” However it is the rest of the film’s subhead that serves as its basis, and a reminder that with the life and legacies of beloved public figures, it can be not often effortless to see the forest for the trees.

“Bob Ross: Satisfied Incidents, Betrayal & Greed” premieres Aug. 25 on Netflix.

This story has been up to date with a statement from Bob Ross Inc.

Mary E. Alvarez

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