'Bob Ross' paints a complex portrait of the artist's life, and the battle that followed it

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(CNN)Add the precocious PBS creator Bob Ross to the database of youthful memories with a darker side, astatine slightest successful presumption of the messy conflict that followed his death. "Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed" won't ruin anyone's childhood, but it does bespeak the trouble of remembering specified personalities successful pastel-hued colors, particularly erstwhile greenish enters the picture.

"Bob Ross" begins by dutifully charting Ross' emergence arsenic a TV personality. He followed a stint successful the Air Force by teaching art, utilizing his soothing voice, trademark mane and knack for churning retired landscapes astatine lightning velocity to unafraid a spot connected tv hosting "The Joy of Painting."

Ross achieved those breakthroughs with the assistance of a couple, Annette and Walt Kowalski, who championed him and his work, earlier assuming power of Bob Ross Inc. aft helium died of crab successful 1995 astatine 52.

    It's astatine that constituent erstwhile the documentary -- directed by Joshua Rofé, and produced by Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone -- kicks into a antithetic gear. The filmmakers proceed to research however the Kowalskis cemented and protected their authorization implicit Ross' legacy, and their quality with Ross' lad Steve, successful a bitter struggle that continued agelong aft Bob Ross' decease and coiled up successful the courts.

      "Bob Ross" successful galore ways feels similar the oldest of stories, presenting the avuncular creator arsenic a talented practitioner of his trade who perchance lacked the concern savvy to support his interests. (The absorption connected the Ross property somewhat glosses implicit different details of the artist's life, including his extramarital affairs, which are alluded to briefly.)

      New Bob Ross documentary complicates the bequest  of an creator  who painted 'happy small  trees'

      While Steve Ross was interviewed extensively, galore others declined to be, including the Kowalskis, who the documentary responded to the filmmakers with a missive that raised the specter of ineligible enactment against them. In a connection to Vanity Fair, the institution dismissed the documentary arsenic attempting to "relitigate claims brought against Bob Ross Inc." successful Steve Ross' 2017 lawsuit.

      By operating connected duplicate tracks, the movie manages to pat into the nostalgia regarding Ross, which has grown done the years -- from a 2019 exhibition to the Bob Ross Experience successful Indiana -- portion venturing into murkier corners that hazard casting much analyzable clouds implicit those memories.

        "Bob Ross" paints a representation of the man, who referred to coating miscues arsenic "happy accidents." Yet it's the remainder of the film's subhead that serves arsenic its foundation, and a reminder that with the lives and legacies of beloved nationalist figures, it's not ever casual to spot the wood for the trees.

        "Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed" premieres Aug. 25 connected Netflix.

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